Getting sucked into the vortex of TJMax and others
I was thinking this morning about spending, my spending. I have spent every cent I have made. My spending habits appear to be child care, home, books, flowers, trees, sporting equipment, outdoor activities, travel, and libations. Although there was a time, I got sucked down the TJMaxx whirlpool.
A purchase of a material item that is not essential to your heart or life gives you pleasure at the moment of ownership and often ends there. Clothing will give you your serotonin shot the first time you wear the garment, but unless that piece of clothing is well worn, soft, saggy, and stained, that is the only other time besides purchase you will feel the delight.
A little sales secret, if you get the customer to touch the item, they immediately want to own it; this is a deep-seated reaction in all of us.
If we spend our money on activities or travel, we create memories. Every time the memories come back, we get a shot of happiness just like we did at purchase time. Easy to see where you get more bang for your buck.
In 1955, my mother's closet consisted of approximately three blouses, one skirt, two or three dresses (daytime, night, special occasion, church), three pairs of shoes, two coats, one pair of slacks, a few slips, and five pairs of underwear. The price of that average blouse from Sears was $15.95. (verified data).
My mother felt and was complimented for being well dressed; she was also the average American housewife. She was content with her wardrobe. Only wealthy women and movie stars had walk-in or large closets.
We compare our possessions to the possessions of our peers; we do it subconsciously. Keep that fact in the forefront.
During most of my childhood, my mother and most women shopped for clothing a few times only; school starts, holidays, special occasions, and vacations. Fashion designers had 2 shows, 30 looks a year. Big business entered the picture; women shopping a few times a year will not feed the "money to be made formula," a different format was needed. Women need to shop every week was the new mindset.
Let's give shoppers something new every week, a new color, style, window dressing, anything, it just had to be the next best! Companies began buying designers, designers started selling their name, shopping malls appeared, outlets became the normal, and then came the national chains of "good clothing sold at a discount" or H&M, The Gap. New style, new color, and new need; keep pushing the word need every week.
Our fabric, thread, and clothing manufacturing went overseas, where labor came cheap. All clothing manufacturing went overseas; Armani is made right next to Fruit of the Loom; he just pays China more and travels there and teaches them how to sew. China is now too expensive for most clothing lines. Look at the tags, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, places where there are lax or non-existent labor laws. Factories, picture Player One, trailers on top of each other. Hundreds are killed yearly. (another sadly verified fact.)
We got sucked in ladies, sucked into feeding rich white men who smoke cigars on yachts. We got sucked into thinking we are getting a deal! We all love a bargain; that concept is used heavily in the clothing industry. On average, when you purchase a garment or any type of object with fabric, 10% of the sale price goes to the person who cut it out and sewed it together. That $5 t-shirt gave the girl in India 50 cents. $4.50 went to transportation, advertising, and large net profit for the companies that oversee the operation of it all.
We should only have clothing that gives us joy or serves a purpose. If schools went back to uniforms, think of the pressure taken off children and teens in what they wore. Speaking of dress codes, which I approve of in certain situations, I liked knowing by looking who the teachers were by the way they dressed, like a professional adult, not a young friend.
These are rambling thoughts backed up by years of gathering information. I remember writing about buying clothing before. How exciting it is to find that new sweater in the right color. The thrill lasts a day, and under the growing pile in the closet it goes. I became aware when I wrote those words, I knew I was trading emptiness somewhere in my life for the joy of shopping. I just went shopping to shop, as an activity. It never felt right, I am beginning to understand why. The coolest red suede shoes at TJ Maxx are only that, red suede shoes, and I don't dance for a living.