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to keep my mouth shut about Primark?

(39 Posts)
Timeforanap Wed 15-Dec-10 21:30:15

Okay, so, I love a bargain and so do most of my friends and family. I used to shop in Primark/Peacocks etc alot, but gradually became more uncomfortable about it as I learnt/thought more about the ethics of it. I know nothing has been properly proved, but it seems REALLY unlikely to me that a lined, embellished £6 adult's skirt (for example) could have been produced whilst paying the person (child?) who made it a living wage.

Anyway, the point is, I don't want to be preachy about it or make others feel uncomfortable, so if I complement a friend on something she or one of her DC is wearing, and she says "Thanks! This was my amazing bargain, it was only £X.XX from Primark!" AIBU not to say how I feel? I don't want to be a hypocrite or a bad friend.confused

igetmorelovefromthecat Wed 15-Dec-10 21:32:23

Not saying the ethics are OK but it's all some people can afford.

BaronessBomburst Wed 15-Dec-10 21:34:39

Are you being unreasonable to keep your mouth shut? hmm

Are you angling for a medal or a pat on the back or something?

Timeforanap Wed 15-Dec-10 21:37:09

BaronessBomburst not at all, as I said, it is something that has been troubling me for a while, wondering if I'm being hypocritical.

PressureDrop Wed 15-Dec-10 21:37:36

It's not just Primark. It annoys me that people always target Primark (I'm not saying you do, but I do know a few people who come over all sanctimonious about Primark specifically, while ignoring other unethical brands).

Most of the high street indulge in unethical practice. H&M, Abercrombie, Gap, Banana Republic, Mike, Adidas - all extremely dodgy. Some companies exploit kids and mark up their prices sky high...

PressureDrop Wed 15-Dec-10 21:38:09

Nike, even!

wigglesrock Wed 15-Dec-10 21:38:55

Why in God's name would you pass judgement on where a friend shops?

AuntiePickleBottom Wed 15-Dec-10 21:41:36

i though primark axed the producer that used children worker

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/jun/16/pri mark.child.labour

SuePurblybiltbyElves Wed 15-Dec-10 21:49:54

Primark are no worse than most other high street retailers but the difference is that Gap etc have biger mark ups.

If you don't exclusively shop at People Tree or an ethical retailer then I guess you could be called hypocritical.Do you?

Honestly, I'd say that if you "walk the walk" (sorry, horrible phrase) and really feel strongly then that's something you can share with people I guess. But if you don't change your lifestyle too then they'd be quite entitled to think you a knob grin.

BaronessBomburst Wed 15-Dec-10 21:53:57

Okay, I think I know where you coming from now then. grin Thing is, as other posters have said, very few companies ARE ethical. Where do you draw the line?

create Wed 15-Dec-10 22:00:22

Sorry, I haven't done the research, but does a company selling a top for, say, £30 pay the machinist more than the one who made a £5 top? (unless specifically marketed as an ethical buisness)

Seems to me that all businesses want to keep costs down and it's likely that the going rate for a machinist is the same no matter what they're making.

Timeforanap Wed 15-Dec-10 22:19:57

Well, no, I don't buy all of our clothes from People Tree SurPurbly. But Next claim to be doing their best to be ethical, and M&S have a good reputation.

RumourOfAHurricane Wed 15-Dec-10 22:23:03

Message withdrawn

Tryharder Wed 15-Dec-10 22:27:49

I buy secondhand clothing from charity shops partly for this reason (am at skint). But I did buy my DD some tights from Primark the other week and while I was in there, got a pair of sunglasses for 50p.

YANBU OP. My XH used to work for a clothing company in London who made clothes for Jigsaw etc so not all high street companies are unethical.

ProcessYellowC Wed 15-Dec-10 22:28:29

I think that speaking up will not change your friend's shopping habits, and will very likley cause ructions.

If you feel that strongly you can:

a) look at getting involved in causes and campaigns to improve the ethics of clothing manufacturs.

b) lead by example. Often when a friend complements me on clothing I get to say "Thanks, it was £1 (or £3 if its my clothes) from the local charity shop".

lifeinCrimbo Wed 15-Dec-10 22:36:24

Jeez louise, change the record already!

Primark are so cheap because they have no marketing or advertising costs, and low mark-up.

They pass the savings onto the customer.

If you dont like the clothes, dont shop there (obviously). hmm

BuzzLightBeer Wed 15-Dec-10 22:42:57

You don't know much about it then, so I'd keep your trap shut. Primark are actually one of the better ones now they have cleaned up their act, so unless you are going to criticise almost everybodies clothes, you'd better keep schtum. You might even keep your friends as well.

BuzzLightBeer Wed 15-Dec-10 22:43:45

ps you could weave your own clothes out of lentils and yoghurt if you really want to take this line.......

theywillgrowup Wed 15-Dec-10 22:48:46

you choose where you shop,others are entitled to do the same

do you buy Organic/free range everything

is you/your home as green as it could be

the list is endless,why should you air your views to others maybe thats all they can afford,would rather see a child dressed from Primark etc than in rags or undersized clothes,

your doing your bit without ramming it down others throats

Timeforanap Wed 15-Dec-10 22:55:07

Okay then!

Am very interested to hear that Primark are now "one of the better ones" *BuzzLightBeer", I'd love to shop there if I didn't feel bad about it. Can you direct me to the evidence please?

scottishmummy Wed 15-Dec-10 22:58:05

people make their own choices,largely for economics reasons.so simply because you dont shop primark doesnt make anyone else morally bereft for doing so

MerrilyDefective Wed 15-Dec-10 23:01:38

Oh God,i buy what i can afford.
I do my best to buy free range chickens when i can afford them and not so free range whn i can't.
Life's a bitch,you can only do what you can do.

BuzzLightBeer Wed 15-Dec-10 23:07:43

You can start here at ethical trade

Why aren't you complaining about H&M, Zara, New Look, Forever 21...and so on? They use the same suppliers, same issues as primark, but don't have the same new ethical trading programmes? Its just so simplistic to select one brand and berate people for shopping there.

The main reason primark is cheaper is for similar reasons as Ikea, buy big, buy same.

musicposy Wed 15-Dec-10 23:08:01

YANBU to avoid Primark, but you would BU if you told other people their choices were wrong.

I have a friend who does this to me - I shop in Primark - and it annoys the hell out of me that she keeps commenting on it because it comes across as so sanctimonious. She spouts the same crap about it being impossible they earn a decent wage, but I'm sure half the stuff she buys is not a scrap better, just more expensive/ designer and therefore lining the pockets of the company directors here in England. Plus we are a mainly veggie family who source all our food carefully, and I buy organic fruit and veg. We own only one car which is a far, far more ethical choice than this friend's (or her DHs high powered sports car) and I always buy fairtrade goods which I've never seen at her house - so I think her views are more about snobbishness than well considered ethics. You have to be very careful that snobbishness isn't how it comes across unless all your consumer choices are so carefully considered.

So OK to mention it, if you can take the moral high ground on every ethical living point you can think of. Otherwise, I'd keep quiet and just avoid shopping at such places for your own conscience.

togarama Wed 15-Dec-10 23:30:04

Depends on the situation and how the subject came up. YABU to bring it up out of the blue and unprompted but YANBU to point out the obvious (if something is that cheap then it's either rubbish or the people who made it weren't paid properly or both) if your friend is going on and on about her fabulous bargains

There are recent "ethical league tables" for high street shops and Primark has been rated relatively badly. The line I've seen on posters in their shop windows is that they're "progressively tackling the problem". It's true that the field is pretty poor amongst high street stores but Primark has been singled out so often and so markedly as particularly poor.

I don't spontaneously go on about Primark. No-one's life is perfectly ethical and I'm certainly not in a position to cast the first stone. But if someone boasts to me about their Primark bargains I would mention their ethical track record and the fact that their clothing is poor quality and therefore a false economy.

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