December 31st, 2004

lady electrician
  • amarama

I Was A Mad Shoplifter

Fatshionistas, I used to be a mad shoplifter. Specifically at Lane Bryant. I wrote a piece about it that's supposed to be published before long, and I'd just reprint that here, but now I'm thinking that I might just write about this extemporaneously.

I used to be so mad at Lane Bryant. I was mad at them for having a monopoly on the big girl clothes, mad at their crappy fabrics and construction, mad at having to go to the mall to buy their lousy clothes there. I also lacked the money to pay the 500% or comparable markup on their sweatshop-made fare. So I stole from them a lot. My anger at LB made it easy for me to rationalize this. I have also been around lefty and anarchist political communities for a good deal of my life, and in some corners of this world, stealing from corporate monoliths is looked on as noble, brave, and right. So I got points for my habit from the anarchos, most of whom I wanted to sleep with, despite my simultaneous criticism of their elitism and hypocritical conformity.

So I was a mad thief, but also a happy thief. Until I realized that part of the reason I was successful was simply because I am white. It's true. It was that simple. I worked at Lane Bryant in Lorain, OH, for about a year, and witnessed Black girl after Latina girl after Black girl after Latina girl getting busted for shoplifting, but no white girls. I felt horrified at myself and at my fellow white, politico shoplifters.

So I stopped. I realized that there were a lot of people who were paying the price for my thievery. The people in Laos sewing the clothes, the retail workers getting paid a substandard wage, the Black and Latina girls getting busted for shoplifting when I didn't. I felt like a big mess because of the whole thing.

I still do, to a degree. In any transaction at Lane Bryant, I cause harm to someone. I perpetuate an industry that profits off of third-world people. I buy polyester clothes, supporting the oil industry. I support a retail industry that pays its workers lousy wages, probably because most of them are women. I drive my car to the mall. I'm a big ole cog in the gears of capitalism and the patriarchy.

How I'm looking at it in my age, though, is that I have to be clothed, and I want to cause the least harm possible. So I go in and pay for the clothes, furtively hoping that a girl behind the counter won't get fired and other women won't get busted for my theft. This is about all I can come up with. This is a fairly heavy-handed comparison, but I feel like trying to reduce harm for being an American in the world is like the psychological bonding that happens when people fight in a war. You develop unity with the people around you, even if you're doing something terrible, and hopefully this bond gets you through.

It's so trippy to me to choose who I'm going to hurt when I buy something. But clearly, all of us Westerners have to do it to a degree. What a weird and fucked up thing.

more boots

i don't think i've heard anyone mention this site for boots.
they seem to have a good selection of wide calf boots.

i'm sooooooooo jonesing to go shopping
i don't know why
i've "shopped" at a bunch of sites already and closed the page before ordering.

but i might have to check out this store as it's in nyc.
the boots i like are $150 and that's way above my budget
i also want to take a trip to torrid soon. anyone want to join me?
maybe if i give my shopping itch a little scratch it'll go away for awhile.

as long as I stay away from ebay.
except I have to share these with you -

they fit great

yeah but no ebay, when i'm in a mood like this i never buy the right thing.

what do you do when you get the itch to shop?
under pressure

Accessory Purge

Not sure if this is appropriate, but I went through and cleaned out my accessory stash today and now have a pile of brand new plus-sized belts and some new hosiery that I would like to unload for very reasonable prices (basically to help me make up a little of what I overspent on holiday shopping). I would just as soon offer them to you ladies here as to the vultures on eBay (being a vulture there myself). Would this be welcome and acceptable here? If not, I won't take offense, just thought I would offer. I like my things to go to kickass people whom I admire if at all possible.

EDIT: To add a bit of Self-Discovery Commentary to this proposal, the very fact that I possess several brand-new/never worn belts, and many hosiery-related items still in their original packages from when I bought them two years ago, is evidence of the hoarding behavior discussed elsewhere in these parts. Food for the thinking.