Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Not-Quite-So Goodwill?

I've been spending a lot of time in the field lately visiting tailors for the Returns to MSE Management Consulting project. I've found the older tailors to all moan about the same thing: They just can't compete with secondhand clothes.

Secondhand clothes are sold en mass at the "Dead White Man's Market" (why else would you donate your clothes?) for almost nothing. Tailored clothes are transforming into a status symbol, as cheap "Milford High School X-Country" t-shirts take over the bottom of the pyramid market.

(As an aside, every Obruni (white person) has their own "craziest secondhand clothing I've seen" story, usually involving a guy walking a goat and a jersey from an arch rival high school. My story: a security guard near my house was rocking Solomon cross country ski boots. Little metal toe clips and all. Damn proud of 'em, too!)

It would be hard to argue that people shouldn't be allowed access to cheap secondhand shoes, shirts, and pants, but spending time with the tailors, it's easy to appreciate how protectionist sentiment develops. So before you bring that next load of goods to the Goodwill, think of the tailors!

...then bring it anyway... I'm (pretending to be) an economist, after all.

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