JUSTICE STINKS

VintageSweatShop

No, not justice for the people or any of that. This is not a human rights or political post. I’m talking about Justice for Girls. If you have a daughter between the ages of 6 and 14, you know all too well what I’m referring to. Groan…..receiving that in the mail makes my stomach churn almost as much as the day the American Girl catalog shows up. $100 for a doll?! Are you flipping kidding me? At any rate, back to Justice….

About a month ago we received the latest catalog, along with the ubiquitous 40% off coupon. Now typically 40% off of anything should result in a pretty dandy price point, but in this case the prices are so over the top inflated to begin with that the resulting “savings” still leaves one shaking their head. Needless to say, it isn’t a place we shop very often. Do these jeans look like they are worth $50 to you? Me either….

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The catalog featured their winter line up of clothing, the offerings including some bedazzled sweaters, quasi “Ugg” boots and patterned jeans. My daughter was particularly fond of a pair of splatter paint jeans and truth be told, they were pretty cute. The $49.90 price tag? Not cute. Oh, wait…. I forgot about the 40% off coupon. Now we’re at just under 30 bucks. No thank you. In my younger and more foolish days of being less than thrifty, I may have considered shelling out $30 for a pair of jeans for myself, but I have never spent that much money on a pair of jeans for my daughter. Now before you get all huffy and ask “isn’t your daughter worth spending the money on? Thirty dollars isn’t too bad,” my answer is, of course she is. In fact she is priceless and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her. However at the rate children grow and at the expense of wanting to show her not only the value of a dollar but also the concept of living within your means, the jeans were out. Period.

We won’t even talk about (ok maybe just a little) the disparity of what the worker in a third world country was paid to make said jeans versus the retail price. Just to be clear, I am no expert in the cost of living in say, Cambodia.  I realize the hourly wage is far under that of the great state of Ohio (which is far too low as well but that’s another topic for another time) but I’m pretty sure that the worker who put those jeans together did not get the lion’s share of the profit. At 50 bucks a pop for jeans, that worker should be making a decent living. But who am I kidding, I know they’re not. That’s why companies have their clothes made overseas….

My demented mind started churning its gears and sadly what I envisioned was a bunch of six year old Cambodian kids splattering paint on to jeans for a few Riels a day. Ugh…..

But then a light bulb went off.  My daughter’s birthday was fast approaching. She wanted the jeans and I needed an activity for the party guests to participate in…..we would splatter paint our own jeans.

I wanted to reuse and recycle as much as possible, so I purchased jeans for all of the girl attendees at my local thrift store. I purchased 6 pairs of jeans (btw, label wh*res, all of the jeans were Levi’s and Justice, just an FYI in case that sort of thing is important to you). The total for 6 pairs of jeans was right around $10. We had some boys coming as well, and I felt that tshirts would be more appropriate for them. As much as I wanted to buy second hand tshirts for them to splatter, new tshirts were in order for this project. It is somewhat difficult to find plain tshirts second hand. A five pack of Hanes tshirts was $9.

Next, armed with my 50% off one regularly priced item coupon from my local big box craft store, I scored a multi pack of fabric spray paint for just $10. I also picked up a multi pack of fabric puffy paint for an additional $10.

I laundered the jeans prior to the party and had them ready to go when the guests arrived. After everyone arrived and had eaten, I promptly sent them all outside for this project (the weather gods were definitely smiling upon us this day. You never know what kind of weather you will get on a November day in Ohio).

What happened next was roughly an hour of these kids splattering, spraying and drawing with paints. Every single one of them was having a blast and totally getting their Jackson Pollock on. It was so cool to see them really getting in to it and taking their creations quite seriously….and they turned out great! I loved seeing their creativity come to life and I was proud to see them take ownership of their project. In fact they all decided that they would wear their creations to school that Monday…..how awesome is that?

This next part is very picture heavy….I wanted to make sure everyone’s artwork was featured.

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So here’s the breakout, financially speaking:

Thrift store jeans $10

New tshirts $9

Fabric paints $20

Grand total $39

Teaching the value of a dollar to my daughter and keeping a bunch of kids occupied for over an hour…..PRICELESS.

If you decide to try a project like this, please make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions as to setting time for the paint, whether or not to use fabric softener and how to launder in the future. We don’t want all that hard work ruined!

Ooh! There was another pair of jeans in the catalog my daughter was keen on….they were a dark grey wash with polka dots. Time to find another pair of jeans at the thrift store, cut a circle out of a sponge and drag out the bleach 😉

Peace, love and blessings to all……

April