Yesterday, I went to Macy’s. It was my first time shopping in a store other than Goodwill in months, due in part to budgetary restrictions and in part to schedule restrictions, by mostly due to my changing attitude towards shopping.
Walking into a department store in South Florida after three months spent in relative isolation and shopping abstinence is a recipe for major culture shock, and major culture shock is what I got. I think I was more overwhelmed than when I returned from five months in Egypt. It was a weird mix of feelings: disgust, superiority, desire….and then I thought, geez, Azoff, what a snob you are! You walk in here like some sort of saint thinking ‘I bet none of this stuff is sustainable and I bet none of these people care. Americans are so sheltered, materialistic and selfish.’
I headed over to the swimsuit section and my eyes lit up when I saw 2 racks with the Eco Swim logo above them. Of course, I’d expected them to be there, that was a primary reason I’d gone to Macy’s in the first place. I had a brief fantasy about a day when recycled bathing suits make up the majority of the swimwear department, then headed back through the store.
As I walked down the aisles I felt a bit sad that I “couldn’t” buy anything. Wistful, I guess, is the appropriate adjective. But I just want one pretty new dress! Is that so much to ask?? So of course, I rationalized an excuse. Well, Azoff, you have been very good lately. You are hyper aware of the garments you do and don’t buy, and that has to count for something. Maybe it’s ok to indulge yourself this once… (For some reason I always address myself by my last name during internal monologues).
So, I sidled guiltily over to the aptly named “Impulse” department to see if I could satisfy my hankering for a maxi dress. Very quickly, a long black, belted maxi with slits halfway up the sides caught my eye (try as I might I always buy too much black). Ok, I thought. First things first: check the price. $59.99, doable. Next: production country. Oh hey!!! Made in USA! Sweet!
Even though the material isn’t eco-friendly and I don’t know about the sourcing, I know that this dress was manufactured by people paid a living wage in this country, and therefore it fits into my definition of sustainability. Awesome. I bought the dress and it makes me feel like a movie star.
The moral of the story? Dunno. Consumption isn’t all bad? You can find treasures in department stores? Don’t be so judgmental? Take what you will from this. I’ll take my pretty new dress.