Walmart is one of the greatest business known to the American society. All mom and pop shops no longer exist because Walmart provides such cheap prices that entice consumers. However, how is it possible for Walmart to have such low prices for consumers? The answer is simple: sweatshops.
Sweatshop is not just practiced by Walmart however. It is a widely practiced concept among the marketing world. Like in Byun's article, the idea of sweatshop was practiced by Forever 21. Workers were both paid low wage, and the working conditions were atrocious. Because it is so commonly practiced, it provides a greater difficulty for the government to take action and prevent the injustices of sweatshop and abusing laborers.
This is an interesting topic because I actually just had a quick conversation about this issue among my friends. A weird topic to have arised, but we were discussing matters of the economy. My friends had different perceptions of what sweatshops consist of. And thinking back to my history classes in high school, I recalled the lessons taught. My friend had different ideas of what laborers were paid and I told them how they would be lucky to get wages by the hour. For the most part, they get paid by the garment. I even recalled the project I had in my history class.
We were set up in teams and were given different scenarios that were passed around in the class during different rounds. We had to follow the scenarios discussed and produce the most amount of products. Whoever produced more were paid more. As a result, my teammates and I furiously worked to increase production while lowering costs. The atmosphere was very sweatshop-ish because the task at hand was to quickly make bracelets and necklaces. Thus, I was able to get the feeling and need to produce that sweat shoppers get in their everyday lives. It's a very unnerving feeling and disconcerting.
For the consumerism challenge:
I failed last week. I bought a shirt. My friends and I went to the mall to prepare for my birthday celebration. I didn't need to buy anything because I had more than enough dresses to wear for the event. However, as I was browsing around to help my friend find a dress, I ran across a really cute shirt. It came in two different colors and since all of my friends were trying on dresses, I thought it would be fun to try some clothes on as well. However, while we ladies were bonding in the fitting room, my two friends claimed they adored the shirt on me. I decided to disregard the challenge and buy it. What they hey! It's mah birfday!
I stood in line thinking about the challenge, but my feet just would not take me back. My friends sold the dress to me and I could not help to take the dress back. My hands have been itching for boots and a camera now. I still rationalize that it's all for my birthday since it's today! That's excuseable... right?
Chuck Q Byun. "Forever in Trouble?" New America Media: Expnading the News Lens Through Ethnic Media. KoreAm Journal. 2003.