Sunday 17 June 2007

Sorry, Naomi

A few years ago a Canadian author named Naomi Klein wrote a book called No Logo. I managed to get through most of it.

Basically it is an in depth look at the crazy way that most of the West (and growing beyond) has become obsessed with stuff. Mostly high priced stuff. Mostly high priced stuff with a label on it that is supposed to make you feel good. Klein points out that many of the goods manufactured under a particular logo (not just clothes) are produced under exploitation of the workers. But, for Klein, the exploitation doesn't stop there. It continues on to exploit the consumer of the logo. I would tend to agree with her.

However, this weekend I think I probably put myself in Naomi's bad books.

In order to keep up my visitation of all Starbucks in Ireland - (I'm not sure how long this will last. There's a couple that have opened near me since I last wrote about my project. Starbucks tend to have an aggressive marketing policy that involves opening loads of stores in order to push out local coffee business. I know this because Naomi told me.) - I went into a clothes store in the city centre, BT2, that had a Starbucks its children's department.

Being in this store did start to make me feel uneasy. There were logos everywhere! As I had my 1 year old son with me I had to find a lift to get my coffee. Now, fair play to the staff. They were very helpful in taking me to a lift which involved going back outside and through another door with the use of a security card. Once upstairs I bought my regular latte and had a quick look around the children's clothes. This made me feel even more uneasy. Ralph Lauren, Timberland, DKNY, Burberry, Ted Baker, Bonpoint...for kids!!! One very brief glance through some baby clothes revealed a 75 euro shirt for a six month old. I guess someone is going to buy it.

On the way back down another helpful staff member chatted with me. Ironically, despite there being a Starbucks store 15 feet from where he was standing when I asked for help with the lift, the young sales assistant told me he had never been to Starbucks. We were already at the ground floor before I was able to ask him if this was his ultimate dedication to the No Logo cause.

Not ironically, I didn't buy anything from the clothes store. Partly for the cause. Mostly for the money.

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