T-Shirt Irony

Had lunch at South Coast Plaza yesterday. (And yes, they had the ceiling stars of doom up again.) When I was a kid, it was just a mall, but over the years it’s evolved into an über-trendy mall full of designer stores that supposedly attracts tourists from all over. A few months ago they opened a Bloomingdale’s.

At said Bloomingdale’s, I saw a T-shirt with a list of things one can do to protect the environment. Recycle, use less water, turn off electronics when not in use, drive less, etc. Just for kicks, I looked at the price tag: $62.

So basically, it’s a shirt that discourages conspicuous consumption, but buying it is conspicuous consumption.

Oddly enough, when I wanted to show it to Katie, I couldn’t find the display. The floor is divided into tiny little nooks for each designer, all identical except for contents, and while I probably just couldn’t find the right section, I had the disturbing sense that someone had come in behind me and replaced the T-shirt display with a shelf full of jeans. ($175 jeans, of course.)

I was able to find the display of T-shirts with Transformers, various super-heroes, Ghostbusters and other graphics that ran from about $38 to $45. These would go for $15–25 in most places. I also saw several people wandering around the mall wearing these Ghostbusters T-shirts, and I had to wonder how many of them were wearing them because they had fond memories of the film or cartoon, and how many were wearing them because they were on sale at Bloomingdale’s.

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