I’ll admit it Royals,
I love Forever 21. They have fashionable clothing for a decent price. So decent in fact that you can easily spend a small fortune by the time you end up grabbing half the store. Just today I picked up a few spaghetti strapped tank tops. They’re cotton and spandex and pretty darn good quality. The last time I bought these I was in Chicago. That was almost three years ago. So seeing as how I only paid $2.80 each, I’d say I got my money’s worth. However, I’ve been thinking lately about the ethics of the fashion and retail industry. Along with Forever 21’s countless lawsuits stemming from its copyright violations and history of paying illegally low wages to immigrant workers subject to sweat shop conditions– Forever 21 refuses to give you back your money! If you’ve ever shopped at Forever 21, then you know that they have a strict “return” policy. I put the word return in quotations, because their return policy is a straight up joke.
“You have 21 days to return an item with the receipt and tags attached for exchange or store credit only. They DO NOT give cash back. All jewelry and sale items are final sale.”
Once you buy it, it’s yours. They don’t call it FOREVER 21 for nothing. If you need to bring it back, all you’ll get is a store credit. So over the last few years I’ve learned to seriously think about my purchases before I let them swipe my debit card. I know I get strange looks when I’m staring at a piece of clothing like it’s life or death. But it’s my money and I’m not trying to just throw it away! So today I got to thinking- I don’t know one person who shops at Forever 21 and likes their vicious return policy. I’ve never heard someone say, “Oh yeah. I love not being able to change my mind!” But as I started digging, I found out more about the companies ethics than I bargained for. I had to seriously ask myself- Now that I’m aware of what’s happening, “Can I just turn a blind eye to save myself money and build a killer wardrobe?” I’m not going to lie…It’s tempting. Those yellow signs can be surprisingly alluring…
Apparently I’m late and this has been going on for years. So why hasn’t anyone done anything about all this?! Because we ASSUME that we can’t! But we CAN! We forget that the power is really in the hand of the consumer, not the retailer. Remember Molly Katchpole a 22- year old woman from Washington who collected over 300,000 signatures opposing additional bank fees? One woman had enough gall to stand up for her rights and got a major bank to back down. With the boost of social media, it’s easier than ever to influence the policies of even the largest companies. What are we afraid of? That Forever 21 will close all their stores because we boycott them until they change their policy? Yeah right. There’s no way in the world they’d do anything like that. Believe you me, it wouldn’t take very long before they “revised”their return policy. I bet they wouldn’t last a month. They have overhead to pay! They couldn’t afford that type of loss. But could you? Could you resist cute clothes for 30 days for the greater good?
How about I do you one better. I propose [we] get together and exercise not only our rights as consumers, but our rights as human beings to change our mind! No Forever 21 for TWENTY-ONE DAYS!! We’d make history. And companies would start to think twice before biting the hand that feeds them. In these strenuous economic times, I believe we have a right to protect our money- And any company that disagrees can just go out of business.
I think one of the biggest issues I have with Forever 21 is that the Korean owners Do Won Chang and his wife Jin Sook Chang are known for their Christian faith and even go as far as to have the scripture John 3:16 printed on the bottom of all their iconic yellow bags…I used to think this was awesome until I learned that they don’t necessarily practice what they preach. So with that said it looks like I won’t be shopping at, supporting or promoting Forever 21 until they improve their policies.
How about you Royals? Is it important for the companies that you spend your money with be socially responsible? How do you feel about what Forever 21 has been doing? Would you support a 21 day boycott to get their attention and possibly spark change? Leave a comment below!