Victoria’s Secret had a big secret
Just when you thought the outsourcing of American manufacturing couldn't get any more weird, it turns out that Victoria's Secret, maker of that sexy line of lingerie and bikinis, has a bigger secret than anyone knew: They are using sweatshops in Jordan manned by Filipinos and Bangladeshis making only about 3 cents per frilly panty. Yes, folks, workers who can't eat are making slinky underwear for women who won't eat.
Of course, Victoria's Secret corporate officers were shocked -- SHOCKED! -- to learn their clothes were being made in sweatshops. (And, trust me here, it's hard to shock company officials who attend board meetings in bustiers and fishnet stockings.)
They just couldn't believe that the Jordanian company wasn't paying a living wage to its workers. Victoria's Secret has said it will get to the bottom, so to speak, of the sweatshop problem. But in the meantime, the American consumer is reeling from the multiple levels of irony surrounding this disturbing revelation.
First, contemplate the strangeness of a Middle Eastern Muslim country where the women cover their bodies in burkas producing garments for women in the United States who don't cover ANYTHING, and go from there. The only thing that could make this tale more amazing would be to find out that the lingerie is made of a material containing a date-rape drug.
Now, a few months ago, such a statement would seem outrageous. But now we know that China was making toys for American companies that actually did contain a substance that, if ingested, would act like a date-rape drug. Luckily, the toys in question were just tiny, easily swallowed candy-size balls called Aqua Dots.
I'm not sure even the evil Dr. Fu Manchu would think of making kids toys out of materials containing a dangerous drug. And he put the term "insidious" on the map.
Of course, American companies have been shocked -- SHOCKED! -- to find their products are being made in China with poisonous lead paint, date-rape drug chemicals and rat poison. After all, the companies are paying pennies for items that would cost dollars for U.S. workers to make, so you'd just assume the products would be of equal quality.
I'm tired of people blaming countries like China and Jordan for these manufacturing outrages. Last time I looked, it was Mattel and Victoria's Secret whose names were on these products. (And, trust me, I've looked long and hard at the Victoria's Secret catalogs to see whose name is on the garments in question.)
It doesn't matter if the merchandise is made in Cleveland, Canton or Calcutta, it is ultimately the American company's responsibility to make sure the products are safe and workers aren't being exploited. Whether making Barbies or brassieres, you can't pass the buck while making a buck.
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