As a young, broke, cute clothes-hoarding gal it is no surprise I was an avid Forever 21 customer. There is something so thrilling yet soothing about riffling my way through racks upon racks of poorly-made dresses and pants while obnoxious remixes of pop music blasts itself through my already overly-stimulated self. Forever 21 is like a Vegas casino, except instead of oxygen and booze to wake you up and lure you in, it uses adorable vibrant prints and techno. Yes, Forever 21 is crack cocaine for fashionable frugal females and I am in serious need of an intervention.
When I lived in LA and heard that Forever 21 use of sweatshop labor my heart told my hand to put down that sequin halter. I mean what was more important: impressing Hollywood wanna-be's with my new $14.80 tiny tank or supporting a boycott against unfair labor practices? Sadly I chose option number one. My sociology degree got lost somewhere in the sands of Santa Monica, I was in desperate need of some attention at a bar from a cute agents assistants assistant and I was convinced this snazzy new halter was my ticket to fame and free drinks.
In retrospect I chalk up my ignorant behavior to the fact that at the time I was indeed 21 and hey, this shop was speaking my language.
Cut to now, I'm older, wiser and although I still get carded (and oddly nervous when asked for ID at bars) I am certainly not 21. Actually most gals in Forever 21 are far from 21. Perhaps it should be called Almost 35 or Close to 40. I mean I get the whole marketing aspect that Forever 21's clothes should make us feel flirty and fun like a 21-year old co-ed but when I see a middle-aged mom saunter out of the dressing room in a low-rise, super short, super tight ruffle skirt and a crop top that reads "I Stole Your Boyfriend" I cringe in shame.
Then I noticed that Forever 21 prints Christian verses on the bottom of shopping bags. Although appalled, I still can't help but binge on dozens upon dozens of Forever 21 necklaces that stay gold for about a week before turning my chest to an unsightly green. As a part-time Catholic I don't have anything against the bible, however I do have something against a store preaching the word of God when it sells slutty church offending booty baring shorts to 12 year-olds. It's gross. Almost as gross as the number of tunic tops I recently bought from that damn shop. Even grosser is the fact that Helen Roper-esq tunics are even in style. But none of which is as gross as my increasingly bulging beer belly, which requires me to sport such chic moo-moo's.
But I digress. This store has got a lot strikes against it, yet I am still not sure what could possibly help me forever flee from Forever 21.
Then it happened. I purchased an adorable fuchsia Forever 21 top. This top and me were going places. This top was going to be my new favorite shirt, the top to be part of my back-up no-fail going "out" outfit, the top to top all other tops! The top that broke on me! This stupid top broke on me! I wore the top for an hour before the strap completely fell apart. I knew Forever 21 didn't sell the greatest quality of clothes but still, how could a top disintegrate within hours of purchase?
Naturally I did what anyone would do with a faulty item, I went back to the store and attempted to exchange it only to have the cashier rudely inform me that Forever 21 does not accept damaged returns.
"But I bought it and it was damaged" I explained
"Oh well, that's our policy" snapped the cashier.
I asked, "Can I talk to a manager?"
She quipped, "I am the manager"
After a solid 10 minutes of me yelling and her shrugging I gave up, storming out of the store causing a ridiculously over-dramatic scene as I screamed "This is so fucked up that you people knowingly sell pieces of shit to your customers! I am NEVER shopping here again! NEVER!!!!!"
With pride I can say that it has been 10 days since my last Forever 21 purchase and so far so good. I would have preferred to have quit financing Forever 21 during that labor boycott or because of their bible bags, instead I waited until this store personally pissed me off. I didn't think globally and act locally, I thought Giulia-ly and acted selfishly. So from now on I promise to never again ignore the crappy practices of an institution no matter how awesome their $18.20 pleather handbags may be. So this means I promise I will never shop at Forever 21 again. Unless I desperately need a new pair of shorts that say "Hottie" across the bum.
Then again, should I ever be in desperate need of shorts that say "Hottie" across the bum I imagine I'd have bigger issue issues in my life that need attending to.
And with that, I'm off to Wet Seal to look for new leggings.