Humans are genetically inclined to always pursue the cheapest of deals. Nothing gets the blood temperature rising like a 2 for 1 burger special, a cocktail happy hour or complimentary hand job at a place that promised Thai massage, but brought oh so much more. We yearn for more value, because we’re all inherently stingy and don’t want to part ways with our hard earned dollars. But do we compromise our value, our integrity and standards in the eternal pursuit of a 10% discount or free gift bag? Two-for-one-burgers? The fine print reads 15% horse meat. Happy hour? The vodka expired during the Cold War. Rub and Tug? A bit too much nail for liking, and administered by a gentleman named Antoine. I find there is so often a catch, especially in an economy where businesses are on a constant quest to cut costs. But when the chips really do turn, and the grapes become sour, is it us as the consumer who is to blame? Or the self righteous rat farmer who convinced me that all you can eat Mongolian food was a good idea.
It was with this notion in mind that I strutted my stylish self to work this morning, my fresh pair of Mr Price sneakers adorning my toe-holders, when a sudden release of pressure occurred, as if my laces fell through their clasps. Low and behold I looked down at my feet, and saw a uniformed tear in my 32-step-old shoes. Upon arriving at work, the other foot went as well. Global warming? Mercury in retrograde? Or are they just not whipping those 8 year old Vietnamese shoe makers hard enough? Now I am aware that purchasing a pair of shoes for R70 will by no means ensure any kind of quality, but is a 20m stride too much to ask? This is the second pair of shoes from that establishment where this has occurred. But is the onus on me as the purchaser?
Theres a huge ethical debate about how we as consumers conduct our daily jive. Hipsters are quickly snatching up all the Prius stock, the Iranian government is investing in solar power and no longer can we just send Liberian orphans down a mine shaft to dig for coal. “Global ethical consciousness” it’s called, hell even I buy organic dish soap. So when you purchase shoes for under R100, do you live in the delusion that it has been stitched by a classy Chinese women in a business suite, or are you turning a blind eye to the fact that child labour and borderline slavery are weaving their way into manufacturing?
But cheap deals don’t end there. In these harsh financial times, do you know you can now buy an entire Rainbow Chicken at Shoprite for under 20 rand? Sure it has more silicone than Jenna Jameson’s chest area, but it’s a family meal for the price of a bus ticket. Living on a diet of hormones wrapped in chicken skin must come with a consequence though, so can we blame manufacturers if we fall ill years down the line? Bullshit, its our own ignorance I’m afraid. Not even mentioning that it tastes worse than the actual shoes I am wearing now.
We need to be more responsible buyers. But our local regulatory bodies need to come to the party. Our social structure means that people are so impoverished that they take any deal they can get and as a result are swindled out of their money. If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. So can we have someone in government actually pull their fingers and say so? Ketamine is still a street legal drug, there are hormones that are banned in Serbia but freely available here and my fuckin shoes looks like I just lost a bum fight. Just give us quality, ethically moral products. Or is the medical and financial safety of our populace not a priority when there are nude paintings of a philanderer to protest over?
*Follow @Stroobz on Twitter as he invents the first child friendly meat grinder and artificially inseminates a squirrel.