Today, some cheesehead from a website called DesignTShirtsFree[Dot]Com posted a spam comment at Irregular Times, advertising for some fairly stupid t-shirts with “Keep Calm and [BLANK] On” and “It’s a [BLANK] Thing… You Wouldn’t Understand” printed on them, selling for $25 a pop. On most days, I’d just delete the stupid piece of spam and move on. But today I did a bit of checking. Here’s what I found:
1. DesignTShirtsFree makes about $6 of profit for every $25 shirt it sells through an online t-shirt sales operation called SunFrog Shirts. SunFrog gets the rest — which is, according to its FAQ page, $19 a shirt.
2. SunFrog Shirts declares that “we use a Gildan brand shirt.”
3. Gildan’s t-shirt workers in Haiti earn $6 for a day’s labor producing these shirts, a December 2014 Washington Post investigation discovered.
4. Also in December 2014, the Toronto Globe and Mail investigated Gildan shirt factories “in Montreal, Canada, it has factories in Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti – which is still reeling from the 2010 earthquake….
“Many workers have to borrow money from loan sharks, such as mother-of-three Marie-Bénie Clerjo, 32, who lives is one small room where she and her children sleep on two beds. There’s no kitchen, toilet or sink, and she is two months behind in her rent.
“‘We are not treated like humans, we are treated like animals,’ she said. ‘I am living a miserable life.'”
SunFrog tries to deflect the sweatshop issue by placing a message on every page where it sells a Gildan shirt: “Printed in the USA!” the message declares, with a little tiny American flag next to the message.
That may be. But the shirts themselves are made by Gildan. As the Washington Post and Toronto Globe and Mail have discovered, Gildan is a sweatshop operator. If SunFrog were honest, the image on its website would look like this:
At the beginning of the day, I was upset about a little bit of annoying spam. At the end of the day, I’m infuriated to learn of some people’s profit from other people’s misery.