talk about walking in another persons shoes. TOMS literally suggests that you do so. one for one. you buy a pair, they give a pair a way.
the TOMS shoe for a shoe thing feels more like charity than solidarity to me, as much as they attempt to get folks to feel a sense of connection with others.
can we think about why folks don't have shoes? and maybe, um, support their local shoe making instead of flooding them with these weird shoes they wouldn't normally wear?
this article makes many of those arguments. My favorite line:
“TOMS Shoes is a good marketing tool, but it’s not good aid.” She has a long list of reasons, including: “It’s quintessential Whites in Shining Armor. It’s doing things ‘for’ people, not ‘with’ people.”
the weirdest TOMS phenomena is the barefoot solidarity thing. maybe you haven't been exposed to it, but once a year they urge folks to go barefoot for a day in solidarity with folks who can't afford shoes. commercialization of solidarity just maybe? but hell, they had 1,000 events in 25 countries. wow.
am I being a curmudgeon? comments?
Thanks for posting this. I'm with you, this kind of model sells the idea that the consumer is actually doing something good to create change by purchasing TOMS shoes, when in reality it's something less appropriate and helpful.
I was sort of excited when I first saw TOMS, since I fell in love with those style shoes when I lived in Uruguay and Argentina. I thought that maybe the shoes were made there and somehow there was a social reinvestment program that put sales earnings into development of some sort in the community where the shoes were made. But that's not really it (if that would really be better), and Whites in Shining Armor is right!
I think the "Day Without Dignity" counter-campaign is a good channel for raising awareness about the failings of this sort of model.
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