An Open Letter To Lane Bryant

21 08 2012

Dear Lane Bryant:

I could be writing this to Charming Shoppes as a whole, I could also write a letter to Old Navy, or even Torrid.  I have many things to say to all of them, as well as the seemingly endless list of stores that carry 00-14, 00-20, 00-whatever arbitrary size they choose to end at (as long as it’s a straight size.  Don’t need no fats coming into their ~beautiful store~), but the bottom line is no one is as backhandedly spiteful to the fat chicks as you, Lane Bryant.

I’ve been wearing your clothing since I was eight.  I’m 28 now.  I don’t know that your halls ever housed a bastion of delicious style that women were scrambling to purchase, though there were a few times when some nice items could be unearthed.  No matter how many people have contacted you to complain about the fact one 26/28 is stocked per style, no matter how vast the sea of 14/16s and 18/20s became on your inevitable clearance racks, you have not changed; your quiet defiance saying more about your true feelings towards fat women than your “real woman” ad campaigns ever could or would.

All of that has been said before, said well, and said by people better than me.  The real complaint, for me, right now, has to do with what I saw when I went into your Niagara Falls Boulevard location last night.  I saw a teal-and-navy chevron dress with a front-to-back bias cut.  I was taken aback— I was not expecting to see something I’d like so much.  I tried it on, and it fit well, which is another thing that I never would have thought.  The material was a light jersey, very similar to what Old Navy would peddle on their website.  I tried a few dolman-sleeve sweaters for work as well.  Everything was similar cut and fabric quality to Old Navy.  There’s not really a problem with that— Old Navy is relatively cheap material, but it’s affordable.

So, what’s my problem?  The price for the dress was 79.95, and the sweater I’d thought about buying was 54.95.  That is ridiculous.  Before you even factor in New York’s sales tax, it’s about 135.00.  For two items.  Two items of dubious quality, no less.  I had seen a “Reebok for Lane Bryant” or whatever athletic top as well, but before even trying it on, I checked the price.  59.95.  Now, I can’t speak for others, but I would say I make a solidly middle-class wage, and for me, that is flat-out unaffordable.

Let’s play a game for a moment here.  Let’s pretend Lane Bryant does not actually hate its clientele.  Let’s pretend everything the media has to say about fat people is true.  I’m not talking about health issues so much as socioeconomic issues.  If fat people are truly lower on the money ladder, why is it that you choose to take sub-par clothing and price it on a much higher scale?  The argument that there is a much smaller market, so the profit has to be higher per unit is bull.  After all, according to the media, the number of fat people is just exploding.

My entire point of this now lengthy ramble is that I am sick of having prices hiked up simply because the company knows its customers do not have many other choices.  I would absolutely love to shop at places other than Old Navy online, Lane Bryant, Avenue and so on. I don’t have a choice, though.  I don’t know how else to get the attention of Charming Shoppes/Lane Bryant— Lord knows the emailing hasn’t done a thing.  I honestly hope that people will see this and talk about it.

Sincerely,

A Super-Annoyed Fat Chick

Advertisements




A food rant.

6 01 2011

Every time the obesity epidemic (media’s words, not mine) comes up, there will be at least one person claiming fast food is the real, ultimate villain, making everyone’s BMI shoot sky-high.  “Why, if it weren’t for the fact that fast food is just so much cheaper than fresh produce, poor/middle-class people would be so much healthier!”  This seems to be a popular way to rationalize higher average weights in lower-income social brackets.  Terms like “food deserts” get tossed around in a bunch of high horse bloviating that financially comfortable people seem to excel at. (On a side note, “food desert” makes me lol.  I think of the Family Guy episode where Stewie and Brian are in the desert and they see the soda machine mirage.  Also makes me think of a Tiny Tim-esque little kid on the corner in New York City screaming, “HELP!  HELP!  I CAN’T FIND ANY BANANAS!”)

So, this attitude has always bothered me.  For the past two and a half years, I lived on a very tight budget.  My income was under nine grand a year, and a shocking portion of that went to my monthly rent.  My food budget was very low, so I was forced to be mindful of prices on everything I bought.  What did I find during my time of highly controlled spending?  I found that produce is far and away cheaper than meals at McDonald’s. That’s right, getting a burger at Wendy’s was a treat for me.  I can tell you the prices on foods I liked to have when I went to these places: a Mcdonald’s 10-piece nugget combo is 5.79, before meal tax and/or sales tax.  A 1/4 lb. single combo at Wendy’s is 5.69.  At Burger King, I’d get a two cheeseburger value meal (no cheese, please), and after tax and student discount, that was 5.24.  I would finagle the people to give me my boyfriend at the time’s 10% student discount.  Fifty cent actually made a difference for me.  Even value menu ordering is somewhat expensive.  True, a McD’s 10-piece nuggets is 3.69 while three 4-piece orders is just three bucks, but once you factor in a soda and some fries (or the admittedly delicious apple dippers), it’s still going to run you quite a bit.  5.50 for one meal is quite expensive.

To further my point, I pulled up this week’s Wegmans (a Western NY-based upscale supermarket) flyer for my area.  Let’s see what’s on special!

  • 8 lb. (!) Club Pack Navel Oranges, 4.99
  • 5 lb. bag Florida Grapefruit, 2.99
  • 8 lb. (!) Club Pack Apples, 5.99
  • 3-pk. Cucumbers, 3.99
  • 6 pk. Wegmans-brand whole wheat english muffins, 2.69
  • Club Packs 80/20 Ground Beef, 2.49/lb.
  • Club Packs 90/10 (ooh, lean!) Ground Beef, 1.99/lb.
  • Wegmans-brand in-pkg steamable frozen veggies, 16 oz., .99
  • Wegmans-brand fruit on the bottom low-fat yogurts, .40/ea

Some of those prices may seem high at first glance, but when you think about how many apples eight pounds actually is, it’s dirt cheap.  “Club Pack” is basically a family pack– I believe 3+ pounds.  Ground beef is excellent for freezing in small packages.  My mom, my boyfriend and I will sometimes brown two pounds of beef for tacos, and we almost always have enough left after taco night for a complete second meal.  We buy the 90/10, so at 1.99/lb., that’s about 67 cents per person.  I abosolutely love the steam-in-package veggies, too.  We’re big vegetable eaters, so we’ll go through a pound package in a meal, but that’s only 33 cents per person.  So even with the beef and the veg, the tally’s only at a buck per person.

I enjoy the occasional fast food meal, but one cannot deny that what I just described beats the pants off of McD’s in both price and flavor.  So why is it, then, that people constantly claim fast food is a cheaper alternative?  I will admit that I don’t know what other parts of the nation pay for their groceries.  I know that, at times, in Maine, it could get pretty pricey (especially the meat and milk).  Even at the highest price point, though, it was still noticeably cheaper than grabbing a burger somewhere.

And through all my delicious (and oft low-fat/carb) meals, I am still fat.  When I moved from Western New York to Maine, my eating habits drastically improved, due to my limited income, and yet I lost no noticeable poundage.  So, media, chew on THAT.  I had less money, so I ate better, AND I lost no weight for doing it.

For a myriad of reasons, the family sitting down to a meal together is mostly a thing of the past in the States.  People don’t buy McDonald’s for their kids because it’s cheaper, they buy it because it’s all they have the time or energy to do after their longer-than-average work day, or in between jobs.  Maybe they don’t care about their kids.  Maybe they care immensely about their kids, and their kids are begging them for a Big Mac.  There is no one answer as to why people give their kids fast food.  I don’t even really find it to be all that much of a travesty that people feed their offspring fast food.  I do think that we should be honest, though, when we complain about all of this stuff.

Cooking at home is cheaper than fast food.  Sitting down to a meal as a unit can have positive effects (not talking about weight here at all).  If people are going to complain, can’t they at least complain about it in the right way?





Anger and Disgust Permeates

4 11 2009

Dear Maine (Or, those who voted Yes):

It takes a lot of balls to tell a group of people they are undeserving of marriage. While you celebrate, there are people who are crushed that, yet again they have been denied. You know how you love your husband or wife? These people feel the EXACT SAME WAY. How can you tell them they can’t do what you do? How? So far, with the vast majority of precincts reporting, 53% of the voters who turned out decided to vote to overturn gay marriage in Maine. I don’t know what motivated it other than severe misguided understanding and possibly ignorant hatred of change, but if I hear one more person talk about how “they were raised a certain way and they want that for their kids,” well…I’m going to say something.  I generally keep my mouth shut and go out of my way to respect others, regardless, however…a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman has NO BEARING on how YOUR family is raised. Maine apparently has the highest rate of women who live together of any state. Don’t you think you’ll be seeing these people out as couples? What does it matter to YOU if they get their unions recognized by the state?  The law actually mentioned that no person or establishment was forced to marry or acknowledge any marriage they do not agree with. It shouldn’t matter to you.  You will surely have a perfect nuclear family, to be steeped in “tradition.”  Takes a lot of balls, Maine. A lot of balls and a lot of bigotry.

Zero love and lots of moving trucks in 2012, Etooz.

P.S.: Having your five-year-olds hold Yes on 1 signs at the campaign headquarters while the news people were there isn’t cute, it’s creepy. Don’t brainwash your kids.





Bullying.

21 08 2009

Simple title for a simple subject.

This post was inspired by this post and its subsequent comments.  I wanted to share my story and opinions.

Is it, though?  Bullying should be open-and-shut, something school/after school program/daycare officials should shut down when they see it happen, or are informed of it happening.  In my experience, however, it never was.  Not one principal, vice principal, teacher, or councelor ever did anything about it.

(Commence navel-gazing autobiography!)

I guess I’ve always been different.  Growing up, raised by a fiercely (to me) independent, intellectual and successful single mother who actually took the time to rear me, I saw the world in a different light than most of my peers.  This translated to me dressing differently, acting differently and getting along well with people older than me, as well as adults.  I guess I also was a little off, socially.  I didn’t (and still don’t) pick up social cues too well, but excel in other departments.  In second grade, I was reading long “chapter books” when other kids were bumbling through The Cat in the Hat.  So, I had that working against me, but it wasn’t something immediately detectable.

I was big.  Not really fat (I surely was not skinny, though), but big.  I was always off the height and weight charts for my age, and by quite a bit.  I was the first person in my year (and the year ahead of me) to hit five feet, I needed a bra at nine, and I had to start buying clothing at misses’ stores at seven (and then Lane Bryant at nine).  I also had hard to fit feet, so I wore penny loafers instead of childrens’ sneakers.

So, I was a sitting duck for the usual things children tease about.  From second grade to fourth, it wasn’t that bad, and I would consider it within the realm of typical playground bullying or teasing.  Nothing physical, just kids on my case.  It hurt, but I guess it all does.  I could still exist within the social construct of elementary school without being too miserable.

When I got a little older, though, things really kind of went downhill.  Puberty came quite early for me, ten or so, and with puberty came weight.  I gained 50 pounds when I was ten (almost eleven), definitely moving me into the “chubby/fat” category.  This is when it got hairy.  I started to become ostracized by my peers, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world had I become invisible along with being shunned.  I didn’t, though.  I became sort of a scapegoat.  It didn’t help that I had recently moved from Ohio to Massachusetts.  I was an outsider in my classes, and as far as the other students were concerned, it didn’t matter if I was from Ohio or Iowa (one of the things they just couldn’t seem to get right.  I kind of laugh about that now).

In the interest of keeping this entry shorter than 10,000 pages, I’ll cut to the chase.  A number of things happened to me while growing up– 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade were really minefields.  I had large rocks hurled at me and my face, I was assaulted, a lab stool was thrown at me, hitting my knee and injuring me, and groups of kids would surround me and heckle, pinch and prod me until I left school and walked home in the middle of the day, without my backpack.  The last one happened several times.

Now, why didn’t I go to the principal’s office, you ask?

Because they wouldn’t do anything.  If anything, I’d get in trouble for walking out of class.  The infuriating part of this, for me, is that no one would help me.  Even if my mother came in to see them, the school officials would brush it off as “kids being kids,” and send us on our way.  When I would act out as a result of the bullying (I stole some things a few times), I got detention.  Now, I don’t refute the fact that I did someting deserving of punishment, but not once did anyone ever try to figure out why I was doing what I did.  When I would repeatedly come to the principal about the bullying, nothing was ever done.

To this day, I still become angered to see kids getting bullied.  When something happens that it goes to court (like the link talks about), and people are STILL hiding behind the old “kids will be kids” addage, I wonder, “WHAT does it take?”  It is no different then “boys will be boys” to justify rape.  Why is “kids will be kids” still an acceptable dismissal?  Bullying is an incredibly damaging thing, and is far and away different from “teasing.”  I still am working through the effects of some of the stuff that happened to me.  There have been people bullied worse than me, and I have to wonder what their adult lives are like.  Why can we not take this seriously?  How many kids have to become irreparably damaged before this is considered a real problem?

I’m sure this case with the anorexic girl will end up losing, but I hope it won’t.  I don’t know if bullying GAVE her the disease, but I’m sure it helped her along summarily.  I hope the case is taken seriously.