Saturday, February 2, 2008

Jeans, Teens, and the Coupon.

So here's the thing. Aeropostale, a store I hate on principle, is running this campaign called "Teens for Jeans," where it asks teenagers to turn in their "gently worn" jeans in exchange for a 20%-off coupon for a new pair of pants. The used jeans go to a local homeless shelter, which, almost anywhere you are, you can assume will be bulging, and especially now, when so many "submprime borrowers," i.e., people, are being tossed out of their houses.

So okay. Because I care so damned much about everything, and feel everyone's pain so acutely, I say, Hey, kids, let's respond. Let's tote our old pants to Aeropostale, a store as I've pointed out I'd normally circumnaviate the globe to avoid, and clothe the poor local teenagers who are stuck in homeless shelters and probably wishing they were dead about now. (Have you ever actually been in homeless shelter? I have, many times. So trust me on this one.) Anyway, we've got a chance to give these poor kids our used pants. That in itself is kind of icky, when you think about, but the brands are cool and kids will at least be able to hold up their heads in school, maybe for the first time in their wretched lives.

Of course, two of the children in my house don't care about this campaign. My son pats me on the shoulder and tells me I'm cute. The other one can't be pried away from his video game long enough to recognize that he's being spoken to. Now, my lip-glossed step-daughter, she cares, but only because there's a coupon attached. No coupon, no action, it's that simple. Why bother otherwise? And that's the problem - one of the problems - with all such"we care" marketing ploys. They just underscores what the stylish 13-year-olds amongst have always known: if you're going to give, you'd better be getting even more in return. Otherwise ... puh-leeze. If the poor have to hang around smelling bad and whining, we should at least profit from them.

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