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cya

Would you guess that the last person with whom I discussed my underwear was scooterbird? You would be correct. He seemed to think that women were incapable of not buying underwear, a notion that I'd not run across before. I have a hard time saying no to kids selling crap for school at my door, but none has ever offered me underwear. If you're not a kid at my door, I have no problem refusing your wares. So my underwear collection has experienced a bit of attrition over the years but no additions.

The most recent loss left me with five pairs, however, and that is how I learned that six is the magic number when it comes to managing underpants. I started thinking about buying a new pair. Clothing stores, however, seem to think that $5 is an exciting SALE price for underpants--and these are not the sturdy garments to which I have become accustomed, either. I kept looking.

In The Wal-Mart Effect, Charles Fishman explains that even if you never shop at Wal-Mart its influence will reach you. He could be right; I don't and it has. In fact, my underwear purchase is discussed in the same book. The guy who headed the creation of the P&G (which owns Sara Lee, which owns Hanes) Wal-Mart team was analyzing the reason for the millions of dollars in new sales following their new relationship as supplier to Wal-Mart. He concluded that a large part of it was consumers' "increased wardrobe inventory." People bought underwear because the price was good, even when they didn't need more underwear. Fishman calls it "consumption that answers no need at all."

Imagine my chagrin after reading this book (it is not an anti-Wal-Mart diatribe, either, but thoughtful and fascinating reporting) to be standing in front of a Hanes display at Meijer. Nine pairs for $7.99. Nine! It would practically triple my inventory. I could only stand there and think about it for so long. Meijer is open 24/7 but Victoria's patience has its limits. I caved and bought the underwear. At least it gave me something to write about.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
whimmydiddle
Nov. 2nd, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
With me, it's socks.
Socks. My mid-life crisis appears to center around novelty socks, especially those with cute cats, bright colors, or pandas. Beats a shiny new sports car.
koralleen
Nov. 2nd, 2007 04:34 am (UTC)
Re: With me, it's socks.
Yes. I have witnessed this phenomenon in your ankular region.
gabriellag
Nov. 2nd, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)
Great post!
But six pair? That means you have to do laundry (of both colors as I imagine you have 3 lightish and 3 darkish pairs) every six days! Crazy, I say.

I think I have about ten pairs - a reasonable amount. If you don't want to feel like you have to do laundry now except for every two weeks, you could hide a couple pair for when others wear out.
koralleen
Nov. 2nd, 2007 04:58 am (UTC)
Re: Great post!
Crazy, yes. Every six days, maybe. But those of us with questionable standards of hygiene have options. Underwear can be worn more than one day--a lot of people will not do it, still more will not admit doing it, and then there's me. Another favorite of mine WAS to dip into the other side of the closet. Unfortunately (and probably as a defensive tactic) my spouse has replaced all of his briefs with boxers. If you ask me, boxers are no better than going commando, which is the third option.

But don't worry! All of the above is now moot. Should we meet IRL you can be confident that I am respectably covered.
leiacat
Nov. 2nd, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
Frankly, lately I've found myself buying underwear of the styles that I favor when I see it because if I don't, when I need it, they probably won't be making it anymore. And I'm sufficiently picky about styles and fabrics that I'm down to relatively few options.
monkeychowuk
Nov. 2nd, 2007 08:36 am (UTC)
9 Pairs for $7.99
That's is fine deal, but I'm afraid that you'll have to give up your commission in my elite unit of commandos.

lavidamd
Nov. 2nd, 2007 12:35 pm (UTC)
This is a great post!

I also noticed that the price of most underwear has skyrocketed. It's definitely a recent phenomenon and I don't understand it.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )