I stopped at the local Kum-and-Go yesterday to gas up my RFT. Normally there are only three things that catch my eye in the store, the coolie machine, coffee machine, and the cash register. Oh, and sometimes I look at the store clerk, but most of the time that’s a mistake, I am not a fan of neck tattoos and pierced noses, lips, tongues, eyelashes, etc… Anyway, there was quite the line to the register; so long that I almost finished my coolie before I paid for it, so I had time to take a look around.
While I was waiting around I noticed the store had a stock of Cum-and-Go promotional items for sale. They were selling hats, shirts, coffee mugs, and believe it or not pink Kum-and-Go boxer shorts. My first thought was, who would buy Kum-and-Go underwear in a convince store? Convenient yes, tasteful not so much. Then I started to look around and noticed some other disturbing things for sale. One rack in particular caught my attention. A metal rack by the front door had a display of hats and T-shirts. This is nothing really new, however, what caught my eye were the logos. Border patrol, ATF, Security, FBI, and many others were displayed on the hats and t-shirts.
I found this to be kind of disturbing. What kind of person goes around wearing pink Kum-and-Go boxer shorts, a black Border Patrol t-shirt and a FBI ball cap? Are there so many federal agents roaming around my area that they couldn’t get their uniforms at, well where ever feds buy their shirts and hats? Is the availability of emergency boxer shorts supposed to encourage me to buy their jalapeño cheese bratwurst? You know just in case…
As I was leaving I noticed a teenager entering the store wearing what looks like a vintage Rolling Stone concert t-shirt. WTF? I bet Keith Richards has drugs older than that kid.
T-shirt integrity is truly dead.
I remember when the only way to get a concert t-shirt was to actually go to the concert. The T-shirt was public proof that you actually attended the event. It was also a public display of your tastes and interests, but that wasn’t the whole point, you were there man, that’s what’s important. I remember years and years ago, going to the local record store (Tower records) and finding bins where you could pick up un-sold concert T-shirts at a discount. This disturbed me even then; I felt it would be dishonest, even distasteful to purchase a t-shirt that told the world that you were there, when you weren’t. I guess it doesn’t matter that much, many people buy and wear the t-shirts to show their support for their band, even if they couldn’t go to the show. That’s cool I guess, but it still bothers me.
What about T-shirts and hats that were originally given to people as a kind of exclusive act of membership? When I work a fireworks show I wear a t-shirt that represents the company I work for, this is intended as a kind of uniform and to provide easy identification. What if we sold these shirts to just anyone? I am sure it would increase our apparent volunteer count, but how many products may disappear before the show?
I guess there is a fine line between a T-shirt and a uniform (FBI, etc), and between nostalgia and misrepresentation (Woodstock, etc.)
There is not real point to this post. I simply wonder about these things.
I have questions that would be impolite to ask in person.
Why would someone pay to wear an advertisement for a product?
Why would someone wear an “I was there” t-shirt when they weren’t.
Do people actually feel they show support for federal department or agency by impersonating their agents?
I personally support eccentricities and enjoy seeing people dress in odd ways; they display individualism, personal integrity, and a willingness to stand out. This I respect. I guess when I see t-shirts everywhere it displays an amount of collective behavior that I find disturbing. If you’re going to wear a trendy t-shirt at least have some integrity. Go ahead and wear a police bomb squad t-shirt, just be prepared to defuse a bomb if asked.
I do have lots of T-shirts, but I practice T-shirt integrity. I have dozens of T-shirts with logos, club membership etc, littering my closet. Not one is from an event, club, or concert that I have not been to. And to be honest I rarely wear one except when in company of like minded people.
Well, there is this one exception: