(Photo of guilty flip flops by victim, Kerry Stiles.)
Big surprise here, right? Cheap shoes bought at Wal-Mart were poorly manufactured, resulting in chemical burns to several wearers. That's terrible for the consumers and luckily no one has lost limb or life. I think we're kind of missing the point here, though.
The real question is, do we actually think that we can buy a pair of shoes for $2.44 with no repercussions?
If I am spending less than three dollars for flip flops, I can bet someone somewhere is paying the true cost for me. It's only news in this case because consumers in the USA are suffering, not just some nameless foreign worker.
So, this woman's feet are burned, now imagine the burns the workers who manufactured the shoes must've received. And the pollutants caused by that manufacturing. And the energy used to package, ship and distribute the flip flops. All so we could save a few dollars on some plastic shoes?
And why the hell are we wearing plastic shoes to begin with? I'm pretty sure that we've all received the memo on plastic, right? The one that says plastic is not so good for oh, any living anything on the planet? Human, bird, tree, ocean or otherwise?
Do we really think that a company can turn a profit humanely and safely by designing, producing, distributing and then selling shoes for TWO FREAKING DOLLARS?
Whether or not these flip flops caused physical injury to the end user is so not the point. Even if they hadn't, the damages and costs associated with their creation, sale and disposal are the same.
Externalized cost. Embodied energy. Think before you consume, http://www.storyofstuff.com/!