The Case of the Stinky Shoes


The other night, I walked into my teenage daughter’s bedroom to say goodnight and my eyes-in-the-back-of-my-head alarm went off.

“What is that smell?” I asked. The odor was a bit like fire, petroleum, and toxic chemicals, mixed with an electrical malfunction. Generally bad stuff. Dangerous stuff.

“I’ve been smelling it too,” she said. We both sniffed about but couldn’t find the culprit. I tried not to worry about it too much, since after a check and a hug (the smell wasn’t on her), we determined that nothing was on fire or about to explode.

The next night I walked in and the smell was still there.

“I think it’s my new shoes,” she said, pointing to a pair of cotton Mary Jane–style shoes she’d just purchased from Urban Outfitters. Actually, she’d bought two pair, since it was a 2 for $20 deal. I picked one up, sniffed, and nearly gagged. I actually started coughing and wondered if the strange coughing fit I’d had the night before was possibly connected.

We immediately took both pairs out to the porch to get them out of the house.

I wasn’t going to mention it to you all until I saw on the news this morning about mass faintings in a Cambodian garment factory. Turns out it’s not uncommon. Workers are only paid $100 a MONTH. There’s not much ventilation and I’m sure, as the smell of those shoes attests to, they’re working with tons of toxic sh*t.

This, my dear readers, is exactly why I launched I wanted to create a place where anyone can shop and know that the workers who make the products are treated well. That nature is treated well. And, most important of all, that nothing in that product will harm you or your family. In fact, everything in that product will make you healthier and happier!

We don’t sell shoes yet, but one day…one day.

In the meantime, you’ve got the power to make the world better by how you shop.


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5 Responses to The Case of the Stinky Shoes

  1. Elizabeth G. Craig April 9, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    Such an important topic! I know exactly that smell and I cannot stand it. It often comes with a new toy my kids have gotten. It’s terrible that we have to be so vigilant in our every purchase. I’m grateful we have options like, but we also need to change the laws of the land such that companies have to prove their products are safe before their sold. Right now, the onus is on us to prove their products are harmful, which is almost impossible. The Toxic Chemical Safety Act, which hasn’t been updated since the early ’70’s, is due for an overhaul. Only if we elect representatives who are not beholden to the chemical companies (i.e., the Koch Brothers, et al) will we have a chance to do so. Geez, it always comes back to politics, doesn’t it? Vote!

  2. Alice Green April 9, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    Yes, we need to change the laws, as well as how and where we shop. It takes time and energy, but there are watch-dog groups out there who look into those factories who treat their workers like slaves, some are forced to live at the factory and can’t go home, others die in fires because the doors are locked and they can’t get out. If we will stop buying the T-shirts and other products that these places make, and our own American owned companies sell to us, then it will have to stop. The only thing that keeps it going is the huge profits the USA corporations make off of the lives and sufferings of poor people who have no control over their own governments. If they stop making a profit and we let them know we won’t support that kind of treatment of other human beings, they will have to change their ways. It seems no matter who we elect in our own Congress, they always end up voting for big Corporations. So we have to do it with our own dollars since governments seem to not have the guts to do it by enacting tougher laws.

  3. Leslie spurling April 16, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    I agree in part with Alice. Yes, it matters who we elect, and we need to let them know we will watch how they vote so they need not make any re-election plans if they don’t support healthy products across the board. However, the most effective vote is the one you make with your shopping dollar. If isn’t actually made in the US, if it doesn’t pass the sniff test, don’t buy it. Period. We don’t need more laws, we need determined informed shoppers.

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