Ramblings From an Apathetic Adult Baby

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We’re Closing Our Brooklyn-Based Sweatshop

Shareholders, the board regrets to inform you that we will be shutting down our Williamsburg operations. The space will be liquidated and reverted back into an Anthropologie and a sweatshop-themed teahouse. We do, however, anticipate Quarter Four to be our most profitable quarter to date as we shift all of our production to the windowless, crumbling airplane hanger in a cartel-y neighborhood of the El Salvador jungle. Yes, that compound, the humid one that smells like wet cat food and has all the graffiti now that says, “Send Help.”

I don’t want to blame our uncaring customers and their apparent frigid, Ayn Rand-ian hearts, but they have forced our hand and this is entirely their fault.

Through some corporate soul-searching and ethical rationalizing—plus some profit projections and brand analysis—closing Williamsburg and abandoning our utopian vision is the only way we can reflect the demands of today’s patrons. We are, at our core, a hilarious t-shirt business, not a humanitarian non-profit.

Given the choice between identical, side-splittingly funny shirts made in Brooklyn or El Salvador (retailing for $38.99 and $7.99 respectively), consumers have ignored our mission to bring more job opportunities and more tax dollars stateside. We’d hoped customers would have heeded our call, helped to expand our nation’s capacity, and ultimately created a more welcoming refuge for those abroad fleeing violence or horrific working conditions in, say, El Salvador. Yet, despite our pleading and visceral transparency, our narcissistic patrons have overwhelmingly opted to save themselves the thirty-one dollars when purchasing one of our classics, like “Who Farted?” or “Keepin’ it Diarr-real.”

When Amnesty International investigated our “El Salvador sweatshop fueled by thin gruel and lost childhoods” we tried to parlay this publicity into nudging shoppers towards our Brooklyn-built shirts and our vision for a brighter, more egalitarian future. Though our brand was now synonymous with “torture,” “roof collapse,” and “cat-food smell,” orders into El Salvador never wavered. Egocentrics were happy to denounce us across social media while continuing to pay a lean $7.99 for their favorites, including our flagship design on highlighter-pink, “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Reach My Ecstasy.”

Lowering costs in Williamsburg proved impossible. Minimum wage is fifteen-dollars-an-hour, OSHA compliance and actual fire escapes weren’t merely “suggestions,” plus the ever-rising costs of Milkshake Monday in lieu of dental and vision coverage, and we’re nearing a tight $38.99 per shirt. When rumor circulated of our grad student employees joining Local 2126: Brotherhood of Haberdashers, T-Shirt Printers, and Hired Goons, we simply had no choice.

Maybe we were naïve to think that we were mavericks capable of filling the world with both comedy and equality. Piggybacking on free-range eggs and cruelty-free meat, we plotted new selling points for t-shirts—sure-fire crowd-pleasing ones like “Karen Sucks” or “I Have Existential Crises on First Dates.” Yet, our customers didn’t blink in condemning another generation to pseudo slave-like conditions just to afford themselves an uproarious “Kiss Me I’m Not Irish” number and enjoying forever being the life of every party.

We’ll keep eliminating non-essentials in El Salvador—items like natural light, inoffensive smells, gruel thickeners, and chair backs. If our organization can’t be the catalyst humanity needs, then we, the shareholders and board members, need to demand exorbitant salaries to personally help the third-world. Giving back, of course, once we have each decided that we’ve bought ourselves enough racehorses.

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