Denise Robertson on hard times
When I had very little money and five sons who seemed to shoot up every day, I used to dread them growing out of their school clothes because uniforms were so expensive. They were a mixture of two families so they were very close in age, which meant no chance of passing things down. It was a strange mixture of feelings because part of me was glad to see them thrive and the other part shuddered at the sight of bony wrists sticking out of too short sleeves or trousers that were getting perilously near half-mast. I also felt guilty that they couldn’t have many leisure clothes because uniform had to come first and there wasn’t the money for both. My husband’s business had failed, I only worked part-time so our income was restricted.
That experience means I ought to welcome reports that a supermarket is offering school trousers at £1.50. In fact, it troubles me. Even if the material is cheap as chips and the supermarket is using them as a loss leader, how much – or how little – must the machinist toiling in an overseas sweat shop have been paid for his or her work? Those trousers would have been a boon to me years ago but can it ever be acceptable to solve your own problem at someone else’s expense? What do you think?