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Friday, October 14, 2011

Crabby Post: What Do You Think of Tom's Shoes?

Luckily, I live a virtual life here, so I can't get in toooo much trouble for crabbing out about Tom's Shoes. I see these shoes--usually slip=ons made of cotton canvas-- everywhere. On all sorts of feet. They are extremely chic. The company is classed as an example of social entrepeneurship, but it is--in my opinion--not in the league of the various micro-lenders and companies like Newman's Own mentioned in the wikipedia article.

Yes, the company gives a pair of shoes away to a needy child for each pair sold. But, honestly, I've seen the shoes, which sell for around $50.00. Frugal Me thinks these are awfully expensive, the donation notwithstanding. Now if Tom's gave away FOUR pairs for each one sold, that would be something. I bet they would still make a tidy profit.

Am I too crabby? too unfair?


Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you. I remember years ago, a shoe in the exact same style and from what I can tell, the same materials and quality, was sold at Wal-Mart for $1. So I think Tom should be giving away 49 pairs for every pair sold.

jenny wren said...

I have been eye-ing Toms since I made a commitment to only buy things from manufacturers I felt were ethical or buy second hand items. This summer Tom's had an event with the the anti-gay hate group Focus on Family which for me put them out of the ethical group.

SLF said...

Blake Mycoskie came to my school (LSU) to speak last year. For his 45 minute speech, he was paid nearly $30,000. No mention of this money going to a charity or being otherwise used to improve the lives of others. I have no problem with businesses. Hey, people gotta buy shoes. But I do have a problem with people feeling like they're actually doing something substantial when they buy shoes from TOMS. A lot of the rabid wearers have a "holier than thou" attitude and seem to think that TOMS is a charity rather than a for-profit company. Even the manufacturing practices seem to be little improved, if at all, over the practices of big companies like Nike, Adidas, etc. Basically this seems to me just another way that the American consumer can consume more, but assuage their conscience.

--Frugal Son

Shelley said...

I've not seen these here in Britain, though having checked on the internet, one can apparently buy them at Selfridges and Shuhs for £32 - about $50 as you say. I think they are a riot - sort of a twist on the Emperor's clothes. I doubt they'll be big here in England because they don't look very water proof. Also they are ugly and they look cheap and nasty. So maybe they will catch on here after all... Seriously, I find it hard to believe anyone would pay good money for them, and if the shoes that go to needy children are Tom's, I don't think it's doing the child any favours at all. People can be so silly! (So how's that for being crabby!)

kittiesx3 said...

I think they are as ugly as Ugg boots. And I wouldn't buy them either. If that makes me crabby, well OK then.

Genuine Lustre said...

Agreed!I want to hate Toms. I see so many filthy run down pairs on hipster-wanna bes. Blech.
HOWEVER, my college age daughter has a pair and I must admit that they are, for some odd reason, super comfy. So...I ordered a pair. The youth size 5.5 is the same as a woman's 7.5 and they are $38. The soles are thicker too. Yay capitalism.

Patience_Crabstick said...

Goodness, I am discovering so many nice blogs today. I'm not a fan of Tom's although I do own a pair. They're comfortable, but don't look nearly as chic on me as they do on other people. When I wear them in public I feel I've become the sort of person who wears bedroom slippers to the grocery store.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Miss M; I like that idea!
@jenny wren--Wow! Thanks for the info.
@SLF--You're even more crabby than I am. Good point about people think it is a charity.
@Shelley-Actually, they look kind of cute.
@kittiesx3--Oops@ I have uggs. They are balm to my aching feet.
@Genuine-I agree! They are cute. I can wear children's sizes myself, a great frugal tip.
@Patience-Can I have your name?

Duchesse said...

You can do better and worse than Tom's.

At least they do not lock their workers into their factories. (How much were the workers paid for those $1 Wal-Mart shoes? And you can bet NO shoes being given to the kids locally?

re Tom's support of Focus on Family:
"After being criticized for supporting a socially conservative non-profit, Mycoskie posted an apology on his website stating that he and his handlers had not heard of Focus on the Family before participating in the event and decided it was a mistake. He also stated that he and the company support equal human and civil rights.[45][46]"