This year for the holidays, a group of child advocates came up with a great gift idea for the Christmas stockings of every low and middle-income student in your zip code. It is a large gray t-shirt. The size or age of the child doesn’t matter. Just put the shirt in there and we will be good to go. As one member of the government-funded One Size For All Shirt Company explained, “What is good for one is good for all. That is the equitable way to do things.”
The employees at the OSFAS company are excited to take this nation-wide. They are tired and frustrated by the countless shirt companies boasting about their different sizes, styles, colors, and materials; even some who provide shirts tailored to fit each person. All of this is draining money from the OSFAS company. In fact, OSFAS advocates have collected ample research to show how those other shirt sellers are wasting money, engaging in unethical practices, and they are not actually creating any new value for young people. As primary evidence, to direct us to the National Assessment for Shirt Efficacy, a test that measures the impact of shirts upon several factors deemed most important by policymakers and other important people.
Representatives from the OSFAS Company explain it this way.
“These other shirt manufacturers clearly do not care about children, their well-being, or their future. They are in it for themselves. There was a time when we had a good, solid, single-size shirt provider (and manufacturer) in each neighborhood, freely distributing these shirts to any and all children who need or want it. Almost every child received shirts from that one local store (with the exception of a small percentage who opted to pay more for custom clothing at more expensive stores, or the rare family who made their own shirts). They were happy with this situation. Workers at the local OSFAS store and manufacturer were paid well and produced good, solid, single-size shirts for the local children.”
This is in contrast to today, when families sometimes have more than ten or twenty local choices for shirts (and even the ability to order shirts from anywhere in the world), some at an extra cost, but others as part of the government-funded free shirt distribution program. It is breaking the old and beautiful shirt distribution system, and many are concerned. As explained by the President of a local OSFAS Worker Union, “We care deeply about the future of our children, and these other shirt providers must go.”
Still others point to corruption in many of these shirt companies. They use this to argue that we are better off returning to the one size policy of old, at least for the majority of middle and lower class children.
Shirt choice proponents argue that this growing choice is best for all people. The founder of a personalized clothing manufacturer recently explained, “Why should we force low-income families to stuff their children in a single size shirt? Do we really believe that a large shirt is going to serve the 75 pound and 200 pound student equally?” OSFAS champions were quick to explain that we just need to make that 75 pound kid eat more, and put the other one on a diet. “If they just trust us to do our job, we can fix those kids.”
While the shirt choice movement has been gaining momentum for years, many OSFAS advocates are hopeful that they can regain control in the upcoming years, and their holiday campaign for one-size t-shirts in the Christmas stockings is just the beginning of a long list of strategic initiatives.