Panty Hose

It is not often that a letter arrives which is so self-contained and precise a consumer complaint. Rather than try to edit this correspondence, I want to share it with readers as written: July 27, 1992

Dear Mr. Nader,

I am enclosing a copy of a letter I sent to Hanes.

In your continuing efforts to instill conscience in American industries, perhaps you could look into this problem?

You would have the undying gratitude of millions of women who have enough frustrations in life without watching their last pair of pantyhose — fresh from the package -­create ladder-like runners up their legs as they rush to dress for work.

This is discrimination against women in its very worst form — and I do expect Hanes to justify it.

Sincerely,

Lydia Justice Edwards

Idaho State Treasurer

July 27, 1992

Consumer Affairs Dept. Hanes

Ricks Drive

Winston-Salem, NC

Dear Sir/Mme.,

As the leader of the women’s hosiery industry, Hanes also should be the leader of a move to end the ridiculous built-in obsolescence of hosiery products.

In frustration with the constant runs and snags incurred, even when putting on a brand-new pair, I saved all my pantyhose for one year. The amounted to 130! At an average of $4 per pair, that’s an expenditure of $520.

Men’s stockings, by comparison, cost an average of $6.50 (very generous figure) and I estimate annual purchase at 24 pairs (again, very generous estimate.) Total cost, based on these figures: $156.

That means a difference of $364 between good quality men’s hosiery and good-quality women’s hosiery. If I had that $364 to invest, and had done so last year, instead of spending it on pantyhose, I would have earned $25.48, based on 7% interest.

If I spent only what men spend on their hosiery, I would be $389.48 richer, today.

We all know the technology does exist for narrowing this gap between women’s and men’s hosiery usage. This is a cruel joke being played on American women and is the lowest form of discrimination — it penalizes by costing more for those who

earn less because of other forms of discrimination. Let’s see some responsible industry leadership. Everyone knows potential competition from manufacturers of run-less hosiery is being eliminated by the major brands. Some creative marketing and new fashion ideas could keep sales up, and would be a more acceptable way to spend money than on buy-offs of competitors with better products. Personally, I wouldn’t mind purchasing 130 pair a year if I did so for variety rather than because they were shoddy merchandise, which must be thrown away — only to clutter our landfills still more. The product, whether Hanes or a lesser-known brand, is unreliable as well as inferior. They may run easily, as we put them on, or they may last through two or three wearings.

Yes, I’m especially money -conscious; I’m a fiscally-conservative state treasurer. But I can afford this foolishness better than the average woman. What about the young woman today, trying to present a businesslike appearance on $1000 per month wages, children to support and a daycare center to pay?

If Hanes offered a strong, reliable product, from which I could expect a reasonable amount of wear, I would be a Lady who prefers Hanes for life.

Sincerely,

Lydia Justice Edwards

Idaho State Treasurer

Readers who agree with Ms. Edwards and want to relate their own experiences and suggestions can write to: Product Obsolescence, P. 0. Box 19312, Washington, DC 20036. Maybe, Ms. Edwards is the sparkplug needed for a consumer drive to make a runaway hosiery industry sober.

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