That’s what a woman in Orem, Utah, did when she recently spend $567 at a local PacSun clothing store to snap up all the retailer’s tees featuring half-dressed women on them.
It appears that the particular line that the shopper has a problem with is the V/SUAL Heartbreakers from Van Style, which use photographs of women in lingerie on the shirts.
[CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the brand of shirt as V/SUAL Heartbreakers from Vans Style. The correct name is Van Style, a label that is in no way connected to the Vans apparel brand.]
The woman tells the Provo Daily Herald that she came across a window display for the new line and was not pleased with what she saw.
“I had a conversation with the store manager,” she explains. “She said she did refuse to put the accompanying banner up with the display because it was much worse, but that she couldn’t take down the T-shirts without talking to her corporate office, but the promo was over Wednesday anyway. She said she told them it might not go over well.”
Management at the mall, which does have a rule against vulgar displays, says that other customers had complained about the PacSun shirts.
“This is hard to police because of freedom of speech,” said the mall manager, who says it is up to the Orem city attorney to determine whether the display violates local obscenity ordinances.
“That sounds all well and good,” says the concerned shopper. “But why would they have to go to the city attorney when it’s obviously against the mall lease.”
And so she purchased $567 worth of the shirts, which she plans to return to the store for a refund one day before the return window closes.
“I hope my efforts will inspire others to speak up within their communities,” she tells the AP. “You don’t have to purchase $600 worth of T-shirts, but you can express your concerns to businesses and corporations who promote the display of pornography to children.”
Of course, this sort of effort also has a tendency to backfire. It’s unlikely that most people would have heard or cared about a limited run T-shirt collection at a 600-chain retailer without this story going public. PacSun may have to refund her the $576 when she returns the shirt, but she’s unintentionally given the store many thousands of dollars worth of free publicity.