You Can't Shop Anywhere


The founder of IKEA — which once seemed like the most wholesome of all multinational companies — was apparently a Nazi. At this point, basically every retail chain is tainted with some sort of scandal. Here’s a helpful guide.


According to the Telegraph, a new book reveals that founder Ingvar Kamprad was a member of the Swedish Nazi party, and that he once wrote that he “misses no opportunity to work for the movement.” But it’s okay — he totally had a Jewish friend!


A Brazilian newspaper reports that manufacturers for the clothing retailer keep employees in de facto slavery. According to the LA Times,

In Sao Paolo, migrants primarily from Bolivia — including minors and undocumented immigrants — were found to be producing Zara clothes in sweatshops with poor ventilation and hygiene and unacceptable fire risks. Workers were being paid a little more than $1 for jeans that would eventually retail at more than $100, and some were locked into paying their wages to human traffickers who smuggled them into the country, reports said.

Zara’s parent company calls this “unauthorized outsourcing,” which is especially sinister.

Urban Outfitters

This purveyor of shit with states on it has been accused of copying an independent jewelry designer. Also, founder Richard Hayne donated $13,150 to the Santorum campaign. Oh, and the company sold t-shirts bearing unlicensed and sexualized photos of an underage model.


The company that sells you all your toilet plungers, laundry hampers, and impulse-grab boxes of generic Pop Tarts also donated $150,000 to an anti-gay gubernatorial candidate. Luckily, there are some alternative places to get your housewares and miscellany.

Forever 21

This chain has been accused of ripping off designers, intimidating critics, and violating labor laws. One former employee described her working conditions thus: “$4 per hour working 10 hours a day 6 days a week in a factory with no running water and no bathroom.”

American Apparel

Allegations against this seller of garish cottons include lying about its models, hiring and promoting based on attractiveness, and producing financial reports that were “full of shit.” Oh, and there’s this:

Soon enough, he loosens his Pierre Cardin belt. […] thus begins another compulsive episode of what Dov likes to call self pleasure, during which we casually carry on our interview, discussing things like business models, hiring practices and the stupidity of focus groups.

Whole Foods

The million-dollar-mushroom merchant drew fire last winter for basing its employee discounts partly on BMI. Also, its CEO is against universal healthcare and once compared labor unions to herpes.

And there you have it. If you need me, I’ll be fashioning myself a shift out of leaves and twigs before I go out to forage for dinner.

IKEA Founder ‘Was Nazi Recruiter’ [Telegraph]
Zara Contractor In Brazil Accused Of Slave Labor [LA Times]

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