Beliefnet
Everyday Ethics

bridesmaid dress.jpgMy brother’s wedding is right around the corner, and what do you know, I’m a bridesmaid. Luckily, my fantastic sister-in-law-to-be chose a great dress for her bridesmaids (thank you!), which is very wearable and wasn’t too expensive either. Just another sign he’s marrying the right person–yay! So, I snipped the tags off the minute I tried it on, no worries. I know I’ll get a lot of use out of this basic-black cocktail dress.

Last year, however, at another wedding, that wasn’t the case. 
A girl I barely knew but couldn’t offend for political reasons invited me to her black-tie wedding at the last minute. My husband and I scrambled to buy gifts and get him a tux (thank you, ebay!) and me a dress. Now, I don’t wear fancy clothes a lot–I’m a Dansko clogs and jeans kind of girl–so a frou-frou frock appropriate for her 200k-plus wedding would not only set me back a bit but be useless in my daily life. Heck, I got my own wedding dress for like $200 on ebay.
Anyhow, I bought something appropriate. But I left the tags on so I would have the option to return it the next day.

The night of her nuptials, even as I made sure not to get wedding cake or pit stains on the frock, I wondered, is what I’m doing ethical? Isn’t this kind of like making Bergdorfs or Bloomies a lending library? Isn’t it one thing to buy something and later realize you don’t like it or it doesn’t fit and take it back; quite another to make a purchase in the full knowledge that you have no intention of keeping it? Aren’t the ethics in the intent?
I know a lot of people do it–I think there was even a Sex In the City episode to that effect– but in the end, I decided not to. It just felt wrong to me. 

What do you think? Does it seem wrong to you?
By the way, that ridiculously frilly dress is still hanging in my closet, collecting dust. Anyone want to invite me to a chi-chi party?
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