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Consumerist points to Kelly Loudenberg’s video about the “shopdropping” a recent workshop with our friends from Eyebeam

Shopdropping is a tactic used by artists and activists to clandestinely place altered or recreated objects into retail stores. Handmade labels were printed out for students to color, cut, and paste. The project featured real people who make the products, their name, and sometimes even a story. The intent is to reconnect the labor with the product.

Travelistic: Culture Jamming 101: ShopDropping – Link (video).


14 thoughts on “ShopDropping

  1. BrK says:

    I like the idea of placing fake products in stores.

    The whole “pity the worker that made this product” angle just seems a little tired to me. Most people know that the average assembly-line workers around the world aren’t exactly living as upper-class citizens. We, as consumers, often indicate with our wallets that we’re not willing to pay the prices required to support better wages for these workers.

    So, we get it already. I think that expecting things like this to make any real impact on the world is kind of a fruitless effort. You’d be better off sending the costs associated with creating these labels directly to the poor boy working in the lightbulb making factory.

  2. afaust says:

    what? but then the artists wouldn’t get to feel all that smug self-righteousness!

    no really. it’s called culture jamming, therefore it’s good. which means i can deface whatever i feel like, in the name of…uh, whatever pisses me off, right?


  3. -soapy- says:

    True, this would have more effect if it flashed and swore, but you might get arrested for making a hoax device.

    Anyway, every little helps. Don’t forget, you aren’t a sheep, you can and do think without being forced! Most sheeple aren’t like that. They need reminding, if they even knew in the first place.

  4. jswilson64 says:

    So how long before people find these in stores and call the bomb squad?

  5. SteveLambert says:

    It’s not about creating guilt or pity, although that may be a side effect for some. This project is about reminding people that these products didn’t just appear on the shelves or fall down from the sky by magic. There is labor behind everything. We were very careful about wording the text on the packages so it wasn’t one sided, for example we were careful to avoid making it sound as if these workers lives were horrible and it was you, the consumer’s, fault.

    In regards to having a real impact, it depends on what you consider real. We don’t expect this project to reverse gloablization, correct the discrepensies in wages, or somehow turn back what consumerism has done since the industrial revolution. But, placing these messages in the market – where these products are sold to people – seems like the best place for them to go. Retail environments are highly planned and controlled. Reading the text and seeing an image in that space may slow someone down or prompt some thought in a place where thoughtful consideration isn’t encouraged. We think that can have an impact.

    Also, as you can read on our site, Amanda has been in Guatamala and El Salvador part time for the past 3 years doing work in these areas. This project is just one aspect of our lives and one way we intend to have a positive impact.

    There is no damage of any products with this project.

    If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact us though the site. We are happy to provide answers and look forward to hearing from you.

  6. MikeCat says:

    The Fair Trade system has had a positive effect on the rural coffee farmers due in part to consumer awareness.

    The companies need to make the move towards fair dealings with thier labor groups. Consumers can vote with their wallet, but how do I know that just because I paid more, the laborer gets a better shake?

    Labeling this sort of thing would be helpful. Manufacturers do a half-assed job already with the whole “made in china” vs “made in usa” type of thing, so why not go whole-hog and give out more info on how the workers stack up against their brethren?

    Call me bleeding-heart hippie if you must, but better labor conditions for everyone is a good thing, no matter if you are a truck driver, a shirt maker, soccer mom, or industrial capitalist. It might hurt short-term growth but always has proven to help stabilize industry in the long run.

  7. patriot says:

    Communism on the rise…

    Just listen to these people. Do they even sound remotely reasonable?

    They are not “anarchists” they are communists. Ship them off to another country and tell them to take their subversive political “art” with them.

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