T-shirt slogans for hard times: Ideas for your web T-shirt store
It is cheap and simple to start your own online T-shirt store, but what would you put in it? Here we think up some T-shirt slogans for bad economic times.
One way we writers can earn extra income is by opening T-shirt stores at print-on-demand web sites. We don't necessarily need to be graphics designers. T-shirts are in the self-expression market: we can just put a statement on the T-shirt that expresses the attitudes and feelings of our customers.
In this recession, a lot of customers will want to express hostility. A lot of people are out of work and feeling worthless. A lot of people are upset at the cost of health care. A lot of people are upset at the loss of health care. A lot of people are angry that the people who failed are the ones getting the bailouts. A lot of people are angry at bankers. A lot of people are angry at corporate executives' salaries, benefits, and bonuses. A lot of people are angry at the rich getting the tax breaks.
How do you write T-shirt slogans about these resentments? The process is much like writing comedy routines. You search through many mental associations to find ideas to work with. You search for specifics, for concrete things. You look especially for conflicts and ironies.
Here are some ideas for T-shirts for people who are out of work:
You can address the feelings of worthlessness: "Out of work? Don't feel worthless. Let the bankers feel worthless."
Here's a lead in: "The financial crisis makes me feel like such a failure..." How would you end it? Maybe: "...I haven't even caused one bank failure." "... I haven't even fired one person." "... I've never yet caused a world-wide economic meltdown." "... The only investor's retirement I've lost was mine."
Then there's the acknowledgement of being out of work: "My company decided they could go bankrupt without me." Or one of the cliches: "I'm managing my wealth." "I've left to spend more time with my family."
I made up some calling cards listing my occupation as "Gentleman." On T-shirts, you might have a slogan: "I'm a gentleman*" or "The economy has elevated me to a gentleman*". And a footnote: "*gentleman: someone who pursues no occupation or profession for money."
And there are the acknowledgements of the job-hunting life: "I'm job-hunting on the Internet. I'm a whiz at Freecell"
And you can always resort to hyperbole -- I hope it is hyperbole: "In these economic times, I'm simplifying my life to what will fit in two shopping bags."
It's a good time for class resentment: "My boss has a golden parachute. Mine is lead." "We all have our social causes: the rich firmly oppose class warfare." "If you don't let CEOs loot their own companies, whose company will they loot?" "We need the rich. Who else will build the McMansions?" For those who remember trickle-down economics, there's: "Tinkle-down economics -- give money to the rich, and they will tinkle down on the rest of us." And to pick on the bankers: "Bankers getting bonuses? So what? They've got to do something with that money and they're not lending."
Of course you could apply some irony: "Thank goodness the rich still have their tax cuts. After I get my job back, get my health care back, get my home back, I'll be looking for one of those tax cuts."
Speaking of health care: "We used to be wage slaves. Now we're health-care slaves." How about these: "We've got choice in health care: we can choose to see a doctor, or buy medicine, or pay our rent, or buy groceries." "We've got choice in health care: The Health-care companies can choose whether to insure us and how much to charge." Or: "Say 'No!' to socialized medicine. Make it your choice which doctor you can't afford to see."
And of course, you can go for a more pervasive cynicism: "Don't even think of applying for a bailout if your failure cost less than $10 billion." "The American economy: if you're not too big to fail, you're too small to succeed." "Why aren't the American people too big to fail?" "Politics -- replacing American know-how with know-who."
These are some ideas for slogans you can put on T-shirts. I'll bet you already have an idea of how to do them better and ideas for more. Go to it. I'll be putting some of them on T-shirts myself, but I'll give you a head start.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you'd like to learn about opening your own T-shirt store, go to the How-To-Shirts web site to get a document giving an overview of what it takes. Dr. Christopher teaches classes in how to be witty. He is the proprietor of several print-on-demand T-shirt shops.