Would You Knowingly Wear a Dead Man’s T-Shirt?

Imagine you bought a new T-shirt from your favorite department store. Sometime later, after you had worn it a couple of times, you discover that it wasn’t new. It once belonged to a man who is now deceased. Would you continue wearing it?

The question was prompted by a real-life scenario that recently played out in Scotland. According to Yahoo! News, a woman wearing a T-shirt purchased at a local department store was prompted to check the label after she found it itchy. What she found was amazing: a handwritten name along with the name of a hospital.

It turns out the woman didn’t think anything of what she found. She assumed maybe someone else had purchased the T-shirt and then returned it to the store soon thereafter. It wasn’t until after her friends encouraged her to run an internet search on the name that she discovered what she had.

A Reasonable Explanation

Without getting into all the details, the woman’s internet search revealed the name of a man who had died in 2020. Previous to his death, he had been hospitalized at Fraserburgh Hospital in Aberdeenshire. The handwriting on the T-shirt label bore his name and the name of the hospital, along with the ward he was housed in.

As for the department store that sold the woman the T-shirt, they insist there is likely a reasonable explanation. One possibility is that one of the man’s relatives purchased the T-shirt, expecting that he would wear it in the hospital. Such a scenario would require that the shirt be appropriately marked so that hospital workers would know who it belonged to. As the thinking goes, the T-shirt was returned because the patient never had occasion to wear it.

Another possibility is that the T-shirt was swapped out by a customer in the store’s dressing room. Store officials say this sort of thing happens all the time. A customer wears an old garment into the store, takes a new garment into the dressing room, and makes the switch. The old garment goes back to the rack without anyone being the wiser.

Wearing Used Clothing

That takes us back to the original question of whether you would wear a dead man’s T-shirt? Some people would, others would not. As for the Scottish woman, she was more concerned about how she ended up buying a returned shirt that she assumed was brand-new. Her question is a legitimate one.

What if she hadn’t purchased the shirt new? What if she had bought it from a thrift store instead? A thrift store purchase is almost guaranteed to have been worn by someone else. That person could be alive or dead. You wouldn’t really know, nor would it matter. If you are buying from a thrift store, you already have the expectation that your clothing choices were previously worn by someone else.

It is Completely Safe

Regardless of who owned a T-shirt previously, it is completely safe for someone else to wear the garment as long as it has been properly laundered. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter whether the T-shirt is a graphic T-shirt, with printed graphics and messages, or plain.

Graphics are applied to T-shirts using one of several different methods, explains the people behind the Umai anime apparel brand. Regardless of the chosen process, the application of ink to fabric doesn’t pose any inherent problems in terms of passing on used clothing to others.

The Scottish woman in the Yahoo! News story didn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that she wore a dead man’s T-shirt. Would you wear the shirt?

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