I am at Walgreens – which I always thought of as a ‘drugstore’ – marveling at the denim shirts on sale for $12.99.
I am lost in fashion thought. These look awfully good. The label looks smartly Banana Republic-like. ‘RealGoodDenim,’ it reads, 100% cotton, made in China. It has what you intellectual property lawyers would call a good ‘look and feel.’
I am trying to decide whether I am Medium or Large, on the reasonable assumption that Walgreens has no dressing rooms to try things on (although it does have $9.99 football-size pink piggy banks and $99 four-page-a-minute computer-printers).
My cell phone rings.
‘Hi, where are you?’
It’s Charles. I explain that I am in front of this remarkable display of $12.99 denim shirts at Walgreens (grinning, as I imagine his reaction) and –
‘Do NOT buy clothes at Walgreens,’ Charles instructs.
‘But . . .’
‘Do NOT buy clothes at Walgreens,’ he repeats, a note of panic creeping into his voice. (After all, how I look is, vaguely, a reflection on him.) It is the same note of panic, more or less, coming from a different place, that inflects my voice when Charles shops at Prada. Socks, at Prada, cost thousands of dollars.
I hesitate. I am considering the ethics of the situation.
The shirts are, after all, only $12.99. And they are clearly $39 shirts. This is a powerful tug on my moral compass. But tug enough to risk making Charles angry? And would it really make him angry? And, in any event, can’t I just fib?
Charles senses my hesitation. He is a brilliant fashion designer. He knows style better than I know anything.
‘Promise me,’ he says one more time . . . slowly . . . ‘that you will not buy clothes at Walgreens.’
‘OK,’ I say, taking two shirts off the rack. Tomorrow, I plan to go back for more.
Quote of the Day
Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.~Teddy Roosevelt, 1902
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