I know a guy who recently spent $1,200 on a scarf. (His rationale? “It was reduced from $3,000.” He actually said this.) Here’s what I recently got for $1,200:

  • One blue Fioravanti suit
  • One gray Ungaro suit
  • One brownish-gray Nino Cerutti suit
  • One black Ungaro suit
  • Two belts
  • Free alterations
  • Eleven hundred thirty-six frequent flier miles
  • $63.38 in change

Yes, I got a little carried away. I can’t honestly tell you I sit here typing all day in a suit.

And, yes, when I got them home, one of the suits was not a hit. “I don’t like black suits,” said Charles, who, to my relief, liked the others.

But here’s the great part. I had forgotten to buy a tux — that’s what I needed, a tux! — and after squinting at the situation for a minute with a designer’s eye, Charles told me to give him the black suit. Next thing you know, it had black satin stripes on the pants and the collar — voilà! My new tuxedo.

Now, you may think I got all this fine loot so cheap because, having given Men’s Suits a plug or two over the last year, Men’s Suits wanted to do me a favor. Not so. I actually make a point of trying to avoid that sort of thing. When out of the blue two ostrich eggs arrived unsolicited from the ostrich people a while back, one broken, I did not return them — who has time to be that incorruptible? — but I’ve paid for every pound of ostrich meat I’ve consumed, paid for every fat-free cheesecake, paid for all my suits. The alterations were free because, it seems, with even the suggestion of negotiation, all the alterations at Men’s Suits wind up being free.

Indeed, it was not until he had run my credit card through the cruncher that — displaying a copy of my book — I asked (couldn’t resist):

“Have you seen your plug?”

“What plug?” the manager asked.

“Page 159,” I allowed, handing him the book.

“Hey, Harry! Come look at this!” he called to someone who almost surely wasn’t named Harry but whose real name I forget.

“You should give a free book with each suit,” I suggested helpfully.

“Hey, Raoul! Come look at this!” he called animatedly to someone who almost surely wasn’t named Raoul, wisely ignoring my suggestion.

So, OK; when they connected the face on the book to the face with the credit card they threw in free delivery. But that’s as far as it went. And inasmuch as I now have enough suits and tuxes for at least five more years, it’s not likely to go further any time soon.


And now for an unrelated but important Public Service Announcement:

Please: Drive VERY carefully tomorrow night. (And at all other times as well.) I need all the healthy readers I can get. Seat belts save lives; driving defensively saves more; plastic surgery is no fun; there are tens of thousands of tragically serious accidents each year — and not a single one was expected by the drivers involved.

Don’t drive too fast, leave PLENTY of room between you and the car in front of you, NEVER drive when you’re too sleepy or have been drinking.



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