The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!
My week has been pleasantly busy, with tasks and outings related to hosting a 15-year-old Japanese speech contest winner. And Monday, after he presented his speech on Bushido: The Samurai Moral Code, we spent a few hours downtown, as the teenagers shopped and did some sightseeing. Now you, as regular readers, know that time spent shopping downtown is about as usual for me as inviting ChemLawn over for a spray-fest. But not wanting to start an international incident, I shepherded the kids around, even ushering them into the downtown mall. (I consider this to be my ticket to heaven, as it was an entirely selfless task!)
The one store they seemed most excited about was a large Swiss department store that sells everything from shoes to slutty underwear. The joint was hopping, with loud rock music, prominent displays featuring supermodels attired head to toe in their merchandise, and store personnel with edgy piercings and Crayola hued dye jobs.
In other words, fashionista heaven.
But a closer look at the merchandise revealed that everything in the store looked like crap. The jewelry appeared about the same as gumball machine stuff, the towering heels were constructed from vinyl-esque material, the clothing was made with really thin fabric and the seams all looked wonky. And yes, everything was made in China, not Switzerland.
So yes, crap.
I looked around at the crowd of weekday shoppers, yet everyone seemed to be enjoying the illusion. And the phrase “Sell the sizzle, not the steak” began to swirl through my head.
Then I started to think about the Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. The story of a King, duped into believing in clothing that is only visible to the worthy. In the story, no one except a small child has the cojones to inform the king of his rather, ahem . . . nude status. I wanted to run an intervention with the people standing in line or at least scream “Does anyone else notice that everything in here is a piece of crap?!”
But then I took a deep breath, waited patiently while the Japanese teenagers made their purchases and then took everyone down to the food court.
And that night, I had a glass of wine.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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