Extreme Shopping

Full disclosure: I live in a community that can be described as upscale, wealthy and privileged.  I, myself, do not fit into any of those categories, having spent most of my life as a public school teacher with down-to-earth values, and so I am often a bit shocked by what I see.  The town itself is beautiful – lots of pretty people, gorgeous houses and quite a few celebrities who make their home here, possibly the most famous is the late Paul Newman.  In fact, his daughter, Melissa, sings at a local jazz club in a restaurant within blocks of my house which is in a “working class” neighborhood of the town.

Since my value system is somewhat different from the denizens of my lovely town, I often “window shop” in the stores but rarely purchase anything, preferring to go to local malls where prices are more in keeping with my standards.  That said, I want to share my recent experience.

While walking and looking in windows, I noticed a lovely white summery eyelet blouse.  Having a weakness for that style, I walked in to check the price.  When I saw what they were asking for it, I asked the salesperson, “What is the fabric?” expecting her to give me some exotic form of material, perhaps Egyptian cotton of 800 threads? Finely spun gold?  I came away shocked and asked my husband to guess.  “$125,” said he, knowing we were in a fancy shop. “$345!,” I replied.

Is that craziness or what?  Convinced it was a fluke, I went to a few other stores to price some items I thought were cute.  A grey t-shirt, a gold sleeveless sweater, and a shapeless item the purpose of which eluded me.  The prices were respectively $85, $265 and $248.  The sum total of those 4 unremarkable pieces of clothing were equivalent to what my first car cost me.  Now, I know you’re thinking “well, you’re just so old!” but come on, a t-shirt (cotton) that costs $85??

So that’s my observation for today.  Do women really buy these items?  What kind of income must you have to easily afford such?  Am I missing something here?


  1. As juniors at Staples, we all read The Status Seekers by Vance Packard to help us grapple with the competition all around us, and it was far less then. Read Westport magazine. Its purpose is to encourage conspicuous consumption among Wall Street/Stepford wives to whom a $345 blouse is nothing. Many of the ads and articles are transparently manipulative. Thankfully, that’s just one segment of Westport

    • Thanks for reading, and I hope no one is offended by you “outing” my town!

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