It’s an annual event when I come east in August. My mother and sister and I take a drive from my mother’s house to her nearby Neiman Marcus store and browse the racks. And every year I say the same thing: You could roll a bowling ball down the aisles and not hit anyone.
I know the economy is in the tank, but I keep hearing how well the high-end stores are doing. If so, how come it always looks as if nobody’s shopping? Seriously, there were more salespeople roaming around saying, “Can I help you?” than customers.
What’s more, the store wasn’t exactly overflowing with merchandise. When I asked the Ralph Lauren lady if she had a certain leather jacket in my size (it was so gorgeous and so insanely expensive and so not coming home with me), she said, “We don’t order much the way we used to, so we don’t have to send a lot of merchandise back to the manufacturers.” It all reminded me of the book business. Publishers aren’t printing as many books and stores aren’t ordering as many; nobody wants to get stuck with “overage.”
Anyhow, back to my shopping expedition. The first item I spotted was a sweater. And not just any sweater. It was a sweater to die for – one of those cashmere numbers that you wrap yourself in, like a blanket. And it was in the color I adore.
Yes, caramel. Maybe a little less orange than what’s in the pic, but delicious nonetheless.
I was in love.
But I kept browsing – up a floor, down two floors, and back up to the floor with The Sweater.
I tried it on, enveloped myself in it. It was so soft and it fit me perfectly. The problem was the price tag.
I put it back on the hanger and kept moving.
I spent the rest of the trip looking at other merchandise but always coming back to The Sweater and trying it on. I should add that by this time my sister had tried it on too, and we both agreed it was a keeper. (I won’t even begin to describe the look on the face of the saleslady, who tried to be patient with us but was so eager for the sale that she was practically drooling.)
In the end, my sister and I both wound up getting The Sweater, each in our own size. My mother didn’t buy anything, but I have no doubt she’ll be back when she doesn’t have to put up with us.