I did an interview recently with a reporter from a major women’s publication who told me that when they ask readers for tips about shopping the number one response they get back is “I go to a great store, buy the perfect dress, take it home, don’t take the labels off, wear it to the event and then take it back to the store for a full refund.” There’s an article in yesterday’s edition of The New York Times about people going into Starbucks and getting a basic up of coffee and then going to the condiment bar and enhancing it up to mocca frappichino standards — for no additonal cost. A disk jockey I know says the worst part of his job is all the “theft-protection” packaging he has to wade through just to try out a CD the record company has sent him. It seems that in a culture in which “okay, available and cheap” is the standard, the best product is the free one, whether we have to borrow or steal it. I’m thinking about this as the unbearable narcissism of the market: I want what I want when I want it, and who cares what it costs — others.
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