Tag Archives: shopping

Cheap clothing, pirates and Keynesian economics

20 Jun

I sifted through tons of email recently, and I realize a lot of the questions recur. Therefore, I’ll share my answers here should these same questions be causing you sleepless nights.

Dear Ron,

My teenage daughter drives me bonkers. She keeps using “Me” rather than “I” to start sentences. Just today, she said, “Me and Jill are going to Forever 21.” Arrgh! No matter how often I correct her, she still uses “Me.” I don’t know what to do.

Apoplectic Mom


Dear Apo-Mom,

You’re worried about grammar when your daughter shops at Forever 21? A part of her soul dies – plus a Bangladeshi textile worker or two – every time she transacts business at that store. (See also Abercrombie & Fitch.) Still, you asked a straightforward question, which deserves a feeble answer.

Your daughter is a pirate. This is the only way to explain such a sentence structure. The Pirate Speech Code of 1793, still in force today, requires its members to use “Me” at the front of at least half of all sentences. “Me” should be used liberally elsewhere in the sentence as well. Here’s a typical pirate statement:  “Me britches is a bit tight today, Matey. Methinks me should switch to Cobb salads before me thighs begin to look like tree trunks.”

If you’re still in doubt, it’s also well-known that pirates supplement their wardrobes at stores where the average customer age is thirteen and the employee age is sixteen.

To maintain your sanity, as well as your relationship with your daughter, try to show some solidarity. When the next Talk like a Pirate Day comes along, start a few sentences with “Me.” Better yet, do so while browsing the clearance table at Forever 21. It will bring the two of you closer together.


Dear Sir,

I gather from that last letter you do not take grammar seriously. I suppose you also have no qualms about ending a sentence in a preposition.

Grammar Cop

Dear Grammy,

I am so happy about that up which you have brought. Strict grammar is not something of which I would ever take lightly. There are no sentences of which I can think that would sound better if the preposition were at the end.  I would agree that high standards of grammar can be hard up with which to live. However, I am committed to meeting those standards upon which others have devoted their lives.


Dear Mr. Smith

As a Neo-Keynesian, I have a real issue with Post-Keynesian economics vis-à-vis the concept of a full employment rate. I posit that if we adjust wages and enact more rigid price controls, full employment is possible. What do you think?

Not my real name

Dear NMRM,

Why yes, I would be happy to show you a picture of my lunch.


That’s not what I asked about.


Look! A kitty!



Mr. Smith,

 Where do you see yourself in ten years?

 Human Resources Manager

Dear Human,

The same place I see myself now, in the bathroom, where the mirror is. I don’t want to put a mirror anyplace else. That would be more than I could take. I caught a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror at a clothing store recently. I was on my way to find the store manager to alert her to the disheveled old fart who looked a little suspicious, if not completely creepy. Then I realized it was me. It frightened me to think that’s what others around me see every day. (I am sorry to all of you.)  I don’t mind the mirror in the bathroom because it takes my eyes a little while to focus in the morning, and I can’t see myself clearly. I occasionally miss a spot or two when I shave, but I just tell my wife it’s a new look I’m trying.


Dear Bad Person,

I am outraged by your earlier reference to Forever 21. I buy all my tanks and bustiers there. When they disintegrate a week later, I go back to get more. I would be lost without my favorite place to shop, plus I keep countless textile workers in Asia employed at five rupees a day. I demand an immediate apology. If not, I will see to your immediate firing from whatever job you hold, if it is even possible for the likes of you to be employed.

Outraged Forever 21 Fan


Dear F21F,

I am truly sorry that you’re outraged.

That’s not a real apology. I’m still outraged.


If you or anyone like you was in any way offended by my earlier comments, it was not my intention to offend. If my comments were misconstrued to be offensive, I apologize for that occurrence of misconstruing.  I hope my future comments will be judged on their own merit, on face value, and will not cause needless offense to certain individuals or groups who may be sensitive to such things.


P.S. …. I just had a thought on which both post- and neo-Keynesians might agree: If we didn’t demand someone get fired every time we’re outraged/offended, perhaps that would solve the unemployment issue.

If the pants fit

27 Jul

When I was a kid, my grandpa showed up at our house one day wearing wrinkled brown pants that looked as though they’d been cut from a gunnysack. He was awfully proud of his find. “Got them at a store where you buy your clothes by the ounce,” he said. “Got about three pounds worth.”

I swore then that if I ever shopped at a clothing store that had a scale at the checkout counter, it was time to put me in The Home. I think that time is coming.
While walking through a mall the other day, I spotted a gigantic sign in a men’s store window that said “Clearance/70% Off/Come in NOW. I used to buy pants only when I needed them. Now I buy them when a giant store sign orders me to.

This was one of those hip young men’s stores where the sales associates, who all look like Brad Pitt’s distant cousins, have to yell above the blaring dance music. I departed that target market years ago. As I entered, I half expected to see a bouncer at the front door checking IDs. “Sir, just keep walking. Sears is in the North Wing.” But 70% off is a powerful lure. So, I elbowed up alongside other much younger customers. While they rifled through a pile of size 28 slacks, I stood alone at the normal-waist-size where I quickly found a pair in the correct length.

Regularly $50, the slacks were on sale that day for $15. I usually hate to try on pants in the store, but something told me I should take an extra minute to test the fit of these slacks, considering they were meant for a man half my age. I ventured further into the bowels of the store to find the dressing room. I asked the pretty young woman working there if it was OK to try on the pants. “Sure,” she said with an overload of perk. But I knew what she was thinking: “Those pants? In your dreams, old man.”

Since the pants technically were my exact size, they should have fit me perfectly, right? No way. They were lacking in nether region space. Extremely lacking. In fact, the pants were apparently designed for men with no nethers at all. I wasn’t sure if I could sit comfortably in the slacks, or even walk in them. These days, lots of pants come in styles called Easy Fit, Relaxed Fit, and Classic Fit. They’re really talking about the crotch fit.

Women worry about things sagging. Men have to worry about it, too. It’s time to add another dimension to the size of men’s slacks. Waist. Inseam, and now Crotchal area. Instead of inches, maybe we could be diplomatic and just go with a guys’ age range. “34 x 34 x 45? You sir, need to step over to our low hanging fruit section.”

Did I buy the pants? You bet. Seventy percent is a seventy percent, even though I had to walk with a limp.

P.S. Get more of my writing, including free short stories, at Smashwords.