Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dog doo and fancy duds

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote: "The very rich ... are different from you and me." He sure got that right. For one thing, they have servants. And sometimes, the relationship between employer and employee sours. Such is the case with NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and his former housekeeper, Maria Jimenez, who claims in a lawsuit that she had to quit her job because of the intolerable and humiliating conditions of her employment. The case centers mainly on Jimenez' allegations that Bryant's wife, Vanessa, is a raging (pick a word that rhymes with ditch). One specific instance of alleged mistreatment cited by Jimenez' lawsuit centered on the ex-housekeeper's handling of one of Mrs. Bryant's blouses. Jimenez said Vanessa Bryant accused her of ruining an expensive blouse by putting it in a clothes washer. Jimenez alleges that Mrs. Kobe then demanded that she put her hand into a bag of doggie doo in order to retrieve the price tag for the blouse and insisted that she work until her next payday to cover the cost of the blouse. Now, the whole doggie doo thing is interesting enough, and I wondered how the tag and the doo came to be in the bag together, but what caught my eye in the AP story on the lawsuit was the cost of this piece of clothing: $690. I'm all for letting people spend their own money as they see fit (though I'm guessing Mrs. Kobe gets her money from Mr. Kobe, and as much of it as she wants in the wake of that messy little sexual assault case that included Mr. Kobe's admission of adultery), but does anybody really need a $700 piece of clothing? Couldn't Mrs. Kobe have found a lovely frock for $100 and maybe used the other $600 to help an adult literacy program or a food kitchen? Perhaps the Bryants already give generously to charities, but my point is that it just seems wrong somehow to fork over that much money for a shirt. I'm far from perfect in this regard. I've spent tens of thousands of dollars on cigarettes and adult beverages over the years, and I could certainly live more frugally. But I've never been one to spend a lot of cash on clothes. Ask anyone who's ever seen my wardrobe. I'm guessing that in the area of everyday clothing, the most I've ever spent for a single item is probably $50 for a pair of shoes. How about you folks? Not counting a dress suit or wedding dress or some such special-occasion clothing, what's the most you've spent on a single item for your wardrobe?



Blogger {cher} said...

aw hell.. don't get me started. you're talking to a chick that had her prom dress handmade and her wedding dress cost her $50! i can be frugal to a fault!!

thinking back i think the most i've ever spent only one article of clothing was $150 for a leather jacket. i'm a cheap ass! then again, i still donate time and money to numerous charities. for that $600 blouse, i could get my entire summer wardrobe at Ross's and Payless and given the rest to a buy things for Toys for Tots.

as far as "ditch", i'd rather be "blunt".. lol

March 26, 2009 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Ellipses said...


That said, I have owned a number of articles of clothing that had an initial price north of 100... but as we all know... clothing is NEVER full price :-)

So... shoes are normally 70-100 bucks when I need a new pair of "big boy" shoes...
I don't really shop for myself anymore (thanks, wife)... but when she is getting me a pair of everyday shoes, I tell her some ridiculously low price to not go over...
wife: "How much do you want me to spend on your shoes?"
me: "Try to keep it under 12 dollars."
wife: "click..."


Non-shoe, non-suit upper price range is probably about 60 bucks... That's probably for jeans back when I was all in shape and looked good in clothes...

Burlap is good enough for me now.

March 26, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's reported that G.B Shaw responded to Fitzgerald's quote by saying, "Yes ... they have more money."

March 26, 2009 at 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For an example of over-the-top spending on clothes, check out the Styles section of the NY Times one of these Sundays.

They periodically have features on kids clothes that'll set you back hundreds of dollars. I think anyone who spends $495 for a sweater for a 9-month-old has way, way, way too much cash in the sock drawer. Until kids get their own allowance, or move beyond the drooling and spitting-up stage, clothes from Wal-Mart or Kmart will do.

--Brad Hundt

March 27, 2009 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Brant said...

That kind of spending on clothing - whether for adults or kids - just screams "Look at me! Look at me!" Narcissism at its worst.

March 27, 2009 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger PRIguy said...

I spent almost $300 for a suit right out of college. I had an interview with Phillip Morris and I wanted to look good.

I didn't get the job. I gained weight, and for the next interview I landed, I planned on wearing that same suit. When I put it on, I looked like Chris Farley.

I have spent up to $70 on work shoes, but that was more of an investment in my feet. I had to wear steel-toed shoes anyway, but a higher quality shoe meant that standing on a cement floor for 12-hour shifts wouldn't devastate my feet.

And I've seen Brant's wardrobe. He ain't lying.

March 29, 2009 at 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably $150 for shoes. I haven't bought a suit for at least 10 years because I don't wear one. Yesterday I saw a pair of $185 Levi's. That's why I'm gonna be cremated and have no viewing when I'm dead -- I can't afford the corpsey wardrobe.

March 30, 2009 at 10:40 AM  

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