How in the world did you know that I’d just started looking for a parka like this one? Something classy enough to wear to the city, long enough to keep my (excuse my non-French) bum warm, light enough to carry easily if I have to take it off inside a museum or in the hot lower levels of the subway, and warm enough so that I don’t have to wear four thousand layers under it? (Do I mind that it’s 60% down and 40% feathers instead of all down? Of course not. One does not look a gift horse in the mouth, let alone count its teeth.)
And how did you know that I lived in this little town, and shopped at this little Salvation A, and would decide that I just had to stop by after work on this particular half-price Wednesday mainly to check out the parka supply? How did you manage to keep all the hunters who beat me to the racks from seeing my parka?
Ralph, how did you find within yourself the depth of generosity required to send one of your 200-dollar-plus jackets to my little store—and then how did you, so far away in New York, manage to sneak that little 24.99 green tag onto my parka, knowing that green, besides being the color of hope, was one of the colors marked down to half-price yesterday?What made you brave enough to offer this gift, Ralph, even knowing that I generally consider your clothes too preppy for words? (Did someone tell you I can be incredibly open-minded where 200-dollar parkas are concerned?)
Dear, dear Ralph, it’s enough to make one believe in Santa again!
And speaking of Santa, I have a little idea for you, Ralph. How about if you play Santa, or St. Ralph of the Parka, or Reb Lifshitz the Good, and give a bunch of your parkas to thrift stores? Give thousands and thousands of people the same joy you gave me on a mid-December Wednesday. Except rig it so that people like me don’t get them, because for me thrifting is as much sport and indulgence of a passion for playing with clothes as a necessity.
But for way too many people in this supposedly rich country, thrifting is the difference between having anything, no matter how shabby, and having nothing at all. Hmmm. Maybe you should skip the thrift stores and just give them to homeless shelters and poor schools and clinics and senior centers. You could give back in the way your got rich: through fashion. Wouldn’t that be cool, Ralph?
You know I don’t begrudge you your 6.5 billion personal fortune, Ralph. You made it all yourself, as far as I can tell—humble immigrant beginnings and all that. But selling just one of the antique cars in your vast collection would yield enough bucks to put a lot of people in parkas. You could use the money to buy the parkas from yourself, so you wouldn’t really be losing even one thin dime!
And don’t worry about cheapening your brand, buddy. A gentleman’s a gentleman wherever he goes.
I know you already support a lot of important charitable stuff, Ralph. It’s just great that you’re preserving flags and renovating French museums and helping people with cancer get well and giving little kids a boost up with reading. And I know that if everybody taps a rich man he could turn into a poor man. But those kids and those cancer patients need warm coats, don’t they?
So c’mon, Ralph, put your money where those freezing people are. You’ll be adding a star to your crown and a warm and beautiful garment to their backs.
Best always and many thanks.
Categories: Look What We Found at the Thrift Store!