Today’s muse is a conversation I overheard while folding clothes last night at my part-time job. I work at J. Crew, which should give you an indication of the socio-economic situation of the customers with which I interact. I should also mention that I work at the downtown Baltimore location which is directly opposite the global headquarters for T. Rowe Price and Legg Mason, two of the world’s leading finance firms. PwC, Ernst Young, Reznick Group and a bunch of other financial, law and engineering firms are in the immediate area. Throw in its proximity to Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, the University of Maryland Hospital and graduate schools, multi-million dollar waterfront properties and lots and lots of Inner Harbor tourists and, well, you get my point. Two fairly young, but obviously professional women walk in.
Below is a paraphrased version of the conversation that ensued:
Girl #1: OMG, did you hear about what happened to Liza? Her house burned down and she’s staying in a Red Cross shelter.
Girl #2: Yeah, I feel really badly for her. I heard the office was taking a collection for her and her family.
Girl #1: I heard. I decided not to give though. (hold up a $250 cashmere cardigan) I don’t have extra money.
Me: (Looks up at her)
Girl #2: I know what you mean. People get themselves into situations and expect others to bail them out.
Me: (Looks at her)
Girl #2: (to me) It’s the truth.
Me: (Stares silently. Continues folding)
Girl #1: Now I feel bad.
Girl #2: I don’t. Isn’t there a Banana Republic nearby?