Thursday, July 8, 2010

Also, I don't get how hedonistic spendthrifts are different from superlatively decadent brand name status whores.

Conor Friedersdorf comments on the dilemma of an incoming summer associate who wonders whether bringing a $10,000 Hermes Birkin to her firm will look bad. I tend to doubt anyone would much notice or care. At the risk of stereotyping, certainly the straight guys wouldn't. I'd peg myself as at right around median levels of fashion consciousness for a female attorney -- I'm neither superlatively attuned to this stuff, nor extremely not -- and even I wouldn't know, just from glancing at a Birkin, how much one cost.

I had a cousin who worked for a year or two as a buyer at Bergdorf Goodman. She's worked in management at a number of large department stores and then landed at IBM doing software for retail stores. But before doing that, she was fairly good at securing scandalously expensive things for us at deeply discounted prices. If the young summer associate is asked, mumbling something about a relative in luxury retail could help.

Finally, Conor needs to lighten up re: his claim "[W]ere I ever confronted with a lawyer or an agent or some other professional carrying a small leather bag that cost $10,000, I’d immediately conclude that his or her value system is astonishingly perverted, and that he or she lacks the judgment, perspective and ordering of priorities necessary to do business of any sort with me." I doubt I'd spend that sort of money on a handbag even in the counterfactual world in which I had it. At the same time, expensive handbags can be lovely, lovely things, and who am I to impugn someone else who likes them even more than I do?

This may also be another data point supporting the "lawyers are too obsessive about reputation preserving" hypothesis.

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