8 years ago: The problem with Marshall’s

October 26, 2005, here on slacktivist: The problem with Marshall’s

Consider the Polo logo — the little horse-and-rider symbol proudly worn on the left breast of the prodigal. You can easily find a well-made Oxford shirt for $20 or less. You can get a bona fide, Made-in-America by union workers, Oxford shirt for around $45. Or you can spend way more than that for the same style and quality shirt, except with a little horsey guy on it.

Seeing someone wearing such a shirt was a clear signal that here was a fellow who, with $60 or so in his pocket, couldn’t think of anything better to do with that money than to “upgrade” to the shirt with the little horsey guy. “A fool and his money are soon parted,” the logo proclaimed. “And I am such a fool.”

This was a useful signal to the rest of us. It informed us that the wearer was not just selfish, but proudly so, and thus perhaps not due the usual deference paid to others as part of the give-and-take of human society. For those of a more entrepreneurial bent, the horsey guy also helped to distinguish an easy mark.

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