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Help! How to answer "where do you shop"

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have a job I really like in small (about 12 person) group within a large organization. A co-worker of mine is has some prejudices.

 

The significant one here is that he is particular about where clothes come from. He is very into clothes. He has his shirts tailor made. He's got oodles of money and he clearly likes having money. 

 

In contrast, I make okay money now, but I don't have lots. Over the years, I have honed by eBay and thrift store skills. Due in part to what I have learned from this forum, I do pretty well. My suits are typically Samuelsohn, Canali, Zegna, or the like. I usually get them on eBay for about 100 each, and spend about twice that getting one tailored to fit. Shoes and coats? eBay. Odd jackets and trousers? Thrift stores or eBay. Nevertheless, I wear stuff that's well-made, that fits, and that I take care of. 

 

The problem is that my co-worker likes to talk about clothes and asks things like, "Nice jacket, where did you get it?"

 

I fudge and say "uh, some department store". One time, I said, "My girlfriend got it for me." 

 

The other day, I thought the following outright lie would work for me. I said that I had gotten a sport coat from Macy's (actually, a Pendleton from eBay). He seemed to disapprove of Macy's. 

 

So, the question is, in the workplace, how do you hide that you are a thrifter if you feel the need? What is a suitable cover story? Or should I own it? Does anyone have any similar experiences?


Edited by zackhyde - 12/22/12 at 2:59pm
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by zackhyde View Post

I have a job I really like in small (about 12 person) group within a large organization. The boss of my group--who holds major influence over my future career--is a very bright, funny, and successful guy. He is also very conservative and has some prejudices.

The significant one here is that he is a real snob about where clothes come from. He is very into clothes. He goes to a London tailor to have his shirts made (we live and work in the U.S.). He's got oodles of money and he clearly likes having money. 

In contrast, I make okay money now, but I don't have lots. Over the years, I have honed by eBay and thrift store skills. Due in part to what I have learned from this forum, I do pretty well. My suits are typically Samuelsohn, Canali, Zegna, or the like. I usually get them on eBay for about 100 each, and spend about twice that getting one tailored to fit. Shoes and coats? eBay. Odd jackets and trousers? Thrift stores or eBay. Nevertheless, I wear stuff that's well-made, that fits, and that I take care of. 

The problem is that my boss likes to talk about clothes in meetings, out in the hall when several of us stop-and-chat, any time. And he often turns to me with something like, "Nice jacket, where did you get it?"

I have sheepishly waffled and said "uh, some department store". One time, I said, "My girlfriend got it for me." 

The other day, I though the following outright lie would work for me. I said that I had gotten a sport coat from Macy's (actually, a Pendleton from eBay). He practically jeered at me. Although he was being good-natured, he made it clear that he though there was something wrong with buying clothes at Macy's. 

I've taken his number, and I'm certain that if I told him I was wearing used clothes, he would practically never speak to me again. He would think of me as a second class of person. 

So, the question is, in the workplace, how do you hide that you are a thrifter if you feel the need? What is a suitable cover story? Or should I own it? Does anyone have any similar experiences?

what an asshole, sorry for you.

I don't thrift, but if one of my reports told me he did after I liked his clothes, I'd respect that.
post #3 of 15
If you travel much say something like.......'a little shop in (nsert city name here) I don't remember the name.'

Or, I order direct from the maker......

Send him a weblink or two to the maker's web sites.
post #4 of 15
My response to him would be, 'I thrift and wear the clothes of dead wealthy men, so stay healthy.'
Seriously though, only the truth will set you free. Your boss either has a large ego or a deep inferiority complex. He wants to 'win' , so let him.
Were it me, I would state the truth. All that can be concluded afterwards is the fact that you are a prudent and wise consumer who does not exceed his limitations, yet has an appreciation for the finer things in life. What he wears will cost most gents a small fortune. You have found a way to enjoy the same level of clothing and comfort at only a fraction of the price. if he is worth knowing, he will respect you and possibly offer you some of his unwanted things to help you. I have already now made my point but would like to add this; to be a good liar means you have to have a good memory. Sooner or later you will slip up. Also, he can afford a lifestyle that comes with those clothes whereas you may live in a small flat and take public transit to work. One way or another, it will be revealed that you cannot compete and he will test you on this just for fun. This is why honesty is truly the best policy. For what it is worth, that is how I see it.
post #5 of 15

I don't know your boss, but it sounds like you overreacting. He may jab at you about where you shop, but I doubt that he'll "never speak to you again." He gave you a compliment on your jacket, so, unless you left out the condescending tone, you're fine. He already knows that you shop at Macy's. You're "the Macy's guy" now. Live with it. If he's as serious about clothes as you say, then the fact that you're into style and can have those conversations could help you gain a few political points.

post #6 of 15
Just tell him Ebay. You don't have to tell them they're used.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by KObalto View Post

Just tell him Ebay. You don't have to tell them they're used.

 

I don't know much about Ebay, and if his boss is anything like me, then he probably assumes that Ebay usually means "used."

post #8 of 15

Help! How to answer "where do you shop" from snob boss

Tell him you buy them on SF. There are some people who will turn up their nose after hearing the garment they just complimented was thrifted or purchased on eBay. Only you know for sure what the downside may be if you tell him the truth. Fact is though, the truth is always the best choice if you don't care about his reaction. If you are worried, tell him you buy them new on Bay or SF or at sample sales or (insert legitimate & plausible source here). I probably would not tell the snob you thrifted them.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post


what an asshole, sorry for you.
I don't thrift, but if one of my reports told me he did after I liked his clothes, I'd respect that.

 

This, x100. 

 

Sorry your boss put you in that position. I have a higher up in my firm (in NYC) who did the same thing, but then seemed genuinely interested in and respectful of the fact that I turn a profit wardrobing myself (eBay, etc.).  

post #10 of 15

What do you guys think of "It's mostly vintage?"

 

I'll say that to people who I suspect would wrinkle their noses at the words "thrift shop." God knows I've seen "vintage boutiques" selling clothes that are newer than and not as nice as the gear I've gotten at Goodwill...

 

There's also the "Oh, this is from Zegna/PRL/what have you" line, which I wouldn't use (sounds like bragging), but which might work for somebody in the OP's shoes.

 

Most of the time, of course, I just lay it out plain.

post #11 of 15

I don't get why you are compelled to lie. Why can't you say 'I bought this from ebay/thrift store.'? Why are you ashamed of where you get your clothes from? I honestly think you should examine why you have issue telling the truth, and why you feel inferior, then you'll figure out how to answer your coworker's questions.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alphataru View Post

I don't get why you are compelled to lie. Why can't you say 'I bought this from ebay/thrift store.'? Why are you ashamed of where you get your clothes from? I honestly think you should examine why you have issue telling the truth, and why you feel inferior, then you'll figure out how to answer your coworker's questions.

The OP (see as quoted by Globetrotter) I think explains his "issue" a little better.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alphataru View Post

I don't get why you are compelled to lie. Why can't you say 'I bought this from ebay/thrift store.'? Why are you ashamed of where you get your clothes from? I honestly think you should examine why you have issue telling the truth, and why you feel inferior, then you'll figure out how to answer your coworker's questions.

 

This is an issue worth considering, but if OP had the backbone to do that, he wouldn't be in this situation.

post #14 of 15
Why hide it? Be proud. Say "this tie retails at $125 - I paid 2 bucks for it at the goodwill. 2 bucks!"
post #15 of 15
There is no shame in being thrifty and spending within your means. I have much more respect for people who spend wisely within their means than those who spend recklessly.
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