Randy Cohen, the Ethicist of the NYTimes, received a letter about a man whose attractive wife often got free stuff from people working at stores. He wanted to know the ethics of this, and Cohen responded.
I don’t see why it’s so wrong to feel upset at someone “currying favor” with a married woman when it’s the husband upset about it. And I really don’t get why just because the person in question is female, men can’t have an opinion about it. I don’t even get why it’s an issue of gender at all.
Not sure of the answer to your questions, but I remember thinking when I originally read that column that the letter writer sounds like a tool that just wants to tell the world he has a hot wife. Not pertinent, I know, but I just think it’s interesting that we both found the article noteworthy.
In any case, the comments seem to think the same thing–that it’s less about “hot wife” and more likely to be that the wife is a klept or running up a huge secret credit card bill under the guise of “People just sneak stuff into my bag because I’m JUST THAT HOT!”
The letter is odd and brief. What is the dilemma, exactly? That she’ll hitch up her skirt while straddling the twins’ stroller? That she might be fencing stolen goods? And don’t most people trying to curry favor with someone make a point of, you know, not doing it secretly? I’ve had my fair share of casual admirers and usually they like for you to know you’re getting extra sprinkles (not a metaphor) because you’re so cute. I’ve never gotten canned goods, though, or clothing. Perhaps because the only straight guys I know who work in retail are damned stingy. Also, what? Free clothing? If she were a working model and people wanted her to be seen in their wares, maybe, but in general? Sounds odd.
Heh, he does seem kind of douchey. But is this a matter of hotness? I get free stuff all the time, and I’m a fairly average looking gal. I don’t walk into Macy’s and get free clothes (she apparently does, so maybe I would too if I were hot), but when I walk into small shops, I get all kinds of little extras. I just smile and say “Thank you,” and don’t give it much thought after that. I figure they’re nice because I’m nice.
That is really weird - I’ve never come home from shopping with extra free stuff I didn’t know I had in my bags (okay, maybe the odd time I’ve bought two pans and they were stuck together and the clerk didn’t realize it). I too vote “klepto, with naive husband.”
ETA: Heh, now I’m thinking of that Monty Python sketch with the marriage counsellor and Deirdre.
In the comments on the Broadsheet column, at least one other person came up with “shopaholic wife hiding her spending habits from her husband.” ‘Oh honey, I’m so gorgeous that people shower me with gifts.’ I’m voting for that or klepto.