Monday, June 04, 2012

If You've Ever Shopped At A Factory Outlet, Read This

Six degrees of separation long ago shrank to three; these days, the connections are so profound it isn't difficult to see how everyone's related, if only by common interest:

A few weeks ago, I decided to take my last pair of Dexter hiking boots to a local consignment store where I shop frequently.  I wore "Dexxies" faithfully as my primary shoes for years; when I purchased this last pair around 2003, I bought several at once, since the Dexter outlet was closing — and even the main store in Dexter, Maine was going out of business. As a consequence, I never wore them; they just accumulated dust on a closet floor, as my shoe tastes evolved. I live "lightly" in terms of possessions, and finally it was time to pass these still-new beloved boots along for someone else to love. So I consigned them.

Today, while reading The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain by Gene Cohen, MD, PhD (one of myriad books on positive aging I peruse both for client projects and personal interest) I was astonished to discover, in a section on late-life philanthropy, that the founder of the Dexter Shoe Company, Henry Alfond, was the author's wife's great-uncle! Alfond is also credited with creating the first factory outlet store. Originally intended to sell "factory seconds," or slightly damaged goods that could not be sold at retail, Alfond soon expanded the outlet concept to include first quality merchandise from previous seasons. Other retailers began mimicking his model, and soon factory outlet stores sprang up across the country. From there, it was a small leap to factory outlet malls.

Unfortunately, in 1993, a year shy of his 80th birthday, Alfond sold the company to one of its many suitors, Berkshire Hathaway; eight years later, Warren Buffet folded Dexter and its affiliates into another business. Hence, the demise of my favorite shoe company and outlet store. (Buffet later admitted this was "the worst deal I've made.")

Coda: when I learned my consigned Dexters had not sold as of this morning, I opted to keep them and enjoy one final romp in Dexxies, for however long they may last. These boots were made for walkin', and that's just what they'll do…

So keep your mind and heart open to unexpected connections in unimagined places; when they find you, it engenders a cozy feeling of all-one — which of course we are.

No comments: