As P.G. Wodehouse used to point out, it’s imperative that you introduce the characters before you go into the narrative; otherwise your readers are left wading around in a morass of confusion.  So, in that spirit, let me introduce online store A – an independent boutique, stocked with an interesting array of designers and well-chosen pieces that are highlighted by the styling; styling so good that almost every item inspires a pang of longing and even lesser articles encourage a second look.  Online store B is a behemoth, with a mass of logo-emblazoned designer goods on offer and styling so uninspired that even the most lust-worthy items appear slightly lack luster.

Both stores were selling Acne’s Flaunt print skirt, with a retail price of $399.  At that point the similarity ended as store A’s image of the skirt caused me to add it to my mental wish list while the photograph on site B didn’t even raise a flicker of interest.  Until, that is, the sales started.  Store A, as makes financial sense for this kind of retailer, is holding off on putting the skirt on sale and will, from past experience, only reduce by a marginal amount when the time comes.  Store B, on the other hand, started the reductions at 40%.  A further discount over the weekend slashed an additional 25% off the reduced price and offered free shipping.

Obviously I did what anyone else would do and snapped up the bargain that store B offered.  I do, however, feel a sense of guilt.  Without store A’s presentation and styling I probably wouldn’t have been tempted to buy the skirt and in the current financial climate I hate to think of smaller boutiques with vision losing revenue to online megalomalls.  However, as I am neither a millionaire nor a philanthropist, I need to live with my guilt…well, that and my new skirt.