Say you were Kathleen Fuld, wife of demonized former Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld. You’ve had many millions of dollars available to you over the course of your 30-year marriage, and so you wouldn’t, ordinarily, think twice about buying luxury goods such as a multi-thousand-dollar handbag in broad daylight. It is second nature to you, possibly, to buy such things without thinking. As others buy gum. Which is why, perhaps, you don’t wholly consider how embarrassing it would be to get caught shopping for such a thing now, in December of 2008, just a few short months after the collapse of your husband’s bank (which failed, many say, due to your husband’s ham-handed machinations) leaves thousands out of work and triggers — well, is said to have triggered — a global financial meltdown. But then it occurs to you, at the register, that it might be unwise to be caught making such purchases: “Can I have a plain white shopping bag?” you say to the sales associate at Hermès, hurriedly. But it’s too late. The cashier smells your panic. He looks again at the card, and recognizes the name — how could he not?! It’s the most famous name of the crisis thus far! Maybe you should have been nicer to those sales associates, you thought today, when someone sent you a link to the Daily Beast. Maybe then they wouldn’t have ratted you out.
A Dirty Little Secret About How the Rich Shop [Daily Beast]