In the Glorious Future, We’ll Survive By Selling Each Other Our Overpriced Used Crap!

Tom Friedman has moved beyond self-parody into something… weirder and more clinical:

DiNunzio is one in a wave of entrepreneurs who’ve been buoying our economy from below, at a time when so much national economic policy has been paralyzed. These risk-takers never got the word that China will eat our lunch or Germany will eat our breakfast, so they just go out and start stuff, and build stuff, and invent stuff — and create 20 jobs here and 30 jobs there. Specifically, DiNunzio is part of a budding new economic activity called the “sharing economy” or “collaborative economy,” which offers a new avenue for the middle class to create wealth and savings. These entrepreneurs are not the only answer for our economic woes — they create jobs, destroy jobs and create big efficiency savings all at once — but they are surely part of the answer, and it’s a shame that we don’t spend more time thinking about how to multiply them.

Like all good entrepreneurs, DiNunzio, 35, got her start by paying attention. In her case, it was paying attention to her rapid-fire wedding and then divorce to start a company in 2009, called Recycled Bride, which enabled couples to, as Forbes put it, sell “their wedding finery and excess sundries so they could ride off in the sunset without staggering under the weight of debt.” She expanded that into Tradesy, which enables women to monetize the used or unused clothing and accessories in their closets by creating a peer-to-peer marketplace in which pricing, listing, buying, selling, shipping and returning goods is seamlessly easy — and with Tradesy taking a 9 percent commission. She is not alone in that space, but it’s working.

“We have a section on the site for wedding attire,” she explained. “We have seen three brides wear the same dress.” The first bought a Vera Wang wedding dress for $8,000 and then sold it on Tradesy for $3,000. The second wore it and resold it for $3,000. “So the bride in the middle of that trade wore her $8,000 Vera Wang wedding dress for free.”…

Yeah, finding an opportunity to ‘monetize’ a eight-thousand-dollar dress (for a wedding that didn’t even last!) is the very definition of First World Problems…

Back before washing machines and public laundromats, one of the bottom-entry entrepreneurial task sets was “taking in wash”. Going from door to door, picking up heavy baskets of other peoples’ soiled undergarments and sheets, heating water (over a fire, or on a hand-fed wood- or coal-burning stove), dealing with the caustic chemicals involved, hand-washing endless pounds of wet yardage, wrestling the end results up to hang dry — plus ironing, and mending, before lugging the heavy baskets back to those fortunate enough to outsource all this labor in return for a miserable pittance. It didn’t require much of a fiduciary investment, nor training that any woman wasn’t expected to have acquired before puberty, but it was such a burdensome and unpleasant task-series that any housewife with even a little ‘discretionary’ income would pay to have it taken, literally, off her hands. The unlucky widow or elderly spinster ‘taking in washing’ was such a cultural standby that economists joked about theoretical societies where the medium of exchange was every individual taking in someone else’s laundry. (Fred Pohl wrote an sf story where far-future anthropologists thought that the national legislators of the once-powerful Nacirema survived that way, thus the name of their capital, “Washing Done”. He may not have invented that joke.)

But today “we” — meaning Tom ‘I Married A Billionaire’s Daughter” Friedman and the people who pay him to write this crap — don’t even consider the possibility that labor might have value. What they have — what they value — is tons of expensive, logo’d “inventory”. Worse comes to worse and Tom’s father-in-law cuts him off, Tom is not gonna roll up his french-cuffed monogrammed sleeves; he’s gonna wander around his mansion and dig out some of last season’s Coach bags to sell to the middle-manager Aspirationals who pay his speaker fees.

Via:

84 replies
  1. 1
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    “We have seen three brides wear the same dress.”

    Gosh, you could create a business where you own a bunch of dresses and people pay you to use them for their weddings. What’s that word, rhymes with ‘mental’?

    (Alternatively, you could save on the cost of getting married by going to Vegas instead.)

  2. 2
    srv says:

    This PR pitch sure works for me:

    “Dear Cracker Barrel Customer:

    When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done.

    You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong.

    We listened.

    Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores.

    And, we apologize for offending you.

    We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different.

    We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family.”

    God Bless America.

  3. 3
    Hal says:

    to start a company in 2009, called Recycled Bride, which enabled couples to, as Forbes put it, sell “their wedding finery and excess sundries so they could ride off in the sunset without staggering under the weight of debt.”

    So in a way, DiNunzio’s company profits off of people making the same mistake she did, going for the big circus wedding without any consideration to the actual marriage. I have to wonder how much economic buoying there could possibly be in all of this considering not that many people are in the market for an 8 grand wedding dress to begin with.

  4. 4
    divF says:

    Friedman is such a perfect parody of himself, it’s a recursive loop. Someday he’s going to disappear up his own belly button.

    Priceless. But who knew that billmon was a tech geek ?

    ETA: either that or a reference to Heinlein’s Glory Road. Except Igli didn’t have a belly button.

  5. 5
    srv says:

    If Friedman reinvented himself as a taxi driver, what would happen?

  6. 6
    Luthe says:

    @srv: I am shocked, shocked to discover Cracker Barrel’s customers are racist homophobes Duck Dynasty fans!

  7. 7
    jl says:

    @srv:

    A crazed taxi driver talking to himself all the time?

    Probably get fired in a week or two for scaring away all the taxi company’s customers.

  8. 8
    YellowJournalism says:

    The business idea is a decent one, but how would it save the economy if we all owned consignment or second-hand shops? No one would be buying anything new!

  9. 9
    srv says:

    @jl: Who the fuck will explain the world to Tom when his taxi is a google car?

  10. 10
    Warren Terra says:

    Someday he’s going to disappear up his own belly button

    That’s no belly button.

  11. 11
    Gian says:

    I thought a recycled bride was a widow or divorced?

  12. 12
    Anoniminous says:

    Next little Tommy will learn about this amazing new internet enabled business called “car leasing.”

    Using the wonders of modern technology teenagers can rent a fancy chauffeured limousine to pick them up at their homes(!), drive them to the high school prom, pick them up after the dance, and take them back home!!!!!

    No longer do mom and dad have to purchase a stretch limo and hire a chauffeur for a year, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars!!!!!

  13. 13
    jl says:

    Come to think of it, I have noticed quick thinking innovative entrepreneurs in my neighborhood. I’ve seen them for a while reaching into trash cans. But, one day while I was waiting for the limo to take me to Aspen for big talks on new innovative ‘out-of-the-box’ ideas, I struck up a conversation with one of them.

    They were fishing out aluminum cans and taking them to recycling centers, and they got money for the used cans. An innovative, sustainable and green industry had arisen right outside my door, and I had never even noticed.

    The guy’s name was Ed. He had a crazed gleam in his eye and he talked real fast. An obscure visionary. He said he was working 16/7 so he could save up enough money to afford a dental appointment in a few months, and he asked something about if I could, but the limo was there and I was late…

    But I had my Aspen talk!

    Ed’s innovative entrepreneurial spirit should be an example to us.

  14. 14
    PeakVT says:

    The first bought a Vera Wang wedding dress for $8,000…

    I have no interest in getting married anyway, but eight fucking grand? That kind of spending on a wedding baffles me more than climate denial or obsessing over pajama boy.

  15. 15
    mclaren says:

    @YellowJournalism:

    The business idea is a decent one, but how would it save the economy if we all owned consignment or second-hand shops? No one would be buying anything new!

    That’s why the business idea is shit. It’s parasitic. Everything in America is about flipping stuff — flipping used wedding dresses, re-selling insurance, repackaging liar mortgage loans, flipping condos… Nobody manufacturing anything. Nobody’s making stuff. It’s all just a frenzy of maggots writing around on a dead whale. That’s not a living economy, it’s a dying Ponzi scheme.

  16. 16
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @srv:

    If Friedman reinvented himself as a taxi driver, what would happen?

    The same thing that happens now. I always figured most of what “taxi drivers” said in his columns were just him talking already.

    Take it away Alex Pareene:

    I happened to notice a young Palestinian man working behind the counter. When I ordered my coffee, he realized that I was American. “Ah, like Thomas Friedman,” he said. “Friedman, the great New York Times columnist who understands the needs of and challenges facing people like me, working-class Palestinians living in the European Union, because of how often he travels the world and how many brief but illuminating conversations he has with service industry employees. We are all grateful to be material for his columns and books,” he said, standing in for all people like him, by which I mean most foreign brown people.

  17. 17
    max says:

    @srv: God Bless America.

    I thought the last tweet on the Business Insider version summed it up perfectly:

    Paul Cook songwriter @pcook102
    I guess they decided Homo Barrel was a bad name. Let’s put the Cracker back in there. #gravy #redneckfood

    Anne Laurie: Tom Friedman has moved beyond self-parody into something… weirder and more clinical:

    Machine that goes BOING, successful entrepreneur, internets, rewritten press release for some company – seems like Thomas Friedman’s ideal column to me. God knows, he isn’t any good on politics, war, foreign policy, economics or actual technology (as opposed to EXCITING PRESS RELEASES!).

    max
    [‘Summary of entire preceding week in six words: conservatives spent week screaming HOMO! FAG!’]

  18. 18
    Mike G says:

    This reminds me of Six Months Tommy’s orgiastic response when he found out some American was making T-shirts that said “My job got outsourced to India and all I got was this lousy shirt”. Here is the entrepreneurial magic-of-the-marketplace answer that PROVED offshoring of the tech industry wasn’t bad at all — laid-off programmers could make new careers selling sardonic shirts! Then some other reporter tracked down the shirt guy and he’d made like $11 from this side business.

    He really is a patronizing dick.

  19. 19
    max says:

    @mclaren: That’s why the business idea is shit. It’s parasitic.

    Technically, used goods aren’t included in GDP, although consumer spending by people employed in reselling used goods is included, when they purchase new goods.

    max
    [‘That’s why it can’t ‘save the economy’. The guys who keep score don’t count it.’]

  20. 20
    jl says:

    I want to save the economy. I am selling used BJ comments.

    Maybe you are a BJ regular, but have exhausted yourself today in venting impotent rage and crazed whining. Or, are you a lurker, who probably wants to comment, but are afraid to enter the rhetorical fight club octagon of death.

    Fear not, for a fee, send me what you want to say, and I will search the archives for something just right. And, in order to create wealth, I plan on copyrighting what I find.

    You are welcome. I accept gold and platinum small denomination bitcoins in payment.

  21. 21
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    OT but related: This is a terrific column by Krugman.

    The part from Keynes about how digging up gold and essentially burying it again so it can “back” currency is the same as digging holes, filling them, and digging them up again, and then how this all relates to Bitcoin — extremely well done. Worth a read.

  22. 22
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @mclaren:

    Everything in America is about flipping stuff — flipping used wedding dresses, re-selling insurance, repackaging liar mortgage loans, flipping condos…

    For most people the only flipping they’re doing is hamburgers. Is the real problem. Or pancakes, working at IHOP.

    The best comment I saw over at Friedman’s piece in the NYT started with:

    “I wanted to monetize my closet but I looked all through it and couldn’t find any $8,000 Vera Wang wedding dresses.”

  23. 23
    mclaren says:

    @jl:

    You win the thread!

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    You know what the problem with the French is?

    They have no word for entrepreneur!

  25. 25
    jl says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Thanks good column. I like Krugman’s shout out to Adam Smith on bank regulation in the Wealth of Nations.

    It’s free on Project Gutenberg, I think they have the whole damn thing.
    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3300

    Anyone who reads Smith on how banking panics were generated in the 18th century will note striking similarities to the last one we had. And will wonder what would have happened we had had Smith as Fed chief rather than Greenspan. Though Smith probably would have been hounded to resign by GOPers and corporate Dems wearing Adam Smith ties.

  26. 26

    IOW, Thomas Friedman just discovered eBay.
    /golf clap

  27. 27
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @srv: Proving once again that Cracker Barrel is well named. Company sued for violating the CRA of 1964 with respect to guests says what?

  28. 28
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    Someday he’s going to disappear up his own belly button.

    Yer far to polite when describing this over-paid, over-pampered, over-priviledged dolt…

    I can think of a faaaaar more appropriate bodily orifice for Tom to disappear up…

  29. 29
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    How do the ‘not-quite-wealthy-enough’ get the designer frock for cheap without the declassé thing of renting? Join us next time on the Veblen Hour!

  30. 30
    amk says:

    Strangle him with his stupid turtle neck. And then sell it on that denunzio’s website.

  31. 31
    Suzanne says:

    I actually just used Rent the Runway for the first time last week, and I thought it was awesome.

    Tom Friedman is still a total douche.

  32. 32
    Yatsuno says:

    @Suzanne: At least the weasels are original. Plus AWESOME!!!

  33. 33
    Suffern ACE says:

    @jl: Well, now that they have value, I think that I will be offering a seminar on how to unlock the value of your opinions through branding.

    Please see my web site for details. Cost is $20.00 for a WebEx on January 3.

  34. 34
    Suzanne says:

    @Yatsuno: Yeah, those weasels are pretty dope. Vintage dope, even.

    Rent the Runway was actually fabulous. I was a bit suspicious, but it’s great business with great service. I got to wear a dress to a formal party that I would never be able to afford, and those aren’t the sorts of dresses you get to wear repeatedly. The dress showed up on time, in two sizes, was in perfect condition, came with a prepaid envelope to return it, and fit just like the site said it would. They threw in free dress tape, gave me a coupon for my next rental, and took care of the dry cleaning. All for what I consider to be a very reasonable price. Found my shoes on the clearance rack, earrings were on sale, and the weasels were from Grandma. So I actually think that there is much to be said for the business model of renting some things.

    None of this, however, doesn’t make Friedman a clueless ass. That business was not started by someone trying to “monetize her closet”, but instead by some HBS grads with great education and resources at their disposal.

  35. 35
    Ruckus says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity:
    He is a good part of the way there but that ginormus head is blocking further progress. Much more crap comes out his mouth though someone might think it’s a two way system. Which in his case it might just be.

  36. 36
    piratedan says:

    well geez, repurposing has beeen around for quite some time, after all, Friedman’s columns are mostly used to line birdcages…

  37. 37
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): Does Friedman know about Freecycle?

    There are some of us who give older things away, things we don’t need or have replaced, whatever, for free to others. We like the feeling of not filling landfills with still usable stuff and we want to help people who might not be able to buy things they need. I’ve passed on a big bag of yarn to a Harlem recreation program for seniors, kitchen utensils to an City EMT unit (they got a whole NEW kitchen but none of the dishes, plates, pots, etc. that you use in a kitchen), etc.

  38. 38
    LosGatosCA says:

    Tom Friedman – revered developer and author of

    “Use my investing model to get $5M net worth”

    1. Get my book of strategic economic business analysis
    2. Read it carefully, study it, repetitively – for a Friedman unit. Then you’re ready to go to the ultimate step.
    3. Take your $10M . . . . . .

  39. 39
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Maybe they could do this for movies! You could pay a small fee to view them and then give them back when you’re done!

  40. 40
    Ruckus says:

    @PurpleGirl:
    That’s un mercan, not making money off of stuff. If you can’t use it, you must throw it away so that no one takes advantage of you or your money. You had to buy it, why shouldn’t they?

    Do I really have to include a /snark?

  41. 41
    ruemara says:

    To be fair, without having crap to sell, I wouldn’t have enough to do some training this year. Plus, where would I get to create such epic product copy? I think I was just punch drunk by the time I wrote that.

  42. 42
    JoyfulA says:

    @PurpleGirl: eBay and Freecycle need to send him a PR pitch.

    And Freecycle is fabulous for cleaning house. Whatever you have that you don’t want, somebody wants it and will come and get it. And I do mean “whatever.”

  43. 43
    Suffern ACE says:

    I know it’s after the story is cold, but could we have a thread mocking former GOP senate primary candidate Peter Shiff? Or is he still some kind of blogosphere hero for “being the one analyst who called the housing meltdown.”

  44. 44
    PurpleGirl says:

    @JoyfulA: When I read the ask from the EMT guy, I was astounded. But as he explained it “the City buying unit doesn’t know what kind of dishware you like or silverware or pots and pans, etc. so they leave that for the EMTs to buy later.” He came to my office to pick up the stuff and was amazed at the bags of stuff I had for him and the unit. He sent me a really nice thank you note.

    ETA: I, in turn, have gotten a TV through Freecycle, some good classical CDs, a small pyrex coffee pot, etc. I love the Freecycle idea.

  45. 45
    Suffern ACE says:

    Watched some TV show a few weeks ago about Detroit, and they had a little section on the entrepreneurs in condemned buildings. It seems that when the price of scrap metal spikes, like it did when the Beijing Olympics and Dubai building sprees were sucking up excess, entrepreneurs took Ot upon themselves to unlock the scap in that city’s unused buildings, which is why five years later, it is considered a beacon of hope for rustbelt renewal.

  46. 46
    Steeplejack says:

    @jl:

    Hilarious.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    JoyfulA says:

    @PurpleGirl: I’ve Freecycled a trampoline, a screen door, a sewing machine, and a weightlifting bench (all left behind by my house’s previous owner), two sets of encyclopedia (mine and a friend’s; it seems people often move into houses with built-in bookcases and need something to fill them), my mother’s deep freeze, my father-in-law’s giant floor-model TV, 10 pairs of jeans from new to worn that I’d outgrown (now I wish I had them back), 100+ used men’s socks (multiple requesters!), two recliners, a dozen men’s shirts (some new), just an endless variety of stuff.

    And in return my husband got about eight floor-model radios and many boxes of record albums; I’ve made him stop.

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Redshift: serves me right for taking the afternoon off to sit in traffic looking for ways to thwart the oncoming consignment economy to buy new stuff for people that they probably won’t like even though placed said items on Christmas lists.

  50. 50
    ericblair says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Maybe they could do this for movies! You could pay a small fee to view them and then give them back when you’re done!

    Every once in a while you get some perceptive libertarian genius who realizes that, since most books just sit on shelves 99% of the time, it would be a really cool idea to create a startup where someone could borrow a book or two for a couple of weeks and bring it back to then be read by someone else. They’d have to think of a name for this kind of place, though.

    More of these web-based sharing startups, like the apartment and car sharing services, tend to take existing businesses, weasel around the hotel/rental/livery taxes, remove established protections for when shit goes bad to cut on costs, and slap together an app. Again, you have to think up a weird name for the app, but after that you’re golden.

  51. 51
    Chris says:

    @ericblair:

    Every once in a while you get some perceptive libertarian genius who realizes that, since most books just sit on shelves 99% of the time, it would be a really cool idea to create a startup where someone could borrow a book or two for a couple of weeks and bring it back to then be read by someone else. They’d have to think of a name for this kind of place, though.

    Much as I hate Stone and Parker, most of their Cunning Plans always send me back to this South Park moment;

    “Right now we’re proving we don’t need corperations. We don’t need money. There’s going to be a community were everybody just helps each other.”
    “Yeah, there’s going to be like one guy, who like makes bread. And like another guy, that like looks out for other people’s saftey.”
    “You mean like a baker and a cop?”
    “No, no no. Can’t you guys imagine a place where people, like live together and provide services for each other in exchange for their services?”
    “Yeah. It’s called a town.”

  52. 52
    Kiko says:

    @mclaren: Nobody manufacturing anything. Nobody’s making stuff.
    This is a pernicious myth. I don’t understand why so many otherwise well informed people seem to believe this. We make more stuff now than we did in 1970 (or 1980 or 1990 or 2000), we just employ far fewer people to do so.

  53. 53
    danielx says:

    @Kiko:

    Quite true. But nobody wants to actually say that, because that would give rise to unSerious questions. Like,now that all these people who used to be employed (you know, making stuff) are surplus to the economy, what are they supposed to do? And is the purpose of an economy to meet the needs and wants of the people who comprise it, or to produce ever increasing wealth for a very small number people who don’t need it?

  54. 54
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    My siblings and I swap books at every family get together. It’s disorganized but getting better. We’re all readers and can judge one another’s tastes so it works out.
    At Christmas we’re branching out to used electronics. An LCD monitor for this one, a small TV for the bedroom for that one. A record turntable that I rehabbed for A will go to B now that A is done digitizing his records.

    I actually made a living off eBay for a while working differential availability of collectible electronics. The US has lots of vintage tube audio gear, speakers, turntables, etc. from the ’50s and ’60s that’s in high demand in SE Asia. I found, repaired, sold and shipped a lot of heavy old amps to Japan, Korea and China. It was a decent living.

  55. 55
    Chris says:

    @danielx:

    This is one of my many beefs with the conservative and libertarian (but I repeat myself) view of economics; “The Economy” as a theoretical concept has become the ends in itself rather than the means to an ends. And “efficiency” is determined by “whether or not the economy lives up to our theories of how it ought to be.”

    So if you have, say, high unemployment, it’s not a sign that there’s anything wrong with The Economy, it’s a sign that people are [too lazy, too unionized, insert-favorite-wingnuttism-here]. And instead of figuring out how to change the economy in order to suit the needs of the public, we’re pelted with many suggestions of how the public needs to change itself in order to suit the needs of The Economy.

    I joke about the Market-God from time to time, but it really is the deity of our culture – far more than any version of the Biblical God. It’s the artificial entity that we are all told to bow and sacrifice to in the hopes that maybe if we do it enough, it’ll favor us with success in our life endeavors. And those (most of the time) vain hopes take the place of actually organizing to make our lives better. Opium of the masses, etc.

  56. 56
    C.V. Danes says:

    DiNunzio is part of a budding new economic activity called the “sharing economy” or “collaborative economy,” which offers a new avenue for the middle class to create wealth and savings.

    Sounds suspiciously close to something we used to call “barterism,” but I guess marrying into wealth gives one a different perspective.

  57. 57

    “We have a section on the site for wedding attire,” she explained.

    The People In My Head pronounced this, We have a section on the site for wedding satire.

    @pseudonymous in nc: The Harris County Clerk of Courts charged us $50, saved us a bundle we then blew on the parties that followed. That was 28 years ago. I hypothesize there exists an inverse relationship between the cost of the wedding and how long the marriage lasts.

  58. 58
    Sherparick says:

    What is precious about Friedman is that he writes this stuff without any sense of irony. It is as if about 20 years ago, upon being made columnist at the Times, they took him through a “de-Irony” machine and he became completely credulous to any millionaire pushing their grift or any Administration pushing a war. Of course now Alex Pareene will have to revive his hack list.

  59. 59
    ericblair says:

    @Chris:

    I joke about the Market-God from time to time, but it really is the deity of our culture – far more than any version of the Biblical God. It’s the artificial entity that we are all told to bow and sacrifice to in the hopes that maybe if we do it enough, it’ll favor us with success in our life endeavors.

    I agree, and would like to see the reaction when you ask some of these guys in person what the purpose of the economy is. It should have one, and figuring out what we want out of the economy should give us some idea about what our priorities should be and how to change it. However, the question will probably get the same reaction as asking a Christian what the purpose of God is, and get you called some economic version of heretic.

  60. 60

    @Suzanne: The Harvard MBAs would explain a lot, in terms of capitalization and connections. There’s so much suspicious and downright disingenuous about her tale, from the way she pretends she just cooked up a l’il website by researchin’ on the Web (a real throwback to the days when professional women used to deprecate their talents) to her claim that “Tradesy has accumulated $97.5 million in inventory, at virtually no cost to our business, in 13 months.”

  61. 61
    pagodat says:

    Seriously, Friedman must not have many women to talk to if he didn’t know consignment shops are a thing. Even here in DC he could head to 14th Street NW and see Current Boutique and Buffalo Exchange a few blocks from each other.

    (Imagine that, in a city that attracts huge numbers of twentysomething women to office jobs with mediocre pay where they’re expected to dress three times as nice as any dude in the office, there are thriving consignment shops.)

  62. 62
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    Apples. On every street corner.

    Again.

    Friedman’s solution, I think.

  63. 63

    What I want to know is how the woman behind this Tradesy is related to Friedman. The woman behind the last start-up he was pimping was his daughter’s room mate at Yale.

  64. 64
    Barbara says:

    Tom is safe from his FIL cutting him off, beloved patriach kicked the bucket a couple of weeks ago, obit was in the NYT. Still, fun to imagine TF trying to survive by whatever little wits he has.

  65. 65
    Cervantes says:

    @srv:

    If Friedman reinvented himself as a taxi driver, what would happen?

    Traffic backed up for miles and no one ever getting to their destination?

    The man is an incompetent.

  66. 66
    Cervantes says:

    @ruemara:

    Plus, where would I get to create such epic product copy?

    I almost put in a bid; I can barely help myself.

    Nice writing!

  67. 67
    Cervantes says:

    Anne Laurie:

    Worse comes to worse

    That’s worst/worst, or, if you insist, worse/worst.

  68. 68
    Cervantes says:

    @jl: You and Tom Friedman ought to switch places.

    It would improve the newspaper immeasurably and the jerk would get a righteous earful here.

  69. 69
    celticdragonchick says:

    @jl: You win.

  70. 70
    WereBear says:

    @Hal: So in a way, DiNunzio’s company profits off of people making the same mistake she did, going for the big circus wedding without any consideration to the actual marriage.

    Rule of thumb of every videographer I used to work with: the more elaborate the wedding, the faster the video got turned around.

    Gotta get it out before they divorce.

  71. 71
    Tone In DC says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    The US has lots of vintage tube audio gear, speakers, turntables, etc. from the ’50s and ’60s that’s in high demand in SE Asia. I found, repaired, sold and shipped a lot of heavy old amps to Japan, Korea and China.

    Speaking as someone who buys old electronics… so it’s YOU making these damn prices go up!
    How can a guy get some 1959 JBL D101s if eBay/BJers are sending them around the world?

  72. 72
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    @BruceFromOhio:

    Yup. 18.5 years here. Used sportcoat for me, dress from J.C. Penny’s for the bride, wedding in the park across from the courthouse, and lunch at a local bar and grill. 15 or so guests.

  73. 73
    Booger says:

    @mclaren: I’m getting that awesome paragraph as a tattoo somewhere.

  74. 74
    mattH says:

    @Cervantes: I’d go so far as to argue that worse comes to worst has always been more coherent and usually more in line with what the author is trying to say.

  75. 75
    different-church-lady says:

    …We’ll Survive By Selling Each Other Our Overpriced Used Crap!

    Well, I suppose it’s a step away from that time not so long ago when everyone thought we’d survive by selling each other housing. I’m just not sure whether that direction is up or down.

  76. 76
    different-church-lady says:

    @Booger: Including the typo?

  77. 77
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Back in the 70s, my mom used to buoy our economy from below by caring for the elderly. I can’t wait to tell her she may very well have been one of the progenitors of the entrepreneurial collaborative economy.

  78. 78
    LanceThruster says:

    We’d be better off recycling for free our used crap and trash for someone else to make use of.

    Reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim, repurpose!

  79. 79
    Mathguy says:

    @piratedan: I usually position Friedman’s mug in the spot where my parrot shits the most.

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @WereBear:

    Every time you say this, it makes me feel better about the fact that it took us a year and a half to get our wedding video. :-)

  81. 81
    KT says:

    @mclaren: I nominate this comment as one of the best this year. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the modern American economy.

  82. 82
    Fledermaus says:

    Shorter Friedman:

    Step 1: Buy $8000 dress
    Step 2: Sell for $3000
    Step 3: Profit!

  83. 83
    Liberty60 says:

    What makes Friedman’s POV so outrageous is, as others have pointed out, his attitude towards the value of labor.
    Who is the hero in his anecdote? Vera Wang, who designed the dress? The craftsman who stiched it together?

    Nope. The hero, the person lionized, is the person who simply persuades others to buy it- the salesman, in other words.

    Which, not coincidently, mirrors the Friedman world of capitalism. The corporate CEOs don’t actually DO anything- the CEOs and executives don’t make cars, or light bulbs or computers; they pay others to do that. What the CEO’s job is, his actual set of daily duties, is to manage others, to sell the company, to persuade and cajole and decide.

    Not that this isn’t a valuable skill or task- but in the world of the new capitalism, this is the utmost peak of skill, the one deserving of the lion’s share of wealth.

    This is why all those airport books that breathlessly tell us how to succeed are all united by a single vision, that of the salesman hawking something. All the tropes and cliches we hear about creative destruction, personal branding, networking, are all variations of the same message- that our goal should be to sell something to somebody.

    But this pernicious, on a vastly deeper level than just the annoying glibness- work has always had a special role as the essence of humanity, that the creative work of our hands and minds is what makes meaning in our lives, and gives purpose.
    Scorning craftsmanship, ignoring the value of dress designers and seamstresses in favor of dress salesmen tells us that labor is worthless, and belittles those who practice it.

  84. 84
    apocalipstick says:

    @PeakVT:
    I will say that when Ms. Stick and I married, my mother made the dress. Cost about $180 dollars, would have easily retailed for $8-10,000. So that tells you something about that market.

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