A Spy In The House of Stuff

When the going gets tough, the rich go shopping for their kids

It's incredibly materialistic. You don't need it. There are kids a mile from here who don't have a blanket, and then there's kids who have the finest flannel sheets and the finest cotton blanket and the finest down comforter and they're three years old. It's made me give away tons of stuff and made me realize how much I had.

I took the job for the discount and I've bought very little there, because 40 percent off of the perfect sheet set, who cares? They're just going to sleep on it. I'm a social worker and I'm going back to it. I did mostly medical social work with women with high-risk pregnancies--preemies and adoptions and crack babies. I won't be here next Thanksgiving.

Is a perfectly coordinated purple and yellow room going to make your daughter smarter or more popular? It's competition. I don't think the kids care nearly as much as the mothers, showing off the rooms: If you have a perfect showroom-bedroom, you're a good parent. Sometimes they'll be really apologetic to me and say, "Well, we know this is a little obsessive." And I just sort of smile sympathetically and take their credit cards.

James O'Brien


Jim Walsh can be reached at jwalsh@citypages.com or 612.372.3775.

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