The Red Suit: A Parable

Once there was a 2nd hand shop that sold lovely clothing.  Some items had never been worn; some were a little worse for wear and some were in need of serious need of a good seamstress.  All the items were priced fairly based on the wear and tear.  Flaws were not hidden and pricing was not negotiable.

One day a high society woman came into the shop and there she found a gorgeous red suit.  It was NOT a designer suit, but it was well made.  One might call it a classic.  A scarlet red color, the jacket and skirt were made of quality wool.  It was a size 12.  One of the buttons on the jacket was loose and there was a small stain on the back of the skirt most would have never noticed.

The woman looked it over and examined every inch. "I love this suit," the woman declared.  "I want to buy it."

"It is a beautiful suit," the shop owner agreed.  "I am selling it for $500."

"It is well worth it, “said the woman.  "But I do not have $500 right now.  Could you put it aside and I will return in a week with the money?"

The shop owner did just that.

A week went by, but the woman did not return.  Ten days went by and the shop owner was about to return it to the floor, when the society woman phoned.

"It is taking me a little bit longer than I thought to get the money.  But I will have it in another week.  Can you please hold it for me?"

The shop owner, being a good soul, did just that.

Another week went by and the woman did not return.

Five days more past and the shop owner had just put the suit back on the sales floor when the society woman came in.

"Why is my suit out for sale?  I told you I would return for it."

"But you didn't.  It has been three weeks and since you asked me to put it aside."

"I WANT that suit."

The shop owner took it off the rack and handed it to the woman.

"I still don't have the money.  But I will sign a contract in good faith, saying that I will be back in two weeks with the $500 for this suit."

The shop owner, being kind hearted, wrote down on piece of paper.  "Woman's red suit; size 12.  One jacket button loose, small stain on the back.  Sold for $500 to Mrs. X.  To be picked up and paid in full two weeks from the below date."

Both the woman and the shop owner signed the paper.

Ten days later, the woman came back.  The shop owner smiled and said, "You are early.  Let me go get the suit."

"Wait,” said the woman.  "I cannot buy the suit.  The button on the jacket is loose."

"Yes," said the shop owner.  "I wrote that in the contract.  You knew the button was loose when you decided to buy it."

"I cannot buy the suit if the button is loose," declared the woman.  "I am a woman of renown.  I would not wear a suit with a loose button.  But if you fix it for me, I will be back in one week and buy it."

Perhaps the shop owner was naive.  "Very well.  I will have the button fixed and you will return next week at this time with the money."

"Agreed," said the woman.

A week later the woman returned.  The shop owner pulled out the red suit and showed her that the button had been carefully reattached.

"I love this suit," declared the woman.  "But I cannot pay $500 for it.  There is a stain on the back of the skirt.  Besides it is a size 12 and I am a size 10, so I would have to have it altered."

"Ma'am," replied the shop owner, "when you first saw this suit you said you loved it.  You looked it over carefully.  You knew what size it was.  You knew its flaws. You knew its price.  If you would like to purchase this red suit, which is a size twelve and has a small stain on the back it will be $500."


There is may be no moral to this story.  It IS however, a parable.  For no matter how kind you may be, there can be someone out there who thinks they are above the rest of the world; they have no peer.  But you can bet that if I were the shop owner, I'd be sure to tell everyone I knew about this person's behavior and self-serving attitude.

...perhaps I just have.


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