My former job as Vice-President for Academic Affairs required me to be in New York City once or twice a year - which meant a most pleasant train trip on the banks of the Hudson River. I always stayed a Lubin House, a large townhouse owned by Syracuse University on East 61st Street just off Fifth Avenue. Great location and an easy walk to the Plaza, Tiffany, FAO Schwartz, and a host of other temptations.
Every trip found me in the toy store where I would buy each of my daughters a stuffed animal, and I would look in the other high-end stores for a modest but nice gift for my wife. On this particular trip in the mid-1990s, I decided to buy my wife a scarf, and I was ready to spend more than usual.
Throwing caution to the wind, I went into Bergdorf-Goodman and found a nice sales associate to help me. I explained what I wanted, and I was shown a wide array of beautiful scarves. I found one I liked. A quick look at the price tag - $195, a lot but not much above what I had budgeted for. I signed and headed back to my room.
Once back, I began to reorganize my suitcase to accommodate the stuffed animals and the scarf. That's when I looked at the sales receipt. Gulp - not $195 but $495. I had misread the dot-matrix printed price, confusing the 4 with a 1, and hadn't really looked at the charge slip. I know - shame on me.
I brought the scarf home to my wife thinking "boy, I hope she loves this scarf!" Well, she did, but she also didn't think she could bring herself to wear a $500 scarf. To her credit she shipped it back it to the store for a full refund, but if the truth be told, I would not have minded if she kept it.
My girls loved their stuffies, and I learned my lesson. I hope I got some credit. It is the thought that counts, isn't it?