Brygidyr and I drop the engaged-couple pose at the Eddie Bauer store, at which he plays a friend helping me buy a gift for my husband. We’re approached by an enthusiastic young sales associate only a minute or so after entering the outdoorsy casual-wear chain (“That’s just fine,” says Brygidyr), who walks us through a variety of options. She takes our sighing dismissals of each in stride, and gathers information about my husband’s tastes, style and office environment.
At last, we fasten on the revolutionary Nano-Tex shirts — the answer, Brygidyr crows, to “all of our problems.” (Nano-Tex enhances fabrics on a molecular level so they resist spills and repel stains.) The girl explains the technology impressively, then follows up with a recitation of the store’s creed (which means we can bring the thing back, even if it’s smeared with mustard). “Pair it up with a V-neck sweater,” she suggests, then turns to give us time to digest our good fortune. “I’ll be back to check on you.”
The store is neat and bright, the help attentive and concerned, the shirts stain-resistant. Not a lot more a modern consumer could ask for.