"Who’s Jane Norman?"

“Daddy, I need a new school bag.”

“You do? What’s wrong with the old one?”

I didn’t need to ask the question; I knew where she was going.

“I want to get a Jane Norman bag.”

“Who’s Jane Norman?”

“Well, she makes bags.”

“And why are her bags better than your backpack.”

I could tell she was thinking, If I have to explain that to you, you wouldn’t understand.

I was hoping that by obfuscation and procrastination I could delay the inevitable rise of brand consciousness. The allure is a familiar spectre in my own life.

Uncle Doug was scarred as a child by his grandfather for wearing brand names. The old man asked him with scorn, “Are they paying you to advertise their products?”

It was an impossible question for a young man to answer. To this day Doug refuses to wear brand names.

I decided it wasn’t worth the effort; I knew I couldn’t prevent the process. I might slow it down for a while or I might refuse her wishes outright, still within the realm of possibility for the father of the house.

But, some battles are not worth fighting. More important issues will invariably come to the fore as she becomes a young woman.

Lisa is more sympathetic to the material desires of her children, and they know that. So, she helped Elisabeth find the bag she wanted on the Internet.

A few days later the box arrived; inside was the longed for prize.

Yesterday she carried it proudly to school.

“Is that Jane Norman’s bag.”

“No, Daddy, it’s mine. I bought it on the Internet.”

“How much did you pay for it?” I figured she would quote a figure no less than £25.

“£7, I bought it with my allowance.”

I was thinking, Is Jane paying you to advertise her products? but didn’t say it.

“That’s not too bad, are you pleased with it?”

“Yep,” she said as she raised her chin a bit higher.

Not bad for £7.

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