Ted Baker Owes Me A $795 Shopping Spree!

When the London-based clothing label Ted Baker opened its Boston boutique on Newbury Street a few years ago, I attended the opening party because it was a fund-raiser for one of my favorite charities, Community Servings.

I’d been to the Ted Baker store in London and tried on a few of his things at Harvey Nichols, none of which really caught my fancy, which I was rude enough to tell a salesperson at the Boston location when she greeted me. In fact, I told her, the only item of Ted Baker clothing I owned was a pair of boxer briefs I’d bought duty-free on a British Airways flight after realizing that I had an 8-hour layover and needed a fresh pair.

“I’ll bet I can show you something you’ll like,” she said, and I told her she was welcome to try. She obviously read me well, because she led me directly over to a rack holding a blazer that I instantly fell in love with. Shot through with multi-colored threads, it would go with literally anything, and it fit me perfectly. It was a fairly bold fashion statement—a highly memorable article of clothing—and so I said I would buy it on one condition: that they send the other two like it to a Ted Baker store in another city. I didn’t want to run into someone else in Boston wearing the same jacket (which is why I generally shop for clothing only when I travel).

 

In the meantime, I was introduced to Paul Griffin, the executive vice president of U.S. retail, and Ray Kelvin, the eccentric designer behind the brand. (The stories as to why the camera-averse and press-shy Kelvin chose to name his fashion line Ted Baker range from that he thought Ted Baker sounded more quintessentially British to that he wasn’t confident it would succeed and therefore didn’t want his name associated with it.) I repeated my condition for buying the blazer, and both Griffin and Kelvin said, “We can’t do that.”

“Of course you can!” I argued. “You own the company! Just send the other two to Los Angeles or Miami.”

They said something about inventory control and it being a limited edition and an understanding between the company’s stores, blah, blah, blah.

“Fine,” I said. “I’ll buy the jacket anyway, but if I ever see anyone in Boston wearing the same one, I get to come back here and go for a $795 shopping spree (the cost of the blazer).” They both agreed to the deal and shook on it.

Last Thursday, I was (coincidentally enough) at Community Servings’ annual Lifesavor gala at the Langham Hotel, deeply engrossed in conversation, when Sam said, “Someone just walked by wearing your Ted Baker jacket.” Without so much as an “excuse me,” I bolted after the person. (Apologies to Jennifer Kim, Jack Ribakoff and Roseanne Mercer, but 800 bucks was at stake.) Weaving through the crowd, I finally caught up with the man, whom I was fully prepared to hate on sight but who turned out to be my old friend Tom Weisend (pictured here, wearing the jacket).

I told him him the story. He said that he had bought it at the Ted Baker store in Boston around October of 2009 and that he probably still had the receipt. I gave him a big fat kiss and said, “You just won me a $795 shopping spree!”

Now I just need Ted Baker to make good on the deal. And I should probably buy Tom Weisend a little something.

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