Shoplifting From American Apparel - Tao Lin

My friend Stacey gave me this book to read on Sunday. Although it wasn't particularly riveting, I found it to be a good enough literary snapshot of modern life.

Here's an excerpt from the book -

"I had a reading that night in Brooklyn. I wanted a nicer shirt. American Apparel has nice shirts. I went to American Apparel. The security guard who normally stands in American Apparel wasn’t there. I held the shirt I wanted and walked around. I saw a strange man holding a book two inches from his face with his eyes over the top of the book. The man was looking at me. I thought he was just being strange. Many people are strange. I walked out of American Apparel holding the shirt.

The strange man made noises behind me. I looked at him. He asked to see my shirt. “Do you work there?” I said. He said he did. “Do you really work for American Apparel?” I said. He said he did and showed me a police badge attached to a thing on a belt buckle under his oversize jersey. “Oh,” I said. We went inside. We went downstairs. They took my picture and put me in handcuffs. “Don’t steal from us,” said the manager. “Steal from some shitty corporation. We have fair-trade labor. I mean fair labor. We are subsidized by the government. We have goals that are aesthetically pleasing to the general public who wouldn’t ever use the word ‘aesthetically,’ which is part of why I think we still exist, or something.”

“I spend my money on even better places,” I said. “Organic vegan restaurants.” "

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1 Response to Shoplifting From American Apparel - Tao Lin

  1. Stacey says:

    I found it to be endearing enough to hold my interest for about 40 minutes of my flight from Melbourne to Auckland. It's not meant to be a book where lots of exciting things happen, but rather, as you say, a portrayal of living in the modern age. He speaks of everyday things like going to work, going out drinking and hooking up with babes, talking on gmail chat, relationships etc. Maybe these things aren't "riveting", but they carry with them their own kind of sincerity, because they are real things that we can relate to.

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