’Tis the Season to Sell

In May, while driving from Los Angeles to the JCK show in Las Vegas, I decided to make a pit stop at the Tanger Outlet stores located off Interstate 15, on the outskirts of Barstow (a.k.a. Nowheresville). Judging by the six massive white tour buses stationed in the parking lot, I wasn’t the only one with discount shopping on the brain.While perusing the racks at Ralph Lauren, I was approached by a middle-aged Chinese woman in a white visor. She handed me a pair of socks and, in heavily accented English, asked about their price. I checked the packaging and told her—$3.99—at which point her expression turned quizzical.“Made in China?” she asked.I looked back at the socks, and sure enough, there it was: “Made in China.” I said yes to the woman and we giggled at the all-too-obvious irony.It was an eye-opening encounter. Busloads of Chinese tourists are right now streaming acros

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