Quick. Think back to your childhood bookshelf. I have found The Land of Waldos and it is Portland, Oregon. Replace Waldo’s standard blue jeans with a pair a bit tighter; his red and white striped sweatshirt with a flannel or a cardigan; his cheerful grin with a scruffy young guy beard; his round, thin-framed glasses with square, thick-framed glasses; his hat with a smug sense of moral and cultural superiority; and his walking stick with a Toyota Prius (what kind of a monster doesn’t drive a Prius?*), and you have 85 percent of men aged 27-38 in the city of Portland.
They shop more conscientously than you, eat more educated than you, and vote more compassionately than you. Sure you may have an Apple laptop just like they do, but they bought theirs for superior reasons (give them an inch of moral high ground and they’ll take a mile), and not just to look better at their favorite cafe where they park their fixed-gear bike outside (if your bike has gears, get the HELL out of Portland) and sip coffee that you have never heard of and which they secretly hope you never do.
I don’t know how I’m not a millionaire yet. All I need to do is open a small market in some hip Portland neighborhood and listen patiently while my customers show me the new NPR apps on their iPhones. I’ll buy jars of natural peanut butter and replace the labels with ‘Bolivian Co-Op Mantequilla de Cacahuate.’ Portlanders will taste the difference in the identical peanut butter because it’s from Bolivia and housewives and Republicans have never heard of it. And I can mark it up 150 percent because… well, for the same reasons. Nothing is as delicious or thrifty as exclusivity.
With my millions I will buy the world’s largest SUV and drive around Portland until Prius drivers cast looks of scorn on me (it won’t take long or be infrequent) at which point I will throw hundreds of dollars of carbon credit vouchers at them with a bored look on my face.