"PALM BEACH, Florida - Long before the number was redolent of bailouts and bank failure, David Neff decided that Trillion was the perfect name for his clothing store here on Worth Avenue, the town's boulevard of luxury retail.
The idea was to brace customers for the astronomical price tags - $6,800 for a sport jacket, $800 for a button down shirt - and to convey unparalleled opulence.
Then the meltdown vaporized the portfolios of multimillionaires here and, soon after, a beloved Wall Street wizard and Palm Beach homeowner named Bernie Madoff was unmasked as a fraud.
In Trillion, a lot of regular customers haven't been since Hurricane Madoff struck in December - including, of course, Mr. Madoff himself.
The last time he was here, he became enamored of a $2,000 pair of worsted spun cashmere pants, which Trillion didn't have in his size, and had to be ordered from Italy.
After the slacks arrived, but before Mr. Madoff could come by for a fitting, he was arrested.
'I remember I heard about the arrest and I went directly to the store to charge those pants on his credit card,' recalls Mr. Neff. 'But the card had already been canceled.'
So, what happened to the pants?
'They're in the racks,' Mr. Neff says, nodding toward the trouser section, 'over there.'"
David Segal, Poor in Palm Beach, or Feeling That Way, in:
The New York Times, Articles selected in Association with The Observer, 17 May 2009, p.7