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There’s just one essential purchase I have to make on the way to the press conference — and that’s the Financial Times. The FT is by far the best accessory a girl can have. Its major advantages are: a nice colour, price (only 85p.), and if you walk into a room with it tucked under your arm, people take you seriously. With an FT under your arm, you can talk about the most frivolous things in the world, and instead of thinking you’re an airhead, people think you’re a heavyweight intellectual who has broader interests, too.

So I stop at a newsstand and buy a copy of the FT, admiring my reflection in the window of Denny and George. I don’t look bad, I think. I’m wearing my black skirt from French Connection, and a plain white T-shirt from Knickerbox, and a little angora cardigan which I got from M and S but looks like it might be Agnes B. And my new square-toed shoes from Hobbs.

It’s a habit of mine, itemizing all the clothes I’m wearing, as though for a fashion page. I’ve been doing it for years — ever since I used to read Just Seventeen. Every issue, they’d stop a girl on the street, take a picture of her, and list all her clothes. ‘T-Shirt: Chelsea Girl, Jeans: Top Shop, Shoes: borrowed from friend.’ I used to read those lists avidly — and to this day, if I buy something from a shop that’s a bit uncool, I cut the label out. So that if I’m ever stopped in the street, I can pretend I don’t know where it’s from.

So, there I am, gazing at myself, thinking I look pretty good, and half wishing someone from Just Seventeen would pop up with a camera — when suddenly my eyes focus and snap to attention, and my heart stops. In the window of Denny and George is a discreet sign: SALE. I stare at it, my heart thumping hard. It can’t be true. Denny and George never have a sale. Everyone I know in the entire world aspires to owning a Denny and George scarf.
I swallow, push the door open and a girl who works there looks up. I don’t know her name, but I’ve always liked her: she doesn’t mind if you stand for ages staring at clothes you really can’t afford to buy. Usually what happens is, I spend half an hour lusting after scarves in Denny and George, then go off to Accessorize and buy something to cheer myself up. I’ve got a whole drawerful of Denny and George substitutes.

‘Hi,’ I say, trying to stay calm. ‘You’re… you’re having a sale.’

‘Yes.’ The blond girl smiles. ‘Bit unusual for us.’

My gaze sweeps the room. I can see rows of scarves, neatly folded, with dark green ‘50 per cent off’ signs above them. I don’t know where to start.

‘You always liked this one, I think,’ says the nice blond girl, taking out a shimmering grey-blue scarf from the pile in front of her. The girl looks at the label. ‘Reduced from $340 to $120.’ She comes and drapes the scarf around my neck and I stare at my reflection. I have to have this scarf.

‘I’d snap it up, if I were you.’ The girl smiles at me. ‘There’s only one of these left.’

‘I’ll have it,’ I gasp.

As she’s laying it out on tissue paper, I take out my purse, open it up and reach for my VISA card in one seamless, automatic action — but my fingers hit bare leather. I stop in surprise and start to rummage through all the pockets of my purse. And then, with a sickening thud, I remember. It’s on my desk. How could I have been so stupid?

‘How would you like to pay?’ she says pleasantly.

‘I’ve just realized I’ve left my credit card at the office,’ I stutter. ‘Can you hold it for me?’ The girl looks dubious.

‘For how long?’

‘Until tomorrow?’ I say desperately. She’s pulling a face.

‘I’m afraid not,’ she says. ‘We’re not supposed to reserve sale stock.’

‘Just until later this afternoon, then,’ I say quickly. ‘What time do you close?’


Can you hold it until then?’ I say. ‘Please? Please?’ The girl relents.

‘OK. I’ll put it behind the counter.’

ВОПРОС 1: The author bought an issue of Financial Times because …
1) it was cheap.
2) it was a nice colour.
3) it made her look prettier.
4) it made her look more intellectually advanced.

ВОПРОС 2: In paragraph 2 the author describes her outfit in such detail because
1) she was going to an important meeting.
2) a photo of her was taken for a teenage magazine.
3) she is fond of shopping.
4) she scrupulously remembers the origin of all clothes items.

ВОПРОС 3: When the author sees a sign SALE in one of the shops, she feels …
1) surprised.
2) blissful.
3) disappointed.
4) confused.

ВОПРОС 4: According to the text, a Denny and George scarf is …
1) part of the author’s clothes in the drawer at home.
2) something the author is wearing at that moment.
3) something the author has always wanted to buy.
4) something the author has already bought.

ВОПРОС 5: The author can’t buy the scarf because …
1) someone has already bought the one she wanted.
2) she hasn’t got any money with her.
3) it’s too expensive.
4) she left her VISA card at home.

ВОПРОС 6: According to the text, the author …
1) doesn’t want to buy the scarf.
2) will come later the same day.
3) will come the next day.
4) wants a bigger discount.

ВОПРОС 7: The word ‘relent’ means …
1) soften.
2) surrender.
3) give away.
4) reply.

ВОПРОС 1: – 4
ВОПРОС 2: – 4
ВОПРОС 3: – 1
ВОПРОС 4: – 3
ВОПРОС 5: – 2
ВОПРОС 6: – 3
ВОПРОС 7: – 2