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Profiteering ghouls have been using debit cards distributed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina - intended to buy essentials for evacuated families - in luxury-goods stores as far away as Atlanta.
"We've seen three of the cards," said a senior employee of the Louis Vuitton store at the Lenox Square Mall in affluent Buckhead, who asked not to be named. "Two I'm certain have purchased; one actually asked if she could use it in the store. This has been since Saturday."
The distinctive white cards were distributed by the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and carry a value of up to $2,000.
"It doesn't say anything on the card other than alcohol, tobacco and firearms cannot be purchased with it," the store employee told me. "There's nothing legally that prevents us from taking it, unfortunately. Other than morally, it's wrong."
The source told me that the two women who had made purchases with the card each bought a signature monogrammed Louis Vuitton handbag in the $800 range.
"They didn't look destitute by any stretch. You would never have said, 'They must be one of the evacuees.' ? The one that I dealt with yesterday was 20. She'll be 21 next month." The source described the reaction of other store-keepers in the mall - which includes luxury brands Ferragamo, Burberry, Judith Leiber and Neiman Marcus - as "outrage."
"It doesn't say anywhere on there, but it would have to be a good amount to be shopping in here," the source said with a dark chuckle.
-------------------- It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide
"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."
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