A Philadelphia Legend on Life Without a Computer, Email, or Facebook
Halloween icon Henri David on running a business in the digital age.
No Computer? No email? That’s no problem for Philly legend Henri David, who says you really need to get off the grid.
Philadelphia magazine: Have you really never had a computer?
Henri David: Nope. I was tempted once upon a time, but I’ve seen people get computers and go down the rabbit hole and disappear. It frightens me. In the jewelry store [David owns Halloween], we don’t use computers, either.
Does the absence of one hinder you at all?
Not in any way. Friends gave me a cell phone, which I only use when I travel and for photos. The day I got my cell phone, Stevie Nicks came into the store for her semi-annual shopping spree, and she had just gotten the exact same phone, so she took pictures and I took pictures, and she sent me hers and I had the guys send her mine. I don’t know how to do that.
I’m just trying to imagine my life without, say, email.
I write letters. I use a pen and a paper and a stamp. And I don’t have to lick the stamps anymore, which is cool.
Have you ever even seen Facebook?
Oh, people show me all these things. I just think it’s all really weird.
So I’m assuming that Halloween doesn’t have a website or an Instagram feed — things that are now more or less required in the fashion world.
Oh, goodness, no. People ask me all the time if we have a website. No. Well, how will I see the jewelry? I don’t know, do you think you could come to the store? It shocks me that people buy personal things like jewelry without seeing and touching them. … And I only take cash or checks. No credit cards.
But what’s behind all this, really?
I understand that computers can, say, store information, and that’s great. But what happens when you push the wrong button? Bad things. The electric company tells me I didn’t pay my bill. … I say, “Honey, I have the canceled check in front of me!” But no, I didn’t, because the computer says otherwise. Or maybe somebody presses the wrong button and I just don’t exist!
Published as “No Computer? No Email? No Problem.” in the January 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.