We’re plenty conflicted over this Times story about struggling young designers and independent boutiques. See, The Beggar advocates for you, THE CONSUMER, first and foremost. And we, no doubt, delight in telling you about every deal that this dour economy brings about. (We know, after all, it’s not only designers and boutiques suffering from severe monetary deprivation, or at least the prospect of it.) Still, in the bigger scheme of things, no worthwhile designers — and no one to sell you their wares — means no worthwhile clothes, no deals, no nothing. What to do about it? We definitely suggest keeping small, neighborhood shops top-of-mind if and when you’re in the market for whatever they’re selling — even if it is at a sharp discount. Apart from that, you might say a prayer to the retail gods, and hold tight for that divine rising tide to lift all ships.