Of course, that wasn't the only opinion. A 19-year-old student named Adrian, who's half-Venezuelan, responded to my offer a of a T-shirt by saying, "Why would I support a killer?"
It turns out he and his lunch companion, Guatemalan-born Vivian, had visited Cuba with a church group last summer. They didn't talk politics there but left with the impression that Che was evil. Macy's was right to stop selling the shirts, said Adrian, who didn't want to give his last name. "Through the propaganda of allowing people to see a killer, you're making it normal. Che wasn't normal."
Then, just outside Macy's, I ran into three high schoolers who would be my undoing. When I offered the shirt, one of them, a handsome young fellow, responded, "If I wore that at my house, I'd get killed."
"So you're Cuban-American?"
However, his two female friends couldn't identify Che. Told that Macy's had stopped displaying the shirts, one of the young ladies gave the day's most insightful response: "I don't think they were making major profits. If they were, they wouldn't have stopped selling it."
That's when the security guard collared me. I tried to sell him a shirt on the way out. ("You know better than that.")
So I headed home, having determined that Guevara was a hard sell in Miami.
But I was wrong. As I passed through South Miami, I turned the wheel right and headed into another megamall — the Shops at Sunset Place. After grabbing a few capitalist knickknacks, I headed for Urban Outfitters to buy a little something. There a pretty young store clerk named Mary Savage appeared and guided me to the T-shirts. Several had politically sketchy phrases such as "Jesus is a crappy scientist."
Then I spotted them. There in the pile were five gray T-shirts with the famous likeness of Che, whose face was partially covered in a chic outlaw's bandanna. Price: $28 apiece — more than twice the amount I paid on the Internet.
"Oh, we sell lots of those," Mary explained. "My best friend bought one."