Naruto had a secret. It was sly, cunning, and actually intelligent of him; so, it was quite unlike him and nobody would believe it. See, when Naruto was a child and people shopped for him, life was adequate. Oh, sure, his clothes were always a little worn and the colours faded and the patterns a bit, well, hideous. But they kept him covered and warm, and he didn't have to worry about buying them, so there was nothing to complain about there. His food was also adequate. Some things might have been a bit stale, but they were edible, acceptable. Not gourmet, but he never went hungry so he didn't complain.

But then everything changed. He was thrown out of the orphanage when he entered the Academy and suddenly he had to shop for himself. That's when all the problems started. When he bought his first set of clothes after having outgrown or outworn his last, they were wretched. They had holes and stains; and when they weren't just plain shit, he had to pay a fortune for them. He paid ten times the advertised price for anything that was in good condition or new. That's when he found his orange jump suit, which had been a bit big on him at the time, but had cost only a fraction of what he would normally have had to pay for something in such great condition – even if the colour was eye-gouging and certainly not suited for a ninja. He had to make sacrifices to be warm and look – well, look alright, if not completely stupid. So his clothes were awful, but as long as he bought things that would get the average ninja killed from the bold colours, or things that were no longer in style twenty years ago, he could make due.

His food, on the other hand, became something to be dreaded. Mouldy bread, expired milk, broken eggs, bruised fruits and vegetables. He got what no one else wanted because it was either bad or ruined. He tried to make the best of it, but during his first year in the Academy he nearly starved because he didn't want to have to eat something bad and get sick again. He was missing too many classes as it was, what with being kicked out or beaten up.

Naruto hadn't realized that these problems were only his problems. He'd thought that maybe everyone else might have gotten bad milk every once in a while; that maybe advertized prices were normally false. Oh, he knew he had it bad, don't think him entirely stupid, but he'd always sort of thought that someone had to wound up with those clothes or that expired food. It wasn't until a year after he started living on his own that he finally opened his eyes – and it was all thanks to the Academy that he did.