less charming and more strange than your average blog

June 19, 2004

Calendar girl 

A few weeks ago, I noticed that one of my favorite shirts had a small rip in it, along the seam at the bottom of the right sleeve. After letting it sit in my closet for a long time and observing that it did not in fact heal itself, I decided to take it to a drycleaning place on Wednesday and see if they could fix it up.

When I got there, a young woman was talking her cel phone in the very back of the store, behind the racks of drycleaned clothing. "I'LL BE RIGHT THERE," she yelled, proceeding to talk on her phone for several more minutes. When she arrived at the counter, I asked her how much it would cost to fix my shirt. "Five dollars," she announced, which took me by surprise because that's more than a dollar per inch of rip and if that's her going rate for repairs, I'm surprised the woman is still in business. Inside my head, I stood my ground and said loftily, "That, madam, is bullshit and I will be taking my business elsewhere, thank you very much!" In reality, if someone gives me a free sample in a food court I have to eat there because I don't want to hurt their feelings by leading them on.

So I was slightly put off by the cost, but I supposed I could deal with it if that was how much it was going to cost for me to be able to wear the shirt to an important event that night. "When do you think it'll be ready?" I asked. The young woman proceeded to pull out a pocket calendar and studied it intently, as if I had suggested that we go out of town together for the weekend. She took out a pen and hovered the tip over Saturday, and then Friday. Then she looked at me and said completely seriously, "The absolute soonest I can get this done is Friday, and that's pushing it."

As I glanced over at the three-inch-long rip in my shirt, the woman put a large, dark circle around the date on her calendar. I almost felt a little bit guilty. Maybe I should have just given her the five dollars and fixed the shirt myself.

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