Friday, September 29, 2006

The Emperor’s Used Clothes

Earlier this week, my dry cleaner had a small delay which put me in the awful predicament of not having a clean, pressed shirt to wear to work. I had to choose between wearing one of the following:

  • The same shirt to work 2 days in a row
  • A VERY fancy white shirt my wife bought that should only be worn on weekend nights
  • A polo shirt with dress slacks

    Normally, this would be a no-brainer and I’d go with the first option. As luck would have it, the shirt I had worn was a distinctive cream color so there would be no mistaking it was the same shirt, different day. Now I didn’t actually talk to the dry cleaner as I got home late and was relayed the news via my doorman. I decided not to worry about it until the morning and see if my shirts would miraculously appear in the morning.

    When I confronted the dry cleaner, she was extremely apologetic. Then, something most unexpected happened. She offered to loan me a clean shirt for the day! I must admit I was weirded out by the offer. She reassured me that the clothes were clean and wouldn’t be missed. I asked her if she had ever loaned out any of my shirts and she got offended I would suggest something like that. Silly me.

    Anyhow, my skepticism quickly melted away when she bought out a beautiful Joseph Abboud 100% Egyptian cotton shirt. This was clearly a shirt my wife would approve of. Unfortunately, the neck was a bit too small and the arms were a bit too short. Since I don’t wear a tie to work, I could get around the first problem. I was considering walking around all day with my sleeves rolled up but it’s getting cold in New York and I would have looked ridiculous. The second shirt she brought out was a perfect fit. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as nice as the Joseph Abboud shirt. I was finally persuaded to take the well-fitting shirt when it was explained to me that these shirts had been abandoned by their previous owners and that I could just keep the one after I wore it. I wonder if I’m ever going to get my own shirts back or if in a few months, some other guy is going to be admiring a shirt that’s a little too big for him. With any luck, that guy will fit the Joseph Abboud shirt.

    Update: I got my own shirts back the next day and no one even noticed I was wearing a used shirt.

  • Comments:
    That is why I made a promise to myself-if I ever become a suit (at this point, if I ever get a job again) I will buy 10 of the same suits and only change the tie daily-simplify.
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