Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Coat

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine gave me a coat that doesn't fit her anymore.  It's a funny thing about being a small grown-up; I still get hand-me-downs.  My friend was emotionally attached to this coat, and sad to be giving it away.  She didn't want to simply donate it to charity.  She wanted to give it to a Good Home.  I accepted the responsibility.

The coat looks a lot like this:

However, for reasons unknown, it has no buttons.  It has button holes, but nothing to put in them, nor any sign that it ever had buttons attached.

The first thing I did was take it to be dry cleaned.  (And to have the shoulder pads removed, because I have relatively broad shoulders already so the shoulder pads were total overkill.  It made me think of a quote from What Not to Wear, when Stacey said something like "Foxy lady?  More like boxy lady."  Anyway...)

When I went to pick the coat up, the lady behind the counter gave me a funny look.  I didn't understand why, until she started apologizing for the fact that the dry-cleaning facility had unaccountably lost all the buttons off my coat.  She told me that she was going to call the facility tomorrow about the problem, and offered to fix it for me, clearly trying to defend herself from my fearsome customer's temper, when I started to laugh.  

I explained the situation: that the coat had no buttons to begin with.  She was visibly relieved.  I told her I was sorry for not pointing out the state of the coat when I dropped it off.  I think it nearly gave her a heart attack.  She explained to me in broken English how astonished and confused she was when she realized that the coat had come back to her buttonless.

"Why?"  She asked me pleadingly, gesturing towards the coat, "Why no buttons?  How lose buttons?"

Good grief.

This coat has become quite the drama magnet.  In my determination to successfully rehabilitate it, I went shopping online for buttons, and ordered a style that I thought would be just right.  Six little buttons, for a grand total of $3.19 CAD, before shipping.  I figured they'd show up in my mailbox in a couple of weeks.

Well, it couldn't be that simple.  Firstly, the button vendor sent me e-mail updates at every stage of the process.  My order was received!  My payment was received!  The buttons are packed!  The buttons are shipped!  I have never received so many status updates for any online purchase.  Still, they seemed to take an awfully long time to get here.  I wasn't sure why, because most things ship to Toronto from just over the American border.

Finally, on November 10th, I received a notice that Canada Post had tried to deliver a package but I wasn't at home.  I had to go pick it up at the post office.  The little sticky note they left me said it would be available "Tomorrow after 13:00 h".  Fine.  No problem.  I stopped into the postal outlet on the way home.  But it was closed.  Whu...  Huh?  Why?  It's open later than that, isn't it?  On weekdays?

Except that it was November 11th.  Remembrance Day.  Right.

So the next day I went back, and showed my official government-issued photo I.D. and signed my signature on the dotted line in order to take possession of this precious little envelope of buttons.  Which could easily have fit into my mailbox.  Silliest shipping overkill ever!  At least I found out why they had taken so long to get to me.  The envelope was postmarked "Hong Kong".

The coat has gone back to the nice Asian lady to have the buttons attached.  I have every confidence that it will come out looking great.  (After all this, it had better.)


Warped Mind of Ron said...

LOL... why is it that after all that effort I can totally see this newly buttoned masterpiece getting lost at the cleaners?? Is it pessimism or my sense of irony?

Sparkling Red said...

Or next time they'll REALLY lose all the buttons off it, but no one will believe me. "Oh right, this coat, I remember it. It never had buttons. You're just trying to get buttons sewn on for free, you sneaky liar."

DarcKnyt said...

Oh, NOTHING must be SIMPLE. Why, simple would mean you place the order, the company ships the order, your delivery service delivers the order, the Asian lady puts the buttons on the coat. Where's the fun in that?

We recently ordered something for my daughter online, and it was coming from China. They told us it would take about 42 days to arrive. We got it in eight. They like to leave themselves a LOT of wiggle room, apparently. One never knows what can happen between departure and arrival, I guess.

Jenski said...

In my experience, hand me downs don't take quite so long to use. Looks like it's a great coat and can only be improved by being able to close it...I hope your friend doesn't think that buttons ruin it!

LL Cool Joe said...

Oh you got the above comment too!

Sorry but I'm really not impressed, can't you sew on the buttons yourself? Even I can sew on buttons!

So many things come from China now. I've just bought some new jeans and they sent me an email to say that I'll receive them in 30 to 50 days, I'll be lucky if I get them by Christmas. I can only assume they are coming via a boat or Mars.

Jameil said...

Lol. Every time I buy something from Etsy, I get a million shipping updates like that. Thankfully my carrier always just left it in the box. This raised so many American curiosities for me! Remembrance Day is like Veterans Day here? What does a Canadian license look like? A post office? I feel like there were more...

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: Yes, delivery times are a real mystery. Usually things come more quickly than I expect, which is nice.

Jenski: If my friend decides to make any objections after all the trouble I've taken to rehabilitate this coat, that will be her problem! ;-)

Joey: Yes, I can sew on buttons perfectly well. However, in this case 1) as the coat had no previous buttons, there is no mark on the fabric to easily tell me where to place the buttons and 2) the fabric is very thick and difficult to push a needle through. Given these small annoyances, I decided that it was worth $6 to me to have it done by the nice Asian lady.

Jameil! Welcome back!!! :-) Yes, Remembrance Day is the Canadian version of veteran's day. The Ontario driver's license is a blue plastic card. The postal outlet is tucked into the corner of a large drugstore.

Vanessa T said...

LOL The poor coat never had a clue it would be the subject of such intense drama! Sounds like it was one of those mishaps in the original manufacture and it somehow got past Inspector #12. I don't blame you one bit for having someone else sew the buttons on - when it's one or two, fine, but a whole lot like that? Yeah, time to outsource! And hey, you got a nice coat for less than $25, so score for you!

Lynn said...

I was thinking - I never button coats anyway, so I'd just leave them off. But that being Canada and all...

Sparkling Red said...

Vanessa: It's a weird coat overall. There is no tag/label in it anywhere. Maybe it came from a sample sale?

Lynn: Yup, a coat is no use to me unless I can button it. Maybe someone who drives everywhere could live without buttons, but not me.

Granny Annie said...

You have several subjects to address in this one post. Is it about the coat? Is it about the missing buttons? Is it about shipping and all the notification? Is it about the Postal Service not leaving a tiny package in your mailbox? Thank I will just say wow and ask are you going to wear that coat?

G. B. Miller said...

Adventures in fun.

I agree, sounds like waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much overkill.