Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Letter to an Apparel Distributor Concerning Durability

Dear Old Navy,

Er, you dumb, fat, chimp-like, uh. I don't know. Crack-head, idiot.


I recently bought two pairs of pants from one of your local stores here in town. I chose brown and browner trousers to replace my cargo pants that got a good healthy dose of rust from the last load in our aging washing machine. The pants purchase was a two fold act of acquiring attire that wasn't stained and trying once again to buy clothes that actually fit me. I tend to buy clothes under the pretense that I am super-gigantic and end up with legs that appear to just stop at the ground with no discernable taper or knee, like my freakishly long thighs are waiting for my real legs to attach to form some sort of Voltron robot/pro basketball player.

All was well as far as selecting and sampling your apparel in the store, so a purchase was made along with some shirts to commemorate the first time I had gone out exclusively to buy clothes for myself in about two years. Up until about 3 days ago I was pretty satisfied with my decision. Then I had a malfunction.

I say malfunction, but it was really the inevitable thread failure due to poor seam design by some overly ambitious clothing engineer. You see, these pants have a couple of superfluous pockets, as is the signature affliction of all Old Navy brand clothing, and usually I welcome the new and interesting operation of finding just what will and wont fit in my new cloth receptacles. But, my fun was cut short when your three-times-too-long change pocket, which is located inside my front right pocket, had a low level fashion hull breach and left half of said pouch free to flap around inside my pocket.

Oh dear, this won't do.

Let me give you a little background about me and clothing. Actually, cloth in general. You see, cloth has to lay flat against things. It can be curved and turned and folded as long as it isn't wrinkled against the surface it inhabits, wrinkled meaning that the fabric has unintentionally folded over on top of my skin.

Wrinkling or unintentional seaming is not to be taken lightly. Joe Haldeman even made wrinkles a cause of death in his book [b]The Forever War[/b]. So, to avoid being crushed by inertial pressure in my sleep, my towels are hung flat or laid on counter tops, bedding is properly laid out and stacked on the bed before I lay down to sleep, and pants pockets are stretched out to fall exactly as intended.

When your foolishly arrogant change pocket unraveled when I tried taking money out of it, imagine the same kind of reaction that Winnie the Pooh had when he tore the seam in his butt. Except, in place of the gentle, "Oh bother," out of a cute little bear, imagine a more appropriate, "Mother Fucker!" bursting out of a sleep deprived troll in the middle of Data Processing.

It would be an understatement to say that this ruined my day. These are damaged pants. I think the only thing that would take my mind off of them is if the damage had come from a bullet flying into my hip. Even then I wouldn't be surprised if I would be peeling the oxygen mask off of my face as I was lifted into the ambulance pleading, "no, no save them. New pants."

And do you know why I can't stand having slightly damaged clothing? It's because it means that I have to try and fix them.

Growing up with a father that could be gone for 6 months at a time means I know how to sew. With no one around to question my burgeoning manhood I didn't think twice about spending my young evenings cross-stitching with my mom while we watched Murphy Brown. I once even made a passable batman with no template to follow, but, as I got older I realized that I couldn't work cross-stitching into being "cool" along with all my smoking and listening to the Doors.

So, the dilemma arises that I know enough about sewing to repair my clothing, but am so out of practice that everything I mend is like some sort of fabricated Rorschach test. It's like a witch cursed Woody Allen to become a spider by night and half-ass together all of my trousers and polo shirts. To look at my handy work you would ask me if one of the elf cobblers was fired and had to get work in jeans and khakis to feed his family in today's inflating fantasy elf market.

Well, it was either that or the cookie tree but they're always striking over health insurance. Magical elf fathers need more stability than that.

I know that it is only a matter of days, perhaps hours, before I sit at my kitchen table with a tiny clear box of needles and thread and start the confusing task of repairing a pocket located inside of another pocket. I will have big plans for exactly how to make my stitches small and professional; confident it will look like it was sewn that way on purpose.

But, undoubtedly, I will end up making a couple of big, different colored "X's" which will effectively seal the breach, but, ascetically, make my right hip look cartoonishly deceased. That's if I'm lucky. In all honesty I'll probably spend most of the night delicately re-opening the pocket I've just sewn completely shut.

All of this adds up to make me thoroughly disgusted with the "sewmanship" work on my pants. My wife tells me that these things happen. I wear pants everyday and am rough on my clothes so I should expect rips and tears and unravelings. That's fair enough, but after only two or three weeks? Come on, I work tech support, I'm not [i]that[/i] hard on my clothes on a day to day basis. If I'm doing home repairs or yard work I wear jeans, and [i]they[/i] don't rip. Why can't your pants hold up to office work? What demographic were you going for when you stress tested these garments? Paraplegic? Coma patient? Burial clothes?

I'm not asking that they withstand an explosion but they should be able to withstand a dollar seventy-five in change. Most of that was quarters. You have to understand that some of your customers are going to be paranoid and neurotic; that a small failure in one quadrant of my attire means to me that another is not far behind. So, I'm not only worried about the pockets, but now I'm questioning every seamed surface there is.

How long before I bend too hard to sit at a restaurant and tear the inseam right up the middle? My exposed scrotum hitting the cold pleather of the booth seat at the Macaroni Grill sending me reflexively jumping into our table. The impact would send our pitcher of iced tea hurtling towards my wife who would instinctively duck, letting the heavy glass container strike the back of the head of the man in the booth next to us. The impact would send his head down toward his plate with enough velocity to completely impale the tines of his fork deep into his face, pinning the crab stuffed mushroom he was trying to enjoy between the table and his fucking forehead.

Is that what you want? You want that man's blood on your hands? I didn't think so!

So let's make a deal Old Navy. You want me to get my Fash' On? Why don't you get your Quality Merchandise On first, you fucking dingleberries.


Chiggie Von Richthofen

Dreading the day he kills someone with his bare testicles