Adventures in Cottons, Cashmeres and Silks
Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
301Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
An Hoi Hotel, Vietnam
I needed a new suit. Our hotel, the An Hoi recommended a particular shop so Ellen and I rushed right over. Ellen chose the colour. The sales person/tailor took the measurements and told me to come back the next day. Over the following 24 hours, Ellen made five purchases at four tailor shops. She ordered a pair of cotton slacks from my tailor. When I came back to pick up my suit the next day, the fit couldn't have been better
The next morning we went to Ellen's shops to pick up her blouses, jackets and slacks. One after the other, the fits went from bad to horrible. In one particular instance she put on a pair of slacks -made by my tailor - that were a full two centimetres too tight around the waist. And the pant legs looked as though she'd stepped into a Loblaw's grocery bag. The tailor/sales person said she would make the necessary alterations and that we should come back at five o'clock.
There was something about the promise that didn't make sense, but I couldn't put my finger on it. When we returned, I didn't think the alterations looked half bad. Ellen, who's far more particular about what she wears was still unhappy. Then I noticed what hadn't made sense. The arse of her slacks had to be taken apart and re-sewn to make them larger. Duh! I showed the tailor the sewing mess. She asked Ellen to take the slacks off, then rushed into the back, before I could stop her.
“Where the hell did she go? I asked her associate
“She use iron,” the woman said.
“That's not going to work. You cannot iron away stitch marks.”
The associate looked at me strangely. Suddenly her English wasn't working.
“Holes in cloth,” I tried again, “you cannot iron away holes in cloth.”
It was now twenty minutes to six and I was getting hungry. The ironing of course had done nothing to fix the problem and now Ellen was trying to argue the matter using logic. That wasn't working either. She was starting to become upset. It wasn't so much the money, but the frustration of such little success in getting something, hell, anything that fit her. And of course there was the principle of the whole thing.
It was just before six o'clock when I excused myself and asked if I could speak. Heads nodded. I showed the woman my watch and pointed to the time.
“It is five minutes before six o'clock,” I said
The two women spoke rapidly to one another. Phone calls were made. Moments later a man and woman came into the store and began examining the slacks.
“You have two minutes to make your decision,” I said to the same woman I'd been dealing with.
The man pulled out his wallet and handed me Ellen's money. Not another word was spoken as we turned and walked away.