Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Tailoring Nazi/Russian Man

On nearly every New York corner there is a laundromat that advertises alterations.  So one would think that prices are fairly competitive in the tailoring business.  

I have some pants that needed hemming.  Due to the fact I have short legs I always need my pants hemming, and seeing as my mum lives a province (and right now an entire country) away from me, I am fairly adept at getting my pants hemmed.

So today I decided to run errands AND walk the dogs - which is always a bad thing to do.  Especially when it is 31 degrees Celsius with an unrelenting sun pelting down on your head.

I walked the three blocks (the long kind) to Court Street in order to drop the massive box I have for UPS off, as well as carry three pairs of pants in a bag and pull my slumping dogs who are not doing so great in the heat.  Needless to say by the time I got to Court Street I was a sweating mess.

UPS box?  Done.
Mr. Mop poop?  Done.
Brooklyn chase a pigeon and get his leash caught up in my legs so that I trip over?  Done.

Now for the pants.  

I chose a nice looking place (mistake 1), tied the dogs outside (mistake 2) and trundled in to the fitting room before asking for rates (mistake 3).

The tailor was a super sweet man with an incredibly thick accent that I assumed to be Russian.  But who knows, it would be any Eastern European accent, they all end up sounding the same when they yell at you.  Wait, I am getting ahead of myself.

So on went the three pants, and with each pant I got even more hot, more unable to whip in and out of the trousers because my skin was sticking to them.  The dogs were starting to cry woefully outside and the Russian/indiscernible man was telling jokes I could not understand.

Finally, all three on and off, time to drop off when he tells me it will be $64.  $64!!!!! WHAT?  WHAT?  In all my hemming life I have NEVER paid more than $12 for any one item, including a very complicated dress.  Suddenly I missed my little lady on 4th and McDonald.

I couldn't hide my shock, and the tailor, with his assistant, offered to do all the pants for $58.  Firstly, all those pants were bought on a sale last summer and aren't worth more that $20 each, so to pay $20 each to hem them seemed retarded.  Secondly, $64??  GAH!  The old me would have shrugged and slumped out of the shop, feeling horrible spending remorse but would rather that than saying 'no' and taking back pants.

But the new me would not do that.  The new me lied and said I would have to go home and check my Canadian bank account, wash them and then bring them back because I wouldn't want to hem them and then wash them only to find they would shrink.

Then all hell broke loose.  The tailor and his assistant started to freak out, saying I would not find better or cheaper (of which I said I think at least $12 per pair was what I pay for at home).  Then he started ripping out the pins so they flew in all directions (I had to duck out of the way) and screaming at me for wasting his time and not to bother coming back.  If I were to walk down to the other guy I would not find a better deal.  I was a stupid, silly cheapskate (or I think that is what he said).  And all this time, my dogs are FREAKING out outside because it is really hot and they can hear me.

The assistant crams my pants back into my bag, throws it at me and the tailor sweeps me away with his hand.  I race outside trying to flee the scene as fast as possible only to find Mr. Mop going ballistic, even as I scurry to untie him.  He is crying at the top of his screechy voice, Brooklyn starts his high-pitch barking, my sweat is dripping in my eyes, and the tailor is cursing me inside.

All in all, an unpleasant experience.  

On the way home, closer to the projects and unfinished townhouses that is my street, I darted into a tiny Chinese laundromat that does alterations.  I have learned to (a) ask how much first and (b) bring my dogs in.  Here?  $8 each!  That is a $40 difference!  

So I left two of them.  The only bad thing is, the woman barely spoke English so I hope my pants don't come back cut in half.  

I feel proud that I didn't spend $64 on tailoring but sad the Russian man swore at me in whatever language he spoke.  I also feel sort of sad that my pants are being hemmed by some Chinese and/or African-American lady who lives in the project and is only getting paid $5 an hour.  

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