Wednesday 30 June 2004

Not really Ready to Wear

My local dry cleaner
I have not been pleased with my local dry-cleaner for many reasons. At first you have to pay up front for a job you cannot guarantee would be up to standard.
Then, they do not seem to know anything about materials, you effectively are giving them carte blanche to perform a service you have paid for, that they cannot guarantee and you waived every right to complain by signing an "At your own risk" slip for anything that is vaguely of value.
Then, you take in a suit and it is treated as a separate jacket from the trousers, really, what is the point here? If perchance you have similar suits, there is no guarantee that they would be returned in the right pairing.
In fact, they never have been returned in the right pairing (the suits have proper and different but matching designer labels in the jacket and trousers), buttons have been broken and lost. It is just a lackadaisical approach to a service that should be a whole lot better. Pambo’s is the pits, in a fit of pique; I just had to mention the name of the place.
It really amazes me that the dry cleaner still gets any custom apart from the fact that they are a monopoly in my locality, they have nothing that enthuses me about their service.
A good example was when I did think of a situation where the service is substandard and what I would have to do. So, on that Monday morning I put on my suit only to find out that the lapel/collar was not pressed or ironed right. I took it back to the lady receptionist who could not see what was wrong with it.
Eventually, when she realised the error, she offered to have it corrected, which was fine, but I had to come back in two days. You must be kidding me, two days to sort out a simple ironing job. Did I lose my rag or what?
Anyways, that has lead to me seeking a better and sure service which hopefully has the service on-site. That is the problem with franchised outlets where they are just collection and delivery points, no added value service can be provided at best and no redress is possible in the worst case scenario, it is both a con and rip-off.
Shopping for a suit
So, on realising that none of my suits at home are nicely wearable for the fact that they need dry cleaning; the impulsive personality thought a spot of shopping is the done thing. So, here I was in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capital city of Gran Canaria some 30 or so kilometres from Playa del Ingles where I am staying.
The first suit shop seemed to have all I want, but there was no fitter or dresser who spoke English. Now, for a T-shirt, you probably do not need any assistance, however, for a suit, you need plenty - to ensure it fits right and proper and especially deal with the trousers.
Whilst, I would be willing to learn Spanish, I really cannot confidently pick up another language when I am still struggling to sort out my Dutch. So, this fell through and I moved on to the main store Corte del Ingles.
This fits nicely
Whilst the first store seemed to have an in-house tailor considering the number of pins I could see stuck in most of the clothes, this store seemed to have everything ready to wear, or so I thought.
First, the helper can communicate in English, I use communicate rather than speak and I hope you can understand the subtle difference. I ask for a black or grey suit, which are all single-breasted with 2 buttons. I presume double-breasted suits are going out of fashion, recently, I have seen none in the shops.
Well, it is size 52 in the measurements that use in Spain; I suppose that equates to 42 in the English fashion shops. One thing I have not conveniently converted to is the sizes for clothes from the English notation to the Continental European standard, I am learning.
So, I end up with 2 suits, which I try out, one fits quite well, but the trousers need adjustment, the other was a something of an off-suit, I tell the helper and he recognises that fact. As for the trouser adjustment, I had to return in 3 days for it. Let me just assess this carefully and considerately.
I have just visited a "Ready to wear" shop with a formal clothing department. There are no bespoke services or fitters about, which would imply I could get a complete suit and walk out of the shop with my purchase.
Contrast this with my buying a watch with a linkages strap, we do a fitting and decide 3 links have to come off, in 15 minutes this is done by the in-house horologist. I pay and I have my purchase. One would think a trouser adjustment would take at most an hour using the in-house tailor.
From another perspective, if I pay about 400 Euros for a suit in a Ready to Wear shop, I expect to take it out with me, in a bespoke shop, it is understandable that you are being measured, checking the material you want from cloth and probably need to give it a week for completion.
The whole idea that on buying the suit, I have to seek out a tailor to shorten the length for another 20 or so Euro is too irksome to contemplate though I suppose I would still end up getting the suits anyhow. Logic, bargains and commonsense have colluded in an unholy alliance at variance to my reasoning.
My advocacy is for in-house services from dry-cleaners, watch sellers, suit and formal wear shops, even leather goods shops would punch new holes in your belt, or the shoe repairer would do it all whilst your wait, so should other services for the convenience of the many like me who cannot wait to see what you have already paid for transmogrified into something you wish you had not purchased.
A market opportunity is hereby revealed to those with the acumen to exploit a too obvious opening.
Phew! Shopping could be such a chore.

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