Awhile back, I purchased a pair of these black corduroy/chino hybrid pants from the Levi’s Store in Chicago. They cost me $80. Yes, I am a person who will pay $80 for a pair of pants. This may be shocking to some people as I have a reputation for inquiring about drink specials and ordering off the dollar menu.
I would love to explain in great detail on how I view money and why I am willing to spend more on one thing than another, but all you really need to know is that when it comes to buying pants, I don’t fuck around.
The salesman (who sold me the pants) was coincidentally named, Jay. We got along great, which was odd because I don’t get along with many people. I am not a jerk or anything; it’s just that most human interactions fill me with anxiety, and therefore, are typically avoided at all costs.
Jay, however, did not fill me with anxiety. If anything, there was a familiarity (deeper than our names being similar) between us that made interacting with him easy. There was also the possibility that Jay was a really good pants salesman and our special connection was just another sale to him, but due to my amazement over our instant friendship, this dreadful thought never crossed my mind.
After trying on my usual pants sizes (32, 33, and 34) to no avail, Jay suggested I try a size 31.
“31,” I said. “I haven’t been a 31 in years.”
Jay handed me the pants. “Give ’em a shot.”
I reentered the fitting room and slipped them on.
“Lookin’ good,” complimented Jay as I stood in front of him.
I lifted my shirt a bit and tugged at the waist. “They seem a little tight.”
“Really?” Jay asked. “They look good to me.”
I left the Levi’s Store feeling accomplished. I successfully purchased a new pair of black corduroy/chino hybrid pants. And I was a size 31! Things were looking up.
Things immediately began to look down after I returned home and realized that I was still obsessed with my old pants (mainly do to their high comfort level) and even though I just dropped $80, wearing the new pants was out of the question. I set them aside for future use.
Months later, when my obsession with my old pants began to fade, I looked toward the future. The problem was that the future felt even tighter than I remembered. Thankfully, I had the receipt and never removed the sales tags, so when I finally traveled (future pants in hand) back to the past a.k.a. the same Levi’s Store in Chicago, I could get a refund and go back to living in the present.
“Unfortunately,” said the female sales associate, “the pants were purchased in January, so you no longer qualify for a refund.”
“Can I get store credit?” I asked.
“Yes, but the pants have been discontinued, so we can only credit you $30.”
“…ok,” I mumbled. “I can’t wear them anyway. Do you mind if I look around?”
As I got lost in a sea of pants numbers, my mind unleashed on me for waiting so long to return the pants.
I hope you’re happy!
$50! You are out 50 fucking dollars!
Size 31! HA! Keep dreaming!
I tried on a few pairs but none of them fit right. Too baggy. Too tight. Long crotch area. I was also on another one of my anti-jean kicks, so my options were limited.
FUN FACT: I went through high school and college without wearing a pair of jeans.
“Did you find anything?” asked the cashier upon my return.
“No,” I said.
“So would you like a $30 gift card?”
Since my mind wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of getting $30 for an $80 pair of pants, I had a change of heart.
“Actually…I think I’ll keep the pants.”
Flashback to about two months ago, I am writing at the Mokena Public Library in Mokena, Illinois, with the black corduroy/chino hybrid pants and doing my best to stretch them to a more comfortable fit. Writing is painful enough. Try writing with a pair of extra tight pants. Have you ever had your hips strangled while you stress for hours over a four sentence paragraph!? It’s not fun! After a day of pants stretching, I couldn’t take it anymore and gave up. So now, not only am I out $50, but I am also out $30 as the store tags have been removed due to me believing that I could stretch the pants to a more comfortable size.
The overall lessons learned are as follows…
Lesson 1: Do not buy size 31 waist pants from any easy to talk to salesman with a similar name ever again.
Lesson 2: Return pants in a timely manner.
Lesson 3: Pants stretching is not easy. Just like anything worthwhile in life, it is painful. Not many people succeed. If you, like me, have purchased an expensive/non-returnable pair of pants that are no longer wearable due to tightness and are thinking about delving into stretching, I offer you two words of advice. GOOD LUCK!
If you would like to avoid Babushka Hell, please subscribe to my mailing list: