One year.

I had a crisis to deal with at work today. It was an all-hands-on-deck-camp-out-in-a-war-room-pull-in-the-big-dogs type of crisis.

It was not how I was I anticipating my Thursday to go.

Not unlike the same Thursday one year ago when I got "the" phone call that we should get to Omaha.

I was not anticipating that day's occurences either.

It's been a year. One whole year that 365 days ago I thought none of us would survive to see. I thought the pain in our chests; the inability to breathe; just might be too much for us all.

But here we are. Approaching July 22, 2011.

And we survived.
But not without being changed.


Short Life

On March 5, 2011, TFitch bought the Sunfaded Stanton Short from J. Crew on the Plaza in Kansas City. I know the purchase date and the style because we still have the receipt. I like the shorts--he bought them in a pewter-ish blue--but TFitch wasn't a huge fan. He thought they were too short. (They actually fit him and weren't baggie.) But as such, he wore them less than a handful of times.

But he did decide to wear them to my cousin-in-law's 40th birthday party on July 2. Looking dapper going into the bounce house, TFitch came out of the bounce house with 2/3 of his boxers exposed and a hole in his Sunfaded Stanton Shorts from the crotch to the hem.

This annoyed me. Yes, a 31-year-old man was in a bounce house. But other adult men were in the bounce house too and they didn't come out semi-nude. If these were shorts Trevor loved to death and wore everyday, that would be one thing. But they weren't. They were basically in new condition. I wasn't accepting that high of a cost per wear.

So I took them back.

I found the receipt and even the original J. Crew bag the shorts came to Sloppy Joe in, and last weekend I trekked back to the scene of the purchase. I explained the situation to the cashier. She had to talk to the manager. She came back and said there was nothing they could do.

I asked to speak with the manager.

The manager, Lesley I'd later find out her name to be, came out. She wasn't helpful. "The fact that they've been washed and worn ... blah blah blah ... " ... "we can't tell if their defective."

Not defective? Do I need to show you the photo of my grandma grabbing my husband's boxers through the hole in his shorts? (I didn't show Lesley, but I'll show you.)

My POV was simple:

These shorts are basically brand new. Minus the gigantic rip, you can tell they don't have a lot of wear and tear. I think it's unacceptable to pay $60 for a pair of shorts that lasted less than four months with minimal use.

Lesley still wasn't convinced. I finally told her that was fine; that I was done buying clothes at J. Crew. Why would I spend the money their store charges if more than likely the garment would fall apart after two to three wears. 

FINALLY she started to come around. She was pissed about it. I didn't care. She made it difficult. She scanned my credit card and my receipt and said there was no record of my purchase. She asked if I had returned them once before, which really made my blood start to boil. (Was she accusing me of lying?) She called the J. Crew batcave to have them look up the transaction. Amazingly, she gives them my credit card number and they can recite back to her that not only were those shorts purchased on that ticket, but so were three men's shirts and two women's tank tops.

Boo to the freaking yeah.

Five hours later and with mixed reviews of J. Crew, TFitch and I depart with a crotch-intact pair of Sunfaded Stanton Shorts that he probably will never wear because he hates the damn things anyway. And I'm fine with that. In the entire scenario, I wanted J. Crew to acknowledge they had a disappointed customer. The proof was in the pants. I wanted them to be disappointed that their merchandise failed. That they hoped it would never happen again and we'd be satisfied customers here on out. Instead the consumer had to fight for what they wanted. We had to ask for the manager to come out. We had to push her to give us what we wanted. We were honest and transparent with the story. We told you the shorts were in a bounce house, but they are chinos for crying out loud. You don't sell china dolls. And I remain strong on my point that other people were in the same situation and their (likely from Banana Republic) shorts didn't rip.

On JCrew.com, they post the following:

"Quality is our highest priority. Always has been, always will be."

Neither quality in their products nor their customer service were demonstrated to me last weekend. Maybe they should take a lesson from Zappos.com.