Here was my dilemma. I was at the new consignment shop by our house, the one where I took some clothes last month despite my long-time vow of, "I will never be so badly off that I have to sell my old clothes rather than give them to Goodwill" because I realized that the sale price would be higher than the tax deduction and I'm just greedy like that, so sorry, people in the third world to whom Goodwill would have shipped my perfectly good but just a wee bit tight skirts and overcharged you yet destroyed the local market. You'll just have to buy local and support your friends and neighbors who make clothes. It's better for your community.
Smoking. Shoplifting. What kind of misspent youth did I have? I'm in the green shorts; my sister is to my left. Yes, I used to be a natural blonde.
Because I was getting rid of my old skirts, I needed something new (=bigger) to wear and even though I am a gold digger, I waste SH's money on things like the Good Shampoo, the Good Salt and the Good Coffee. Clothes? Used is fine with me, especially when I can get something I wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise. You guys know I am a cheap snob. It's not a contradiction at all.
I found three skirts, all made in India, which I have now come to realize is not the capital of high-quality zippers. I tried on the first two, but couldn't move the zippers at all. They were stuck. Bad zippers.
Then I tried on the third. The zipper came up.
But it wouldn't go down.
Well I can fix this. I used to sew almost all of my own clothes, which led to some fashion disasters like the green crinkle cloth sleeveless jumpsuit, but we will not speak of that here. (Yes, I did. When I was in high school. In college, I discovered retail, but I sewed several outfits for formal events for my friends and myself.)
I cautiously tugged at the zipper. No luck. It wouldn't move. It would be easier to work with if I removed the skirt. Oh. Well. That's an impossibility as my hips>waist. Back to gentle tugging. Then not so gentle. I got the slide to move, but only one side of the zipper came with it. Now I had a zipper that was unevenly distributed, which is a graph that would be great for wealth, intelligence and health as long as it were all on the right but does not work so well with closure devices.
I pulled up on the short side to try to force it to match the long one, but all that happened was the skirt tore.
Oh happy day. Destroying property that does not belong to me.
The good news was that I could finally remove the skirt.
But what do to with it? Sneak it back onto the rack? Buy it and replace the zipper, which I could do but man, it's a pain in the neck.
I debated. I debated longer than I should have. Shame on me.
But then I decided that I, who shoplifted three pieces of Double Bubble gum from the base convenience store when I was in third grade and felt so guilty about that the next day, I dropped 15 cents on the floor of the store to pay for the gum (which was more than it cost, now that I think about it, but maybe I was leaving interest and penalties), could not live with the telltale zipper and showed it to the clerk.
"I broke this," I told her. "How do you want me to pay for it?"
She looked. "It's been on the sale rack for a while," she said. "Maybe it was already broken." She put the skirt on the counter behind her. "Don't worry about it."
"Are you sure?" I asked.
She nodded. "Cheap zipper," she said. "Really. Don't worry."
Well. Sometimes it pays to do the Right Thing.
Photo by my mom, the Big Factotum