I bought a couple pairs of pants last week and as usual, they didn’t fit perfectly right out of the store. My waist size has shrunken quite a bit over the last couple of years, and now I’m fitting into Emo-tight pants, even though in retrospect I should have gotten something a bit more relaxed on the legs. Anyway, I needed to get the pants hemmed because while the waist was right, there was too much fabric on the legs. I’m a short guy.
My friend from work Pablo told me to go to a certain place in a gallery near the office because they charged $10 pesos per pair of pants and did a good job. I took both last week and after the tailor took the measurements, they told me $40. I said that couldn’t be, that my friend said it was $10 per pair. They played dumb at first and said no, never. I stayed firm and said that he definitely told me it was $10 pesos. They replied that they would lower it to $15 per pair and I continued to say no until they said they would give it to me for $12, but just this time. I said nothing and finally the woman said, “Ok, $10,” but made like she was doing me a favor. Never forget that you could at any moment be ripped off on something.
I picked up the pants later in the week and on Friday when wearing the jeans noticed that they were much shorter than I normally liked. Wearing low shoes would have to be out of the question, and in general I was uncomfortable. When I wore the khakis yesterday my co-workers laughed at how short the hem job was. It basically looked like I was wearing really long capris when I sat down. So much of the pant pulled up that even while wearing long dress socks, you could almost see to my calf. Standing up was ok, but the fabric was tight and in general, just made me feel uncomfortable.
I’ve slowly gotten used to changing my style in Latin America. No longer wearing baggy clothes, I actually now go for the smaller sizes (mainly because I’ve lost so much weight), and when I bought some new shirts last week I was amazed to find that I had to get Smalls and Extra Smalls. It’s embarrassing in the States to be so small, but here it just makes sense. You wouldn’t want to have to get enormous clothes or it would mean you’re fat. Even a shirt which I bought last year feels too big for me now, and I’m not truly comfortable unless the shirt comes down to my waist only. Long sleeves are out of the question. And as for a standard undershirt? No way. I used to wear that all the time until I was told how old fashioned I looked back in March. I slowly started to fade it out, and with the summer coming on, chest hair showing is in fashion.
So because my co-workers agreed that the tailors did a bad job, they said they would go with me to try and get it straightened out. They did the talking and even though I’ve been in South America for so long, I couldn’t keep up with it very well. At first the tailors claimed that there was nothing they could do and it was my fault for not measuring the pants myself before coming in. They also had no other fabric to give. The pants had much more fabric originally, and it went to some bag of scraps lost in space. The khakis could be fixed, they eventually said, but the jeans couldn’t. More complaining and haggling eventually got them to agree to try and fix them.
Though they talked to my co-workers, the tailors pretty much avoided my gaze, telling me that they had been screwing me around since the beginning. I’m wondering if because they couldn’t get double price out of me they were working me over. I have to really thank the guys from the office for accompanying me because if not I definitely wouldn’t have gotten the tailors to do anything. On Friday I’m supposed to go back and see how they came out. If not, there are a couple other options. As my co-worker laughed, I should just have them turn the pants into shorts. After all, summer is coming.