the dress shirt debacle

It's been a big deal week for Steve. His boss' boss, the Sales Director for North America, is in town checking things out. I don't know about you, but if I were Steve there would have been multiple episodes of stress dry heaving happening. In anticipation of his visit, I suggested Steve bring some of his stuff to the dry cleaners. Nothing like clean and freshly pressed to give you an extra kick of confidence right? Allow me to also mention that the guy coming is about as formal as you can be, with man accessories to boot. We will just call him extremely polished. Steve is a jeans and t-shirt guy who happens to wear a suit to work everyday. He takes care to look appropriate, but his boss clearly takes presentation to the next level and then two more levels after that.

He dropped some shirts off on Saturday and went to pick them up Monday afternoon. His boss would be coming in Tuesday and Steve had to look his VERY best Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Fancy lunches, cocktail hour with his team, an amazing dinner, and a 24/7 grilling by the visitor. The dry cleaner did not have his shirts. In fact, they had no record of them being received period.

I'll let that sink in.

I went into panic mode. He could make something work for Tuesday, but it was less than ideal. I went into damage control mode. He asked me to grab him something new at Kohl's. I briefly considered this, but then realized he was going to be out at dinner until after bedtime and I wasn't exactly in the mood to iron a new shirt on top of all my other single parenting duties. I had seen in my inbox that the Anniversary Sale was happening at Nordstrom and I dashed over there at the end of my workday. I found an amazing lilac shirt, deeply discounted, and a phenomenal tie to go with his navy suit. The salepeople snapped into action; launching a search and rescue mission to find his size in the back, then arguing amongst themeselves about which tie would be best, ripping open the packaging and ushering the shirt upstairs to alterations to be professionally pressed at no extra fee. I felt VERY taken care of and when I walked out of the store, I thought I had just saved the world. I hung it up in his closet and gave myself a high five.

Later that night as I sat typing away finishing the work I had put off to make my Nordstrom detour, Steve walked downstairs and told me, "it's a beautiful shirt, but it's the wrong size."

I had asked for the correct size, I had typed it into Notes on my phone and showed it to the salesguy before he started his mission. I never touched the shirt as it was ushered around the ties looking for the perfect match. I was disappointed that I had not in fact, saved the day. I was very hard on myself. I couldn't sleep I was so upset. This shirt had caused major chaos in my day.

Thankfully, this happened that night too. This is after three weeks of swim lessons at camp. Our non-swimmer now swims under water and fetches things from the bottom of the pool.

I made time in my schedule to return to Nordstrom the following day to exchange his shirt for the correct size. I thanked them profusely for going above and beyond to help me, but told them how disappointed I was when it turned out to be the incorrect size. I had not in fact saved the day. They took care of it immediately, got him the correct size. He is wearing it today actually, his boss' last day in Boston.

He actually shared the story with his boss, who I think found some humor in it. For a guy like him, the cleaner losing your stuff is his worst nightmare. Good news is the cleaner found his shirts and he picked them up yesterday. I'm hoping his new shirt puts a little spring in his step today, a boost of confidence, and a funny way to conclude the dry cleaning disaster story with his superiors.


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