That Time I Paid Too Much for a Jacket, and then Complained About it for a Really Long Time

Mar 4, 2024


  • I needed/wanted a black jacket.
  • I am a cheapskate.
  • I like shopping at thrift stores.

With those thrilling facts as a set up, I will now reveal to you that I one day found myself at the local thrift store, trying on jackets. There were several that a really liked. But something must have gone horribly wrong with their pricing sticker machine, because they were expensive. Like $40.00. $40.00! For a used jacket at a thrift store! Well, as I said, I'm a cheap skate, and I wasn't having it. So while they looked amazing on me, I hung them and their expensive pricetags back on the rack. 

Except there was this one. Black with faux leather accents. That was really exactly what I was looking for. And it fit perfect. It made my skin look brighter and my IQ higher. But it was $30.00. Still a ridiculous price for a thrift store. But I wanted it enough that I thought I might try haggling a bit at the register. Not something I've ever done before, but why not give it a try?

So I took my overpriced jacket, and my son took the crappy little porcelain music box he wanted to buy up to the register to purchase our wares. 

The music box had no price tag on it. I make my kids do their own haggling, so he said to the man at the register, "This doesn't have a price tag. So can I get it for $0.50?"

Register man called a manager over for approval, and the manager said, "This is a nice little music box. We'll sell it for $2.50." 

My son had $1.75 to his name. He said, "Oh. I can't get it then."

They said. "Ok." and set it aside, confident that some other compulsive hoarder would come along and buy their dumb music box. I rolled my eyes and told them to add it on to my purchases, because I thought they were being lame. 

But then it was my turn. I said, "Thirty dollars seems like a lot for this jacket. Is the price flexible at all?"

Register man said, "Of course!" and called over the same manager who doesn't know how to accurately price things. Manager looked the jacket over, checking the seems for secret veins of gold, and said, "I think we could do $20. No, $25.00. Yes. $25.00."

This is where I should have said, "How about $15.00?" since that was the far upper limit of what I was willing to pay for a used jacket with no recognizable label. But instead, I rolled my eyes again, and said, "Fine." and took my jacket lined with diamonds and my son and his music box and we went home where my son immediately ripped the musical mechanism out of the music box and threw the porcelain cat on the porcelain log away.

You probably think this story is over now, because how long can a person drone on about crap they found at the thrift store? but you are very wrong. 

Because the next thing I did was get the jacket cleaned. I bought it at the thrift store. I don't have a clue what sore of hijinks that jacket got up to before I brought it home with me. I wanted to wash all that hijinks off.  The label said Dry Clean Only, so I took it to the local dry cleaner, signed the little form promising that if the item was ruined I would not hold them responsible and went about my merry way.

A few days later I went back to pick it up, excited to start rocking my new black jacket. But something wicked had happened at the cleaning facility, and my faux leather sleeves were now stiff, flaking, plastic sleeves. I would never be able to wear it to the library or a funeral, for it was far too noisy.

Did I complain to the dry cleaning cashier. No, Brown Bear, I did not. I had signed the waiver. I could have yelled at her, but what good would it do? In the end, I knew I still would have walked out with a trash jacket they wouldn't take responsibility for. Besides, I am pathologically nonconfrontational, and so I said nothing and took my garbage jacket home.

It has been about a year. That's how long it took for me to come to terms with this, and not fly into a fuming rage every time I tried to write about it.

But here is the thing. The people at the Thrift Store, while they might suck at pricing things, and suck at haggling, they didn't deceive me in any way. They offered a used jacket, at a ticketed price. And I paid. I am the one that paid the price. Even before I sent it to the dry cleaners I was so mad about how much I paid for it that I felt a little sick. Who is the moron in that scenario? Me, that's who. The dummy who paid a price she didn't want to pay for something that no one was forcing her to buy. 

And whose fault is it that my jacket was ruined at the dry cleaner? Well, the dry cleaner, obviously, but that is why they make you sign a waiver. Because stuff like that happens, and it probably happens all the time. 

What is the moral of this story? 

Do you know? I don't. Maybe it is not to be such a cheapskate. Except if I was a TRUE cheapskate I wouldn't have paid $20 to have it professionally cleaned. 

Let's check back here in another year, and see if time has lent me any wisdom. 

But, since I mentioned it, why does WISDOM sound like WAS DUMB? 

Why did I buy that jacket? I don't know. I was dumb. I wisdom. 

You have to admit its problematic.