09 August 2014

Perils of Thrifting : A Law of Averages

The " Law of Averages" we discussed in our last post does of course have a converse side to it. When you buy old things, you are of course buying things which have been worn previously. There will be no real way of knowing how much they were worn, and how well the previous owner, or in some cases owners, took care of his garments. Sometimes, a great find doesn't last too long once you have it. It's especially true of lighter materials like cotton and linen. I've had no end of great shirts bite the dust after I've worn and washed them only once or twice.

After wearing it only half a dozen times, the trousers to my recently acquired seersucker suit have reached the end. Torn wide open, down the seat and partway down one leg, they are now irreparably damaged. Remember what I said about the difficulty of finding old seersucker in good condition? Well, turns out that's very true.I suppose it's partly my fault for wearing it to work on a night when I had to bend and lift a number of cases of wine, but it's disappointing nonetheless.

But that's really all it is, a disappointment, and a relatively small one at that. Perhaps it's my years spent selling perishable goods at my other job, but I've learned to accept that there will be a certain amount of inevitable loss that needs to be factored in here. The trick is to try to keep that loss to a minimum. And as the law of averages states, even accounting for loss, alterations, and mishaps, I still come out very far ahead. Plus, there always an element of chance involved, which I suppose is sort of fun, I guess. Beats hell out of satisfying that fix with scratch tickets anyway.

p.s. make with the fat jokes all you like. This happened two weeks ago, and I already heard them all from those present at the time, and of course Mrs. G and the children.


C.L. Young said...

Make the pants into a few bowties and a few pocket squares! It beats making them into dust rags for the house! Besides, at least you will have given the pants a new purpose than more trash for the land fill. Seersucker bowties are cool and they can be made cheaply, especially if you know a seamstress.

Joe said...

True. And at least this is a rare case where an orphaned suit jacket can be worn alone.

Old Barn said...

Er...., Bummer.

Loyal American said...

I am about to orphan a tan cotton suit jacket; the trousers hang from braces and fit to perfection, but the coat is too long and the shoulders rather boxy. A taller man may enjoy the jacket. I feel sure you will disapprove, however, Wardrobe; does this make me a bad person...?

Joe said...

Loyal American,

Regardless of whether I disapprove, I would never presume to judge the merit of a man's character based on something so mundane. You can go to Ivy Style for that.

Old Barn,


Marc said...

My wife has disassembled more than a few wearouts and uses the fabrics to make quilts.