This is why I don't buy nice things.
Let's start at the beginning: last winter, December of 2007 to be exact. I decided to buy myself a new winter coat because my old one was literally falling apart (because I was a skinflint and decided to buy the cheapest one I could find, but that's another story...or not because it's really boring).
I wound up finding a good, warm coat that fit me rather well and didn't make me look like The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And it happened to be on sale and I got to save lots of lovely money even though I didn't set out to.
I saved so much money I decided, quite uncharacteristically of me, to buy a second coat, a dressy coat. I went to Macy's and found a suede car coat that looked great on me and, miracle of miracles, was on sale. So I bought it. It was the most expensive thing I had bought for myself in a long time, even with the sale price, but I looked at it like an investment and reasoned I would only be wearing it for special occasions.
Fast forward to early Spring. Vance Excalibur, my freaky genius of a brother-in-law, earned himself a PhD in Chemistry from Penn State. The whole family gathered to celebrate the event by having dinner at a fancy restaurant. I wore my best clothes, including my suede coat.
For reasons I can't remember, I draped the coat on the back of my chair, instead of depositing it somewhere safe. Is that enough foreshadowing for you? Can you just guess what happened? During the course of the meal, a waitress stumbled while giving Daria her martini and sloshed half of it all over my chair, giving my precious suede coat a good alcoholic dousing.
Typical, I thought, just typical. The one time I buy something expensive for myself and take great pains to keep it clean and good condition, being very careful not to wear it at frat parties, dance raves or in close proximity to my children or the dog and still, somehow, it gets booze thrown all over it. I left with the address and phone number of the restaurant and the assurance from the manager that I would be reimbursed for my dry cleaning bill, but I was bitter.
A few weeks ago, The Viking needed a suit cleaned for an interview. I decided to try a new dry cleaner near our home. As I was running out the door, somehow, I remembered to grab the suede coat. I showed the stains to the young woman behind the counter, she explained she would do the best she could but because the fabric was suede, the stains might not come out completely. I paid the $38, tucked the receipt securely in my wallet for mailing to the restaurant and left the shop.
A few days later, The Viking's suit was finished, but the coat was not. I picked the suit up without incident. Then Dharma and Vance came to visit, then Man-Cub and I went to Chicago and I temporarily forgot about the coat. Today, I suddenly remembered I needed to pick it up. It hasn't been there even a month yet so I wasn't worried, but I was not prepared for what I found when I got to the shop.
They were closed. Okay, it was 5:30, some shops do keep ridiculous hours, even though I would assume the majority of people pick up their dry cleaning on their way home from work, but what do I know? But closer inspection revealed a much bigger problem.
It seems the store is closed indefinitely and for unknown reasons. There was a hand-lettered sign that said, "Call Landlord --- --- ----". And there were notes posted all over the door from disgruntled customer saying things like, "I NEED MY CLOTHES! I CAN SEE THEM THROUGH THE WINDOW!" There were even signs posted on the doors of shops next door, saying, "We do not know ANYTHING about the dry cleaners next door!"
So now what do I do? It seems this coat and I are doomed. Are the gods punishing me for splurging on myself? Is it proof that it was a foolish purchase? Oooh, maybe the coat is cursed, and that's why the store closed down! Maybe I don't want it back...
What recourse do I have here? I have a feeling calling that phone number is going to get me nowhere. There isn't any way the restaurant is responsible for reimbursing me for the entire coat, is there? Of course, I can still get the money back for what I paid to clean the hostage garment, but it irritates me that I may never even see it again!
Maybe I need to call the news? Where is 3 On Your Side when you need it?