I've always thought of myself as a pretty clean person. I'm sure there was a phase in my early teenage years when I could probably have showered and changed my clothes more often, but I'm through that now and we're all good.
...or so I thought.
I took a couple of shirts back to John Lewis at the weekend. I bought them a little before Christmas, and had been a little alarmed to discover that they had noticeably shrunk in the sleeves after only a couple of wash cycles. What's the point in buying shirts with extra long sleeves if they shrink almost immediately? Easy care shirts? Pah!
I was initially greeted with great suspicion by the sales staff in the store. It's true that I couldn't find my receipt, but I wasn't really after a refund, and I definitely wasn't trying to do them out of any money. When the supervisor got out a tape measure and went in search of a new shirt to compare sleeve length with, I feared the worst. As it turned out, not only had they shrunk, but they'd also initially been packed incorrectly and weren't extra long sleeved in the first place. They swapped them with no further hassle, and everyone was happy.
Well, nearly everyone. I left feeling a bit hurt and baffled. In the course of examining the shirts, it became clear that one of them was "damaged" because it had a a dirty collar; a really crusty mark all the way around from one side to the other. But...but...but.... I've only worn that shirt about twice... It's literally just been washed and dried..... I don't understand. I can absolutely understand why this is a problem for a shirt I'm returning to a shop without a receipt, but I just don't understand why it's so dirty.
I shower at least once a day. I use soap and everything. How can I have such a dirty neck? I'm pretty sure that this didn't used to happen to me. Well, apart from when I was a skanky teenager, obviously..... but I'm clean now, damnit!
I feel hurt and... well... a little soiled by the whole experience. Perhaps I'm not the person I thought I was.
Mind you, this story has a happy ending for one lucky customer: as I was trying on the replacement shirts, the dirty shirts were left hanging over a rail near the till. When I came back out of the fitting rooms, one of them had gone. Apparently some guy had wandered over, seen it, checked the collar carefully for size (but apparently not for soiling) and then walked off with it. Mmm. Quite the bargain, I'm sure.