The fact that the proprietor of “Kimberley’s Tailoring & Alterations” has received some good reviews suggests that she has a clientele that expects little, is easily intimidated and has no qualms about parting with a LOT of money UPFRONT—yes, you heard me—with no assurances that the job will come up to standards, other than the abrupt, obnoxious manners of the proprietor. “Kimberley,” I presume.
I entered “Kimberley’s Tailoring & Alterations” for the first time ever to have two new skirts shortened. Pinning the skirts for hemming proved a somewhat unpleasant experience. “Kimberley” made no particular attempt to advise on length, or enable me to properly see the length of the hem, vis-à-vis the shoes. She did, however, convey in her gruff, incoherent demeanor what she could NOT do for me, rather than what was achievable. Indeed, “Kimberley” made it crystal clear that her aim was not to please this customer, but to lord it over her. No matter, I thought to myself. We all have our idiosyncrasies. So long as she’s good at what she does, right?
Following the fitting, I headed to the counter. I expected to receive a slip—perhaps pay a deposit—and depart. Whereupon “Kimberley” informed me that I would have to pay her in full and UPFRONT. I said that I seldom pay in advance for a service I have not received, except when the government forces that on me, and I presume she is not working for them (she’d make a great TSA agent). If I pay upfront, I inquired, what recourse will I have should she botch the job? None, “Kimberley” conceded. How much did she want for hemming two skirts, I inquired?
ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY EIGHT DOLLARS! $138!
The skirts, although stunning and well-made (one even made in Paris), were bought on sale for $29 each (at “Winners,” in Vancouver, B.C.: thanks, Karen, for sending me there). I told “Kimberley” I would not pay $138 for hemming. And I would most certainly not be paying $138 in advance. I’d be prepared to pay a deposit, no more. Besides, with the full amount in her pocket, what incentive would she have to do a good job? I requested that she return the pinned garments, at once. I offered to pay for the time she spent pinning the skirts for hemming. More civilized and reasonable than that one can’t get.
Whereupon “Kimberley” became unhinged, clutched my PROPERTY (the skirts), refused to turn them over, and informed me she’d be removing the pins forthwith. I had stood for 25 minutes in her sweltering shop, being pinned for hemming. I saw no reason for her to be so irrational and undo the work. “I’ll pay you for your time as well as for a box of pins,” I offered. Again, I demanded she return my garments forthwith.
From there on it was downhill. “Kimberley” threatened to call 911 and claim I had assaulted her, because I had reached for my skirts, which she was clutching and refusing to return. I took out $20, put it on the counter, and demanded again that she give me my property, or else she’d hear from my lawyer. I promised that I would be committing the experience at “Kimberley’s Tailoring & Alterations” to pixels.
Finally, “Kimberley” relented. My skirts were returned and she yelled, running after me, “I don’t want your money.” Realizing she was making a scene outside, “Kimberley” retreated into the shop with the cash. Good riddance. I headed to the adjacent “Dirk’s,” where the service is always fantastic and the people genteel and gracious.
Incidentally, I had a similar experience with “Margarita Tailor,” also of Issaquah. I can only imagine that in both instances (“Kimberley” & Margarita), one is dealing with individuals from an authoritarian culture, who do not understand how free-market transactions work.