A few weeks ago I was complaining to Younger Blonde Sister Who Isn’t Rubi about how hard it was to find a pair of dark wash jeans that stayed that way (dark, I mean). She recommended that I get myself a pair of Levis, pointing out that the very dark pair she herself was wearing at the time were the aforementioned brand and quite dark AND at least a year old.

Great was my joy to discover that via Levis.com I could get a nice pair of dark wash stretch bootcut jeans in my size for 43 smackeroos, free shipping. The fabric was great — soft, stretchy, and lightweight, which is how I like my jeans — and they looked fabulous on. So fabulous that I threw my habitual mail order caution to the wind, pitching the paperwork, tags, and confirmation email. Then I washed and wore those babies. For about an hour. At which point they commenced to squeeze me in ways that usually require the other party to first provide, at a minimum, dinner at a nice restaurant and a couple of Dark and Stormys.

I reasoned that I might just be having one of those “stay away from fitted pants” days — as a person with ulcerative colitis, one learns that there can be variations in circumference that dictate, if not different sizes, at least different interpretations of the same size. But I’ve worn the jeans a couple of times, and the result is always the same. Comfy standing up, much much less so sitting down.

Now, if you’ll pardon the pun, I was in a real bind. I am trying to be a Super-Frugal Rubi, and that means, among other seemingly random spending rules (which also allow Cole Haan purses to be bought, but only for $100 and only on eBay), not buying the same pair of jeans twice. So I decided to call Levi’s customer service and see if they could help me. Boy, could they ever. The lovely person who took my call found and resent the email confirmation I needed to make my return, ordered me a new pair in the size I need, and waived the shipping. They’ll be here in time to wash, wear, and pack before I head off to Madrid. Bliss!

All customer service interactions should be so painless. All customer service persons should be so delightful. Anything less, in the current retail economy, is pure foolishness. (Orvis, I’m looking at you.)

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