Update: Forced to Pay Too Much for Junk


This morning I walked out of the house without wearing a belt.

It was the first time I ever did that and I didn’t realize I was beltless until I got off the bus at Port Authority in Manhattan. Luckily for me, my bus terminal is right next to a shoe shine place that also happens to sell belts.

So I walked in, found a belt to my liking, and bought it. $19.96 plus tax. I felt like a guy caught outside in a New York thunder storm without any protection, forced to buy an overpriced piece of garbage umbrella from a random street vendor that is guaranteed to break within 48 hours (though they usually fall apart before you actually arrive at your destination on the date of purchase).

As I’m paying I mention to the gentleman behind the register that I couldn’t believe I’d walked out of the house without a belt. He told me it was a Monday morning thing. He said he sells more belts on Monday mornings than any other day of the week. He figures people are more likely to be a bit frazzled on Monday mornings and space out (an accurate description of yours truly this morning when I left the house).

He also says he sells more black socks on Monday mornings than any other day of the week. We’re having a tougher time explaining that one, and would love to hear readers’ thoughts, though one thoughtful MainStreet staffer posited that it might be due to unscheduled overnight visits of one variety or another.

Finally, in perfect fashion, about an hour ago I discovered that my new $20 emergency belt is literally coming apart. Right on schedule. It seems to have no stitching and the glue that’s keeping it together is about as strong as saliva … maybe it is saliva. So it’s just like the classic New York umbrella, with one major and important distinction: Unlike those umbrella street vendors who appear out of nowhere the second it starts drizzling, who you will probably never see again, I know where to find the guy who sold me the belt. So this evening, I’ll be paying him a visit and looking for a refund. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

UPDATE: I brought the belt back this morning and the guy who sold it to me immediately offered to stitch it up and reinforce it - an entirely fair and satisfactory outcome. He also mentioned that the belt might have started coming apart due to the extreme humidity yesterday, which I suppose is possible. In any event, there was no need to ask for a refund. Drago Shoe Repair in the Port Authority Bus Terminal has won my continued patronage (for shoe shines and repairs, thought probably not for non-emergency belt buying).

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