If the suit fits . . .

I was honoured when I was asked to join the line-up for my friends’ wedding this weekend. I was very happy for him settling down and attended planning meetings and fund-raiser where all details were mapped out for the wedding. For the men’s line-up I went out with him to look for suit shops and I also found a great shop where we all ordered shoes from.

Today’s the day before the wedding, and I took the day off to help out with final preparations and rehearsal. I came to town and proceeded straight to collect my suit. The suit shop is a well-known place next to the City Market, and is run by a young Asian manager dude (MADE), assisted by an older mumbling Asian dude (MOODY). I had been there twice before – when the group selected outfits, and when I returned for my suit fitting. The suit was a beautiful navy blue, which fit perfectly and I had left it to be ironed and to collect later. The store does excellent suits and is highly recommended for impeccable service.

At about 10 a.m. I walked into the store and Made greeted me with a big smile.
I handed him by tag and told him I had come for the suit. We made small talk as he folded it in a bag, and also showed me the cream shirt and polka tie which the couple had selected for the rest of us to wear. Finally he finished, and handed me the carry bag – I said thanks, waved bye and turned to leave.

“Excuse me” he called out, “there’s a bill for the suit!”

I turned back in a bit of shock. The cost of suits had never been an issue in all the meeting and I assumed that the groom’s family had taken care of it, or they would be billed afterwards since they were after all regular customers of the shop.

There must be some misunderstanding about that I told him. I stepped outside and called my friend. The connection was very poor, and I didn’t know if he could hear me clearly “Hello, MADE says that the suits have not been paid for….hello,” – I could hear a lot of banging in the background, perhaps tents and tables being set up. “Hello…” finally I said “let me call you back” and hang up the phone.

I spent a few minutes outside the store doing some thinking. The family was incurring huge expenses already with this wedding. Also my friend probably had a million “to do” last-minute tasks on the day before his wedding, and didn’t need me to add to his list of problems. It appeared I was the only one who has not collected my suit. The suit itself was a great classic two button piece (not the 3 or 4 button fad suits which I generally don’t like). I resolved to take care of the problem right there and not bother him with it.

I walked back in to the store and talked to MADE.
“How much is the bill”
“14,500” damn! “That’s 12,000 for the suit and 2,500 for the shirt and tie”
“Do you take checks?”
“No cash only”
“Okay, I’ll be back”

I walked out, at 10:30 doing the sums in my head. 12,000 shillings ($160) is a lot for a suit, especially since I got one last month for 2,000. It’s an unexpected expense, but manageable since my salary was paid 2 days ago. I’d just have to push some bills back. I had 24 hours to find 15,000 shillings otherwise I’d be the odd one out at the wedding line-up – wearing the wrong suit. Too embarrassing!

First stop was my ATM. I checked the balance and it was just at the minimum 1,000 shillings. I checked again, but the “ledger” and “available” balance were both 1,000.

2nd stop was my office (on my day off). I went straight to the payroll clerk and interrogated her. “Have salaries been paid?” “When?” “Did you send mine to the correct bank” “verify my account number please” etc. she had done her job and was in the clear

3rd stop was my bank branch. I went in with my ATM receipt and explained to a customer service rep. (CSR) that my salary should have been posted the day before. “Nothing’s in my account, it’s urgent, could you check your computer? Maybe it’s in the bank, but hasn’t been posted to the ATM yet, yada, yada, yada.” He explained that salaries are posted electronically, there was no way he could check they system, and could I check back at 3 PM when they settled electronic transfers? 3. P.M. was about 4 hours away and 17 hours to the wedding, but there was nothing more I could do.

So I went out and did a few errands, paid for my wedding shoes, went to the library, went to a cybercafe, ate a chicken & chips lunch – and in between I checked the ATM a few more times. I even called my brother and arranged for one day loan as a backup in case my money did not materialise from the banking system in time.

At 2 p.m. I went back for another ATM check, and this time, there was some heart beat. While the “available balance” was still 1,000, the “ledger balance” had acquired another zero and some change. I dashed into the Bank and met another CSR who took my slip and told me they would try and enable “ledger balance” to equal the “available balance” in a few minutes. They told me to keep checking the ATM, which I did twice. At this point I was feeling a bit relaxed and even had a beer as I while I watched some England-Australia cricket on TV.

3 PM back to the ATM and voila, there was money available. I withdrew 15,000 and dashed back to the suit shop. MADE was talking to a Very Important Customer (VIC) so, I was stuck with MOODY. He put my suit on the table and looked at me (his cash machine for the day) expectantly.

I said “I want a discount” he said “we already gave you a discount”
“No you didn’t” “we gave you a group discount”
“I want a discount” “we already gave you a discount”
“No you didn’t” “we gave you a group discount”
“How much is the shirt” “it’s all inclusive”
“I want a discount” “we already gave you a discount”
“I don’t buy 2,000 shilling shirts” yet “wedding chose it”
“It’s just a white shirt, can’t be 2,000 bob” “it’s cream, silk, something-something shirt, wedding chose it”
“I want a discount” “we already gave you a discount”
“Fine, keep the shirt, I’ll take the suit and tie” “No, we opened shirt, ironed it, can’t be sold to anyone else”

At this point we were making a scene and MADE came over to investigate. I made my point clear and he said “fine, take the suit & tie, I’ll be able to re-sell the shirt, but I already gave the wedding a group discount”

He mumbled something to the MOODY and went back to VIC. I counted out 12,500 as I studied the shirt which MOODY was not pulling out of the suit. My cash quickly disappeared into his pocket and I said bye to MADE and dashed off to other shops to find a shirt similar to the one I had refused to buy from MOODY. “Was it cream or ivory? too many buttons, don’t want cufflinks, that’s too white.” Eventually I got one for 300 shillings, left everything with my brother and dashed off for the wedding rehearsal.

Immediately I met my friend, I even regretted calling him earlier on this busy day when he had so else to do. My suit is beautiful – it’s going to become my number one suit after the wedding – reserved for special occasions. Because it fits and I paid dearly for it.

11 thoughts on “If the suit fits . . .

  1. Nakeel

    ooooh broda pole sana for the ups n downs.. The best part is it is the best in your wardrobe now..
    Enjoy the weeding day and hope to hear how it wnet..

  2. Deno

    U seen wedding crashers?

    sounds like that suit will probly help you ‘lock it up’ in the ceremony..

    Great story telling..you should do it more often..

  3. Anonymous

    Totally hilarious!! Thank God you are not a lady and this stuck with a ‘odd’ coloured ballroom dress you will never wear again!!

  4. Mimmz

    albeit a little late for the comment, that was hilarious and completely reminded me of a similar experience. It involved a $350 wear once outfit, $70 shoes, same fate and a $120 “matching” hairdo that I detested with all my heart. That’s the last time I accept and allow myself to be a maid in any wedding.

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