Thursday, July 9, 2009

Zipper Angst

As if I don't have enough on my plate with answering questions, looking for deals to Disney, and ignoring laundry, I have a pressing issue I've been confronting in the last week: zippers.

Jackson has countless jackets where the zippers are broken. Their dysfunctions differ. On some the end is broken off so. Some are near impossible to zip up. One has missing teeth. Others jam and require the jaws of life to extricate the boy.

I keep buying more and more jackets, not believing what bad luck we have. More than once we have been in the lets-go-we're-going-to-be-late-for-school-hurry-up-put-your-shoes-on-do-you-have-your-backpack-put-your-jacket-on scenario and it all comes to a screeching halt over zippers. Jacket after jacket is put on and then discarded into a heap over zipper issues. More than once this has caused us to be late for school. More than once the J Boy has gone to school without a jacket, with one inappropriate to the weather or in one belonging to his sister. It's bloody irritating.

In February, the J Boy had been wearing his snow jacket when the weather did not require it. When even that jacket, our last holdout in the working zipper category, failed, I was beat. After one of those mornings when zippers caused us all far too much stress, I went in search of yet another jacket and I was prepared to pay whatever it cost for a better quality jacket. I hypothesized that my buying cheaper jackets was the root of the problem.

I found a very nice light rain jacket. It was an excellent brand (Columbia) and on sale for the same price as I usually pay for inferior quality. I bought this better quality jacket quickly when I found one remaining one in Jackson's size, and knowing that better days were ahead in the zipper department (see photo).

I think I pointed out the perfection of this purchase to Husband every day for a month. "Wasn't that jacket a good deal?" "This is such a good jacket for this climate, he can wear it in 3 seasons." "It's a good size, he'll wear it for two or even three years". While Husband did not necessarily share my zealous enthusiasm over this purchase, he did approve of having at least one jacket in the house with an operational zipper.

You probably think that I said these things to Husband only for a month because then I got distracted by a new purchase to brag about or, say, by something shiny. No.

For the next months I was saying things like "I can't believe the zipper went on that jacket too!" "Columbia is such a good name??" "Don't you think a better quality jacket would have a better quality zipper?" "What do you think he does to his zippers that make them all go?"

Fortunately, we survived the next few months with no jacket due to nice weather, or at least non rainy weather and we salvaged one other hoody jacket by repairing the zipper (which was of great use to us the days it wasn't sitting in the lost and found). The new Columbia jacket could be pressed into service on rainy days since we jerry-rigged the zipper so it would go up and down but just not undo at the bottom. So he would step into his jacket like a hula hoop put it on and zip it up.

Then the really nice weather came and I was chasing Jackson with bottle of sunscreen in the mornings and looking for hats not worrying about zippers.

About a week ago, the weather took a turn and the Columbia rain jacket was completely nonfunctional unless you want to use it as a doormat, dish rag or possibly a kite. So I did what had been suggested to me during laments to other Moms and went to a tailor to get the zipper replaced. The cost: $32.50. The jacket purchased on sale was $29.99 plus taxes, coming in at just over $32.

So I decided to buy the J Boy another jacket instead of just buying a zipper. I hoped I could find one with Velcro closing, or magnets. But I discovered those jackets are usually meant for the under 4 set that cannot manage zippers and have firetrucks, Diego or zoo animals and I am not prepared to subject Jackson to grade 3 ridicule just to make my life getting him out the door a little easier.

After a quadrant search of the mall I ended up at the kids' jackets section at Sears where I had bought the Columbia jacket last February. I found the exact same one for $32.49 before taxes. I recoiled at this and sought out the sales clerk and asked about Sears's policy on defective goods. Though I did not have the bill with me, miraculously, I did have it at home. For some reason it's been sitting on our kitchen counter since I bought it and has been a constant taunt (well whenever I try to sort through the papers on the counter) of what I am supposed to do with yet another broken zippered jacket.

The sales clerk seemed optimistic that they would exchange it if it had been bought in the past 90 days. I couldn't actually remember the month I had acquired this, but thought it just might be 90 days.

When I got home, I realized I had bought the jacket in late February. I contemplated pleading my case to the powers that be at Sears and quote provincial legislation that required goods to be of "merchantable quality" and if a zipper goes on a boys jacket in size 8 so quickly it is obviously not "merchantable quality" and they should replace it. I have made this argument before. It's funny what results quoting the Sale of Good Act brings in these situations.

But for some reason, I was not up for the fight this week. As I lamented to myself (again) that Columbia really should have a better quality zipper, I notice "" on the tag in the jacket. On a lark I checked out the website and saw that they have a limited warranty and for the price of postage to Ontario they will replace the zipper gratis. It may take 8 weeks, so this needs to be done now to beat the falls cool rainy season (and I take back all the bad thoughts I had about Columbia).

Which is a problem with my aversion to getting to the post office.


mags said...

Have you tried Lands End? They have lifetime warranties on their stuff and will replace without question.

natesmom said...

My BIL used to work at Sears- they took EVERYTHING back. Some guy had a computer for YEARS that they took back as their policy was to satisfy the customer no matter what (although maybe with all of the money they lost on this, they finally changed that policy!)!

Definitely Land's End or LL Bean...