Egg

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

“I’m going to jump!” the woman said as she stood on the parapet of Essex Inn on Michigan avenue.

I lit a Marlboro Red.  This was going to be a one smoke job.  The first pull is the most satisfying, then the exercise becomes a task to completion.  Dispatch sent me here before I could grab lunch.  A smoke tends to quell tension in life.

Either she splatters the spectators on the ground and I go to lunch or she takes the elevator down and I go eat.  It’s a binary outcome for her.  A meal for me.

“You don’t need to do this,” said a union electrician who was working on the roof before the jumper arrived.  I wonder if he needs to report this work stoppage on his time sheet.

I have fifteen years on as a cop. I have a wife, handful of kids-some from the current wife, others from previous relations, and I play pickup basketball once a week at a discounted gym.  I’ll need solid health insurance to combat the lung cancer which will develop due to all the cigarettes wailing away on my torso.  I always bet the under at tourney time.  Yes, I do need to do this.

My partner, a rookie, looks like he is the one on the ledge.  In three years, he will be blasé about the job.  Now he is overwrought and almost catatonic.  This morning he was a kid.  No grey hair and hope in his eyes and heart.  I’m hungry and need to eat.

“I’ll never find love again,” the young, blonde exclaimed.  The electrician responded with words of empathy.

Finding love was easy for me.  Keeping it was another story.  Tracy Pallito ruined me by leading me along for months before my senior year.  I found her ankles up on my parents’ college with Jason Mitira.  After, it was a swirlee of unrequited sex.  Very unstable, but enjoyable.  I’m content today.  Tomorrow-maybe.  The day after-I don’t predict the future.

A crowd gathered on the street to watch.  The people will say to their families at dinner tonight, “I saw a jumper today.  She took the stairs down.  What a tragedy to get to that point in life.” Or “I saw a jumper today.  Some of her bile, bone, and blood peppered me like a Jackson Pollock.  What a tragedy to get to that point in life.”

My cigarette was on its sixth puff.  No one sells smokes on the roof of the Essex Inn.

I think my partner pissed himself as the women’s legs started shaking.  If she turns around, she could call me a “pig” and spit on me.

Oh good, a fireman arrived.  Those guys always have a solution.

“Everyone has a bad day.  Tomorrow will be better,” the electrician pleaded with her.

Will tomorrow be better?  Today is going well.  Cloudless sky, nice shot of the lake six hundred feet up, and it’s T-shirt weather while the breeze keeps it from being a furnace.  I like today.  “Today was a good day,” Ice Cube rapped, and he didn’t have to use his AK.  Live in the moment, I guess.  Unless an omelet has your name on it in the future.  Then live for the omelet. 

The fireman rode the elevator down to talk to his supervisor.  He was probably told to hold the jump net, mattress collection, or oversize beach towel to catch her in case she jumps.  I’ve never seen it work.  Good in theory, but more for show.

“I’m going to do it.  I mean it,” she howled at the sky.

The electrician kept saying, “Don’t do it” showing he was out of emotional arguments.  I was ready to throw him over the cornice because he was annoying.

The ash was building on my smoke.  I need to hit the dry cleaners after work to get my suit for Aunt Pam’s third wedding this weekend.  Aunt Pam found love again.  I also need to unclog my second floor toilet, because someone ignored the sign on the wall “ONLY FOUR SHEETS OF TOILET PAPER PER FLUSH”. 

A news helicopter flew above us.  News at Nine or footage to be buried in the archives.  My partner is working on his resignation letter in his mind.  C’mon kid, this is a character builder.  The half of dozen cops behind me are placing bets if she does it.  Last trade I heard was 3:1 and survival wasn’t the favorite.  My stomach growled. 

They stop serving breakfast at Sonny’s at 10:30, and if this doesn’t end soon, my cigarette will be gone, and I’ll miss my ham and onion omelet.

I took a final drag off my Red.  I should really quit smoking, but how would I kill time?  10:10-I can still make it.

The cherry on my cigarette glowed as I flicked it over the parapet distracting her long enough so I could yank her to the side of the living.  We fell to the modified bitumen roof.

“Thank you,” she stammered as cheering rose from the street.  I bet I get a lifesaving award which I can put next to my second-grade t-ball trophy in a landfill in Pontiac, Illinois.  My partner will get a participation trophy.

The electrician resumed working.  The crowd dispersed and the fire department folded up the splash pad so it could be used to thwart the next jumper.  The paramedics wrapped a blanket around her.

I stood.

“Wait,” she said as I took a look at her face.  She was a knock-out.  Someone you could bring home to mom.

“How did you two meet?”

“Church, Mom, we met at church.”

“How do you handle your problems?” her bright blue eyes enhanced by the sun framed her as the poster child for misguided youth.  She sought answers no one could provide.

“Luck is never on my side when I bet, my wife spends more time with the neighbor than me, and my credit card is my bank account.  The only problem I can solve is my starvation,”

I was at the stairs.

“But how do you deal with it all?”  She wanted a more grandiose or epic statement, but I’m one of rudimentary build.

“I sure as shit don’t throw myself off a building.” 

“Lady, you got a smoke?” I asked.

“Uh?”

“You know a cig?”

“Gross!  Those things are bad for you,”

10:30 am.  It was a two cig job.

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French Baguettes and Hefty Bags

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“I am going to buy a $7,000 purse when we get home,” a companion of lithe, yet athletic, build declared.

Next to me was a pissing Cupid fountain. I was deep in the bowels of the Burgundy region of France. Cupid’s head was encased with a laurel wreath. My Old Navy cargo shorts clashed with the Perscio.

These people were always up for a good rebellion. Her husband gave compliance with silence.  I too was speechless.

What does a multi-thousand-dollar handbag accomplish what a generic cloth bag, or gasp, a doubled Hefty bag cannot do?

I try to subscribe to the idea of “if it costs more, it must be better,” but I am befuddled when it comes to purses.  A purse is designed to serve one primary function and a very minor secondary function.

  1. Carry your crap-this could really be any type of bag
  2. Make you look good while carrying your crap.  This is the secondary function of a handbag.  Decorate a bag in some combination of jewels, sequins, leather, tassels, chains, buckles, exotic leathers, designer’s logos, or pom poms and the primary function of a bag is unaffected.  It still carries all your crap.
Reasonable pricing, efficient, and talked about–everything you want in a purse

As for lugging all your crap, I have noticed the older the woman– the larger and more expensive the purse.  Here is a chart to show a woman’s age, her bag size, and common items found in the bag.

Age of Woman Average Bag Cost Bag Size Bag Material Common Items Found
4-10 Free to $5 Various, but small Pleather Candy, toy money, key to nowhere
11-22 $15-20 Wallet Cloth ID, cash, credit card
23-28 $25-300 Clutch Leather-Black or tan Same as above plus lipstick
29-35 $200-2,000 Able to carry a terrier Leather-Color other than black or tan Same as above plus book “This Is Why You’re Still Single”
36+ $1,500-$300,000 Too large for airplane overhead bin Calf, alligator, crocodile, or ostrich leather with palladium, titanium, or gold hardware–diamonds optional See c)
  • c) Same as above, less the book, plus 2-year old hard candy, 1-AAA battery (dead), receipt from 2015 Ringling Brothers concession stand-one pretzel and one Diet Coke, 8 types of mascara, seventeen pens-some actually work, pacifier-even though youngest child is now 14 years old, cell phone, $14.86 in change of currencies Yen, Euros, Baht, Pesos, decomissioned Rubles, Dong, cell phone declared “lost”, your ex-husband/boyfriend’s underwear, mystery cream with the label worn off, vibrator, expired car registration, a smaller purse which was eaten by this purse, broken whistle, flask of vodka, janitor size key ring, US Weekly magazine (Jennifer Aniston cover), and Band-Aids.

There is a direct correlation between your age and the size and cost of your handbag.  Maybe you carry more crap, so you spend more money on a bigger bag. Maybe you get a bigger bag so you can carry more crap.  This paradox is beyond the scope of this article and way too difficult for my small brain to attempt to unscramble. 

I Want To Be Somebody

I was at a party, but dial back visions of togas, random sex and mounds of drugs.  The woman of honor was turning 80 years old, so the party started after morning meds and ended well before Sundown Syndrome appeared.  I was talking with my brother-in-law who hawks high end watches for a living.  A guy walked in wearing an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm 15500ST (MSRP ~$35,000 USD).

“Who’s the guy with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm 15500ST?” my bro-in-law asked.

These two immediately struck up a conversation about the pros and cons of wearing something so rare and exquisite the odds of a common man encountering one are less than being diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and immediately getting a successful organ transplant the following day. 

I can only imagine the people who notice ten thousand-dollar purses are the same people who sell ten thousand-dollar purses.

“I’d like to hit that so I can get a better look at her Hermes crocodile bag with palladium hardware”, said no guy in the history of the world.  Compare this to the internet billionaire who drops $1MM on a Ferrari to get the ladies to sleep with him, only to find they are all obsessed with the hippie who hasn’t showered in a week, lives out of a storage locker, and makes his living playing acoustic versions of pop songs at Pot Belly on his garage-sale-purchased 6-string guitar.

“But It Is an Investment…”

My wife was gifted a multi-generation old Gucci Handbag.  I often hear these designer purses described as “investments” or “good re-sale”.  After planning an all-inclusive trip to the Dominican Republic, I looked up Gucci purses on eBay.  With great haste, I canceled the Caribbean vacation and considered something more appropriate for my soon-to-be windfall:  a bunch of bananas or heavily used baseball glove from the mid-80’s on Craigslist. 

I thought of calling Louis Vuitton for comment, but the phone was on the other side of the room, and I have a general rule I don’t get off the couch after 8 pm-especially performing a tantric deep thought while constructing high level articles such as this.

I thought the time spent doing a comprehensive investigation of purse ideology would enable me to understand what drives women to buy large and/or expensive purses, but I am more confused than before I wrote this article.

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To Get Away or Not to Get Away? That is the Question

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Special thanks to M.A. for writing our first guest blog post. Lord knows we are hungry for content here at Skiinginjeans, so thanks for stepping up M.A.

It starts before school even gets out for summer.  You may be in the pick-up line for preschool, or waiting at the bus stop for your kids, but inevitably you will start to hear variations on the same theme.  Namely, “what are you doing this summer?”  While this may seem like an innocent enough question, just mom-to-mom small talk, the underlying gist, of course, is “where are you going (translation: how much are you spending) on vacation this summer?” and/or “what camps / enrichment activities are your kids enrolled in?”

While much could be said, and many a blog post have already sufficiently skewered, the myriad options for upper middleclass kids these days – from over -the-top sleepaway camps costing upwards of $10,000 per session, intensive sports training camps for kids (meaning, their parents) dreaming of being the next D1 recruit, or even local or town-subisdized day camps that offer impressive field trips, yoga sessions and sushi making classes, little attention has been paid to the phenomenon of what I call “vacationing en masse.”  In other words, spending your vacation with all of the same people that you spend your day-to-day life with, often in a locale that really isn’t all that different from where you live.  Up and down the East coast, from the suburbs of NY (including coastal CT), all the way to Boston, you can’t throw a stone without hitting someone who spends the majority of their summer in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.  In the city (a/k/a Manhattan), it’s the Hamptons or bust.  Sure, some will claim to be cooler or more lowkey by going to Block Island, Shelter Island, or Montauk (which is technically just the Hamptons, but further).   Don’t be fooled:  these are still just summer outposts of the same communities.   And it’s not just an East Coast phenomenon; Midwesterners flock to their Michigan or Lake Geneva “cottages” (often more akin to mansions), southerners to the mountains of North Carolina or the beaches of South Carolina, and Californians, to Malibu.  It’s getting away, without getting away.  Which begs the question, why go at all?

“Jeeves, please arrange a ferry back to deary old Manhattan”

Sure, all of these places are certainly vacation-worthy in a purely objective sense.  They boast beautiful scenery, pristine beaches, gourmet restaurants, a multitude of activities for both the young and the not-so-young.  However, when you consider paying an exorbitant premium for lodging (assuming you were fortuitous enough to book at least 9-12 months in advance), spending hours in gridlock traffic getting there (if, in the case of Nantucket or the Vineyard, you were smart enough to book your ferry well in advance; more on the particular travails of the ferry below), the horrific traffic once you are there, and getting shut out of the aforementioned gourmet restaurants due to the crowds, one starts to wonder what is the point of it all. 

For wardrobe assistance, head to….
https://castawayclothing.com/collections/mens-embroidered-pants

Meet New People?

More than any of this though, the idea of spending precious summer weeks with the same friends and acquaintances you see daily during the other three seasons of the year is mind-boggling.  Maybe it’s because the summer population of these East Coast locales consists largely of finance douches wearing Nantucket red shorts and their Lily Pulitzer clad wives and kids (most of whom are among the most obnoxious residents in my Fairfield County burb), but I cannot fathom the appeal of spending the summer, not to mention tons of money and aggravation, bumping into them left and right on a tiny, congested island or spit of land.  During the summer months, my Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with posts by local acquaintances vacationing on Nantucket, featuring pictures of fellow acquaintances eating dinner together, having cocktails together, hanging at the beach together, getting coffee together, and well, you get the point.  But I certainly don’t. 

Ferries are Fun

In addition to the bizarre reluctance to congregate with anyone outside of their usual  social and/or professional network or venture beyond the comfort zone of a preppy East Coast environment, Nantucket (and Martha’s Vineyard) summer residents also need to make sure they book their ferry reservation months in advance of their planned travel dates.  Horror stories abound in my town of families whose kids do not make it home for the first day of school in late August or early September, because the ferries are all booked.  They are literally stranded “on island” as they say.  Or, you have booked and paid for your overpriced yet still mildewed-smelling and miniscule rental cottage well in advance (as most rentals will require), but you forgot to book your ferry six months in advance, so your lodging sits empty for a few nights while you wake up at 4 am several days in a row hoping to get on a ferry stand-by. 

If this sounds like your dream vacation, you are not alone.  In fact, if you live anywhere along the I-95 corridor in the NY tristate area, you will be surrounded by hordes of your neighbors and others exactly like you.  Just be sure to pack your patience along with your Lily Pulitzer, crab-embroidered pants and Nantucket reds. 

For the finishing touch, definitely leave your $150 “Oversand Vehicle Permit” on your car (or, even better, multiple years’ worth stacked on top of each other), so everyone in town knows where you’ve been. 

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Home Gone

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Regret washed over me as I ventured through the front door of my old fraternity.  It was recently rebuilt due to a multiple million-dollar, tax-deductible, alumni fundraiser.  The result of the largest donation of my life was a complete disaster.  A maze of rooms with names like ‘Stank’, ‘Pig’s Nest’, and ‘Icebox’ were replaced with long, sterile hallways and numbered doors.  My brothers of the new generation sat in their rooms playing with their phones instead of congregating in the common areas and destroying each with verbal jabs.  The few brothers who attempted a conversation with me were not impressed of my stories of throwing a couch engulfed in flames off the roof, three-story beer bongs, or firing road-killed squirrels from a balloon launcher at a rival fraternity on Mom’s weekend. 

The new members were sensitive guys.  They spoke of submission to the Greek governing body which sought banishment for drinking on the front porch.  So much for doing a one arm keg stand on the lawn for nostalgia less I risk shutting down the pathetic shell of what was once a venerable landmark.  They told me there was talk of the campus going dry next year, and the brothers were accepting of this hypocrisy.  A college without booze is like high school, and everyone knows high school is as much fun as getting run over by a car.  I couldn’t take the pain any longer.  I drifted down the street lost in my thoughts of yesteryear.

As I wandered, I was almost run over by an Aston Martin DB11.  I knew he was a student because when my head was within inches of his car, I could read his license plate holder “STUDENT AT UNIVERISTY OF…”  As he sped off, he swore at me in a tongue I didn’t understand 

Lusting after the timeless classics of O and O’s, $1 U-Call-It’s, and Strong Island’s, I went to my other sanctuary in college: 

The Bar

“You’re really carding me?” I asked the backward hat wearing frat guy as my grey, thinning hair identified me as relic from the past.  As much as I used to despise cocky, get-laid-all-the-time, guys in way cooler houses than mine, I was overjoyed to find bouncers were of a timeless design.

“$5,” he demanded.  Instinctively, I dropped the name ‘Steel’.  He was the old general manager of this place in my glory days.  Throwing cold water on sleeping bros, taping pledges to flagpoles, and placing cars in perilous situations on top of high porches were things Steel did in grade school.  Steel was a college legend.  Steel dominated college the way Wilt Chamberlain played basketball-by bagging ass.

The Legend

Random hook ups for him were like maintaining a regular heart beat for the rest of us.  One semester in the fraternity house we were short on beds.  Rather than hot bunking or forcing a new member to sleep on the foyer couch, Steel jumped on the grenade- “I’ll just take a closet for some clothes.  Forget the bed,” he announced.  His plan was to test his mettle by hooking up with a random female every night, and in doing so, find a series of warm and adventurous beds to sleep in for the semester.  Only once did I have to step over the kid on the front porch on a morning during finals week.  I’m sure he earned some extra credit during his dalliances securing him an ‘A+’ in the toughest course in college. 

I figured his name still had some pull given his legendary status as the unofficial ambassador to College (note this is a capital ‘C’, like Church).

The drone at the door splayed his fingers in my face.  I relented.  I paid the cover and then full price for a beer.  Gen Zer’s are worse than millennials.  Who can’t respect a solid name drop and a willingness to sell reduced priced alcohol in exchange for an outsized tip?

‘Salt-N-Peppa’ blasted through the speakers, there was an inch of piss and stale beer pooled on the floor, and an overserved kid puked in a garbage can.  The walls still had the same paint.  The only missing element was a fog of cigarette smoking rendering the air unbreathable and requiring all clothes be laundered the following day.  By all measures, I was back.

I looked for the ghosts of college past.  Horse talking to any girl who would talk to him.  Chubby, at the bar, controlling his piss shooter with his left hand while ordering test tube shots with his right hand.  His reasoning was sound, “the bathroom was too far away and there was booze to drink.”  Absent was Shotzy and his crew of pledges holding up placards ranking women with an “8”, “9” or “10” as they walked past their table.  I recognized no one.

I attempted a lap.  When I reached the back of the bar, I was blockaded by wall which was new since the last time I was there.  The main bar had been transformed from an island into a peninsula.  I couldn’t complete the full circle.  I was trapped.  I stood and observed as I forced down my Bud Light.

Tight fitting black bar pants were extinct as were jeans cresting low enough to expose the top inch of a female’s butt crack.  Instead, girls wore jeans with the belt line near their navels insulating them from eye-groping dudes.  Guys dressed no better.  Most of them appeared to wear some type of uniform for the entire semester; class, bar, dinner with the parents.  It was a part of the “college guy outfit in a bag”-get it when you buy your books for the semester, one size fits all.  No returns.

A fear for the future of humanity swept over me as I stared into a sea of asexual coeds.  Guys talked to guys.  Girls talked to girls.  There was no intermingling of the sexes.  How were these young adults going to bang and carry on the human race if they don’t converse?  I was witnessing youth in its purist form-perfect health, excess free time, and a financial stipend from dad.  They were doing more than abusing the gift.  They were blowing it.

I left the bar.  I was more disassociated with the modern collegiate experience than I had been at my most difficult times when I attended the university.  The walk back to my hotel was filled with questions but lacking resolution.  Had my time passed?  Maybe the college was having an off weekend?  Was I too sober?  It couldn’t be me.  When I went here, I was a manifestation of College in the human form.  Constantly drunk, brotherhood, and chasing tail.  Today’s students failed to excel at these life skills.  My legacy was left in the past.

I had my first beer here when it was a bar. Now it is going to be a Costco, Waffle House, or some other corporate giant.

The Return

I picked up the toothpaste my wife requested prior to my campus journey.  The store clerk laughed and called me a “dotard”.  It was nearly midnight when I snuck back into the hotel room and resumed my life as a middle-aged dude.  Early morning soccer, never ending messes around the house, and learning no one is stretched for time until they have kids. 

The realization I couldn’t go back finally took hold sending me into a sleepless night.  My time had passed.  I live for today which, in time, becomes a better yesterday.  Steel will never be reminiscent.  Steel went back, but he also never really left.  He opened a conglomerate of bars in the southwest corner of the USA after graduating.  There he pours ‘O and O’s‘ and canoes porn stars as you read this on your couch while half paying attention to Netflix, in your car on the way to work, or sitting on the toilet ignoring the screams of your kids fighting in the playroom.

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The Mystical Ripping Gap Jeans

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Mr. Art Peck [Gap CEO]-

Like a hostage with Stockholm syndrome I continue to buy your 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34.  Maybe I should change brands to Levi’s, 3 x 1 jeans, Polo, Everlane or any of the other jean companies I thought of cc’ing on this letter.  Given I have a “Phi Mu/Phi Kappa Psi Barndance 1997” T-shirt in better condition than your 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34 jeans, perhaps I should abandon Gap jeans entirely and go to a leg covering made of khaki, velour, or corduroy?  Elvis wore jump suits and they never failed him.

My conundrum started about five years ago when I needed a new pair of jeans.  I had no brand loyalty when I picked up a pair of your 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34. They fit well and seemed durable enough to withstand most common suburban dad situations such as telling kids to turn the lights off when leaving a room, coaching youth baseball, and using “parent” as verb.  Within several months of using your 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34, I noticed a hole forming in the crotch area.  I attributed the rip to some externality such as a hooking my pants on a nail while getting the chainsaw out of the shed or some other masculine thing I do around the house to show my worth.  I proceeded to order another pair of your 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34 online as a replacement.

Once again, the jeans performed as advertised until a similar hole formed near the seat of my pants.  Maybe this pair was faulty.  I bought another pair your 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34.  I wish I could say I buy them as a value play even if they have to be replaced every few months, but the truth is I’m pretty lazy.  It is really easy to go online and order a pair of your 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34 while watching Sweet Home Alabama with Reese Witherspoon and Patrick Dempsey for the tenth time than driving over to the local mall, walking into a Gap competitor, and finding a pair of jeans which will last longer than six months without ripping.

Since my 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34 buying spree started, with my first of at least six pairs, your stock price has fallen from $40 to $25 a share.  Meanwhile the S and P 500 has gained 52% and the Spider S and P Consumer Discretionary ETF [XLY] has gained 75% in the same period.  Selling multiple pairs of defective jeans to the same customer is not the answer to running a successful business.  I’m sure you can find reasons to blame Amazon, bitcoin, Trump winning the election, the 2017 solar eclipse, floss dance, the rise of Justin Bieber, NFL players kneeling, Zika virus, Fortnite, Ariana Grande/Pete Davidson’s breakup, Daddy’s Home movie franchise, the fall of Justin Bieber, and the Cubs winning the World Series for why your stock price dropped, but I’m sticking with poorly manufactured jeans.

I have enclosed a picture of four pairs of ripped jeans.  If you would like to examine them in your office with a crack team of your jean coroners so they can identify the source of these tears to prevent further dissatisfied customers of your 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34, please send me a self-addressed stamped box and I will return them to you.  I would give them to Goodwill, but if you were Goodwill, would you accept them as a donation? 

Sincerely,

Dude just looking for a pair of tear-proof 1969 Boot Cut jeans size 36×34

Enclosure

Holes in jeans were cool in the ’80’s. Not now.

About a week after mailing this letter, I received a mysterious email from Gap. It looked more like an email from a Nigerian prince requesting $50,000 than from a Fortune 500 company. Gap credited my credit card for a pair of jeans. I guess it is better than nothing, but I would have appreciated a personalized letter over some form email. Just a hunch here based on the response from Gap, but I’m guessing a lot of customers have problems with Gap jeans.

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