If the policy says pay, you pay

Have you ever been to a haberdashery? Well neither have I. In fact my clothes closet doesn’t even have a suit hanging in it – a few sport coats and three ties is about all.

My wardrobe is casual as best, frumpy at worse and ragged at worsererer. So I have yet to have a haberdasher work on my clothes. Some people don’t know what a haberdasher does. He’s better know as a tailor nowadays.

The haberdasher (isn’t that a great word?) is quite interesting in how he goes about his job. A customer, maybe called client, picks out a suit, doesn’t matter if it fits or not because the haberdasher will take care of setting it up to fit like a glove.

It is a symbiotic relationship between the customer and his haberdasher. The tailor pulls the leg cloth tighter until it feels almost right for the customer. The buyer looks in the mirror and says, “They’re too baggie, it’s not 1950.”

The tailor tightens the legs a little and puts pins near the seam to allow his customer to feel how his suit pants will fit when complete. “That looks good,” he says. “But I’ll probably have a few more items on the suit coat.”

As the haberdasher holds the suit jacket for the customer to slide into, he thinks, “Man this guy is tough, I’ll spend all day with him to get it just perfect for him.”

Pin and soap mark cover the jacket until the buyer seems satisfied. The haberdasher is glad to get the guy finished and move on to a less demanding customer. “Your suit will be ready in about a week, we’ll call you when it’s finished.”

As the tailor moves on, the customer thinks as he walks out the door, “Maybe I should have gotten the blue one. Stepping back into the store the client says, “Sir, could you switch the pin stripe to the blue solid I was looking at originally.” In a sort of bowed stance, the tailor said,” I think I can transfer the sizes from the suit we worked on. If I have any problem, I’ll call.” Not wanting to deal with this character anymore.

A tall coquettish walked in and took the attention of the customer away from the tailor. “That sounds fine,” said the customer as he pushed the glass door open and walked to his car.

Notice that the more the haberdasher did the more the customer wanted, and the more the customer wanted the tailor pulled back and said, “It looks good to me, sir.”

Was anyone really satisfied after all the negotiation between the haberdasher and the customer? The tailor left out some important tucks and crease locations because he got tired of messing with the guy.

Plus the tailor wanted more money for the suit than the customer wanted to pay and that became quiet an argument. During the engagement the haberdasher said,  “I’ll tell you what I can do is to have you pay full price.” The customer said, “No way, but I’ll pay part of the price.”

“What part?” The tailor wanted all his money, after all he wasn’t in the position to negotiate. Only the owner could do that and the tailor knew what he would say.

“OK sir, you look like a very nice man, a car salesman, right?” The owner continued, “Would you sell me just a fourth or fifth of a car? Would you take off the hood to get a better price?

Would you promise me that there’s no use for the hood or doors because everyone else has a hood and doors so you don’t need them? I suppose if I bought the car, you would not sell it to me without a hood and doors, because you know I would never take them off. So you would say I’ll pay for the car minus the price of the hood and doors.”

“You would ask me what I am going to do with a hood and doors. Either you pay the full price for a car with door and hood and carpet and engine and so on, or hit the road,” the  store owner said, the haberdasher smiling behind him.

If the policy says pay, you pay, just as the cheap suit lists on the price tag. You can’t say I’ll take the jacket and not pay for the buttons or the pants. If the policy changes, well you can buy any part you want, but until the policy is changed to allow you to pay for your suit piece by piece, you pay for the whole suit.

I watch zoning cases, especially now, and the developer/owner doesn’t want to pay school cash proffers. Or cash proffers for libraries or public safety or any cash proffers at all.

Currently, it is the policy in Chesterfield County that the local government wants about $19,000 per house to offset the impact/strain that the new subdivision will put on county infrastructure such as those listed.

Change the policy or abide by the current policy and don’t rob both Peter and Paul. We should be worried about saving our schools, not pleasing our friends. Don’t you love the word haberdasher? He and his boss are not bargaining so why should the citizens of Chesterfield County?

A side note: “William Adams – a 17th-century London haberdasher founded Adams’ Grammar School in 1656.”

“The Haberdasher’ Askes’s Boys’ School,” Butterfly Lane, Elstree, England

“Haberdashers’ Monmouth Girl Schools,”

Harry S. Truman was a haberdasher before becoming President.


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