Friday, January 18, 2013

Phuket Adventures: The Tailor Story

Our Phuket vacation was a bit different than the many others we had in the last half of 2012. Usually, before a trip, I do quite a bit of research on the area and have a plan (okay, I'll admit it, schedule) with activities we should not miss while visiting. It's a lot of work and very time consuming (I know, poor me!) For this trip, I decided not to plan (at least not too much) and 'go with the flow'. We were staying at a time share resort so I knew there would be plenty of relaxation to do if nothing else caught our eye.

As a result, I was on the lookout as soon as we got off the plane for things to do and see in the area. And that's when I stumbled across the advertisements for custom tailors.

2 jackets, 2 trousers, 2 skirts completely custom made to your size for $188!!! I thought I'd hit the jackpot.

Now, I realize that buying clothes (especially work clothes) while on vacation doesn't sound that exciting (and you'd be right, by the way), but you have to understand that I'm a bargain shopper and a plus size so shopping here in UAE where everything is size 6 and designer has put a huge damper on one of my favorite pastimes. So I was very excited to see what this custom tailor thing was all about.

After a nice evening settling in and a good night's sleep, I started a little web research to sort out the tailor options and reviews. I found one that got great reviews on Trip Advisor and had a very professional looking website and decided to try it out. Brian, my favorite husband ever, said he was game to go along and put up with this shenanigans.

That's when we found out the tailor was an hour away from our resort.

I was about to abandon the whole idea, but after some discussion (and a little pouting on my part) we decided to do it thinking we'd end up passing through the town anyway on our way to some of the others sites, and according to the website, we might only need to go there twice - once to pick everything out, then for one fitting, and assuming everything's fine, they would deliver the final product to our hotel.

But you've read enough of my posts to guess that that's not how it turned out.

The first visit was fine although it took almost 2 hours as we waited for one of the owners to arrive, picked out fabric and what we wanted. I decided on one suit (trousers and jacket) and one trousers and another jacket (just not matching). Brian decided on a suit and an extra jacket. We left feeling confident and excited, although a little poorer than expected. The great deal advertised at the airport was for another shop of lower quality in workmanship and quality of fabrics. (I know, shocking.)

The next day, we stopped by for a fitting and that's when it became clear that this was not going to be the easy adventure I had imagined. Everything was fine, but there were quite a few adjustments to be made and I was not confident that everything would be perfect enough to simply be delivered to the hotel. And, I was bound and determined for everything to fit perfectly given the price we were paying.

The third trip uncovered more adjustments and finally by the fourth things were starting to look almost final. We were just having a little trouble with my suit jacket, but agreed he could deliver it to the hotel when complete.

I got the jacket the night before we left, tried it on ... and the lapels were different lengths! I was devastated, angry and very frustrated. Took a photo and emailed the tailor and he assured me it was just a matter of ironing and to send the jacket back to him through the hotel and he would send it on to Abu Dhabi once finished.

I honestly thought I'd never see the jacket again and said goodbye to my money and vowed not to be so gullible next time.

But there is a happy ending to the story. A few weeks after Christmas (and after 2 reminder emails to the tailor) my jacket arrived and the lapels were the same length.

All's well that ends well, but I think I might go back to researching locations in advance. :)

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