So Daughter 2, who is getting married this summer, went to the midlands and took out her stepdaughter-to-be to buy a dress for the wedding. She’s going to be a bridesmaid, but D2 doesn’t want a formal wedding. She wants something simple and fun.
So no formal dresses. STB can choose whatever dress she likes. Think ‘party’ rather than ‘wedding’, she told her. They finished up with a cute little number from House of Fraser in a blush pink, short and sweet, just right for an 18-year-old.
Now D2 absolutely loathes clothes shopping. She normally won’t do it. When she’s at a sufficient stage of desperation, she’ll do her shopping on line. Delighted with their harmony, her purchase, and the fact that it only took an hour of searching, she brought it home the next day and hung it in the cupboard.
She sent me upstairs with granddaughter Wiz to look at it, and compare the colour with the pink sparkly dress that has arrived for Wiz. We get STB’s dress out of the cupboard, and then we see it. A big rip in the lining. It looks as if someone’s put too hot an iron on it. And the more we looked, the more things we found wrong or damaged.
So we were tasked with taking it to the nearest House of Fraser today, to see if we could exchange it.
Oh. My. Word.
First off, no, they didn’t have the right size. We couldn’t just do an exchange.
Secondly, the dress should really go back to the store in the midlands. Out of the question, we said.
3. The cardholder needed to be there in person, they said: H of F protocol insists on a signature, not just a recharge of the card.
4. The manager, who could not have been more helpful, started phoning round other stores in the south-east. Not even the Oxford St branch had one in the right size.
5. Finally, she discovered one – just one- in the Richmond branch. Could they send it over? Then she would be willing to do a straight swap.
6. And of course, there was the whole question of whether she actually believed our story – that stepdaughter TB had tried it on once, and D2 had brought it home immediately. We could, after all, be telling a big fat whopper and trying to pull a fast one, having damaged it ourselves.
7. In between there was general exclamation about the state of the dress. It had very clearly been worn: the press studs were loose where they had been pulled apart, and the lining was dirty with fake tan. Much speculation about how (a) it had got put back on a hanger in the original store and (b) how the staff could have missed all the damage. It was from a high end franchise where the staff are trained to be fussy and check everything.
We were there more than an hour … and we’ll be back again, once the new one arrives.