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I stop by Jos. A. Bank tonight for the big sale. I try on two Signature Gold suits, both the same size. The first, made in Italy, is too tight in the shoulders. The second, made in Mexico, fits beautifully. At this point, I am seriously considering forking over the 600 or so dollars for the suit.

Then the salesman walks up. I ask whether the suit has a full canvas chest piece. He doesn't know. He acts as if he doesn't even understand the question. Then I ask whether the weight of the wool is 9.5 (I may, to be fair, have misspoken and said 9.5 count). He says that the suit is 120s. It is clear he doesn't know that not all wool weighs the same.

By this point, I am not of a mind to buy the suit. As I begin to leave, the salesman asks me my intentions, as if they are not obvious. To be polite, I say that I'm thinking it over and may come back later. He tells me, as though I am stupid, that the sale will only last two more days. As he says this, I can't tell whether he is suppressing the urge to cry or belt me. Then he gives me his card and tells me he is on commission. I leave expeditiously.

Much is wrong with this experience. First, two otherwise identical suits by the same manufacturer should not fit so differently. I understand the economics of outsourcing. But is it too much to ask for consistency of size among the same exact suits?

Second, if you're going to sell suits for a living, you should know the most fundamental things about, well, suits. At least spend a few hours perusing Flusser, for Pete's sake.

Finally, there was the tragic-comic encounter on my way out.

I've never been one to beat up on Bank. It filled a need for me when I was a law student and needed affordable, decent looking suits. Dollar for dollar, I still think Bank offers some good deals. I hope that my experience was an aberration or, if not, that this once proud store gets its act together.
 
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