Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Local 'good service' award - "Stitch in Time, Inverness"

I can sew on a button, I can do a few other basic haberdashery tasks where functionality is more necessary than elegance in the finished product, although I am a reasonably proficient embroiderer and enjoy the detailed work this involves - it relaxes me.

However, hemming trousers is way beyond me; it is probably unnecessary to add that I do NOT possess a sewing machine. I did occasionally (under supervison) use my mother's sewing machine when I was a boy, but only avoided sewing my finger to a piece of material as a result of her panicked intervention on one memorable occasion, so it is probably safer for me to stay away from these devil's devices! I jest, of course.

In any case, apart from the quite rare occasions nowadays when I wear a suit or even more occasionally a dinner suit, as a 'retired gent' I tend to wear jeans or chinos. I usually buy both from the UK part of an American mail-order/on-line company [Lands' End] because their styling suits me and because their sizing is reasonably 'generous', no doubt to cater for its mainly US clientele and of course British people such as me. One important feature that particularly attracted me to them is that they offer 'free' hemming (either turn-up or plain) for all their trousers and jeans and as I am shorter than the standard 29" shortest trouser length this is quite important so that I can get a good fit. I've been using the Lands' End service for over 15 years and have always been and remain completely happy with it. In addition to trousers and jeans, I tend to buy shirts, polo shirts, t-shirts and jackets from them and various other items from time to time.

Fairly recently I got a pair of dark brown chinos from them, perfect as usual, but after two or three cleanings the stitching on one of the leg hemmings unravelled, so for a couple of months they have hung forlornly in one of my wardrobes. Rather than send them back to Lands' End for repair I hoped to find a local solution, but in recent years places to get minor jobs of this kind done have grown scarce in most cities and towns. I was not aware of a local service (apart from a lady who used to do adjustments for my late mother) and whilst I had thought of contacting her I had never gotten around to doing so. Anyway, yesterday a leaflet appeared in my postal mail-box from a local firm in Inverness called "Stitch in Time" offering all manner of tailoring adjustments for male and female clothing, so I thought I'd give them a whirl for my minor problem. Today I had occasion to go to Inverness to do some food shopping and during the visit I popped in to "Sitch in Time", located in the Victorian Market (covered market) at 5 Queensgate Arcade - one of the assistants took the torusers from me, asked me if I could wait and I said 'Yes'. He moved across to one of the sewing mahines along one side of the shop and in less than 5 minutes had done the job perfectly. I got out my wallet to pay and he waved it away, saying that for such a small job they didn't want payment; I said I was happy to pay and he laughed and said no, it wasn't necessary. Now that is what I call service! And good business tactics, too! I shall certainly always think of them for jobs like this in future and recommend them to friends. Incidentally, two of the three staff I saw were Indian/Pakistani/Iranian (not sure which) and the other was British. I dealt with one of the former as it so happens. It is really pleasing to find such courteous, willing and helpful service nowadays - and offered with a smile. I have a lot of experience with Indian/Pakistani/Iranian/Chinese tailoring services from my time in the Middle and Far East, invariably they were expert at their jobs, friendly, courteous and willing. It is a pleasure (and a little bit of a surprise, I must admit) to find such similar superb service so close to home.

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