NOTHING’S LIKE IT USED TO BE

A couple of weeks ago, I needed some new nightwear. Nothing fancy. No lingerie. That’s for display, not sleeping. I’m talking about the ubiquitous cotton sleep tee. For years, I bought them from L.L. Bean. They were comfortable, loose, soft. Lightweight in summer, heavier, long-sleeved for winter. Then, L.L.Bean stopped making them and offered only heavy flannel or pajamas. In ugly colors.

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I don’t want elastic while I sleep. I want soft, loose, breathable, comfortable. Priced so I can buy more than one. Colors other than flaccid pink and dainty floral on white.

When L.L. Bean stopped making what I wanted, I switched to Land’s End. I’ve been wearing their sleep tees for more than a decade. But with each passing year, the fabric has gotten rougher, and the cut skimpier. The neckline has gotten tighter to the point where it’s hard to get your head through it. The price keeps going up. I gave up. While the price has risen, the quality has dropped to completely unacceptable. I found quality sleep tees on Amazon. Not as good as the old ones, but at least affordable.

Have you ever tried to find someone to help you in a real store? Shops have cut staffing down so low that there’s no one to help you and they did this long before everyone started shopping on line. They decided they didn’t need to offer help, that we could all fend for ourselves. We did. We just didn’t do it at their shops. When online became available, it was an easy switch.

Then there’s the whole “changing brands” without regard for what people want. Did “new Coke” bring new customers to Coca Cola? Or did they give Pepsi a huge boost? Did Windows 8 improve business at Microsoft … or did it move huge numbers of computer users to Apple?

A while back, I decided to go buy a book and I went to the mall. There’s a huge Barnes & Noble there. Did you know that Barnes & Noble booksellers — their brick and mortar stores — charge 30% more than Barnes & Noble online? For identical merchandise. If you want a discount card, that will cost you more. Even with the “discount,” their stuff still costs more than it would online.

When asked why I should bother to buy at the store, I was told the online and “real” stores aren’t run by the same organization and have different price structures. That’s not an answer.

Original Coke came back. Windows 8 passed into oblivion — to no ones regret. Windows 10 is into its third round of updates and the Windows world has settled down. Amazon is opening its own brick and mortar stores. What goes around apparently comes around. I’m waiting for the same thing to happen with the presidency. Even DiGiorno’s is selling pizza with “original” sauce. Vote with your shopping cart and get out there for the next elections and maybe we’ll get a government we can live with. It worked on Windows, so why not on the federal government?

Yet, I’m pretty sure I’ll never fully trust Microsoft, Barnes & Noble, or the U.S. government. Sometimes, when you break a trust with enough brutality, there’s no going back. You smile when you  meet, but you don’t really mean it.

What’s the price tag on trust?

22 thoughts on “NOTHING’S LIKE IT USED TO BE

    • Yes, actually. But again, it’s all flannel. I want a great big tee shirt. Soft. Comfortable. Not pink. No bows. Minus flowers. They are a bit pricey. I did buy my two bathrobes from them, though. They are they only place that actually has bathrobes that aren’t terry cloth. Apparently regular ones have gone out of style.

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  1. In a little market town like Solothurn we are not spoilt. Stores come and go and I cannot keep up with the changes. Amazon has not yet discovered as, but we have an apple room. I wouldn’t call it an actual store, just with 2 or 3 computers on show, and lots of accessories although the salesman is quite good. The room is tucked away behind a restaurant. I cannot buy online for a perfect fit and the one and only store for me in our town closed last year because of online competition.

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  2. Earlier today I was doing an online survey about ethical shopping. I would love to buy ethically made clothing and household products but I live on social security and the stuff is too darn expensive. As for nightwear I recycle my old T shirts when they look too shabby for day wear. Pajamas have got expensive and buying the pieces separately seems to be dearer than buying a set although at least it means odd sized people can buy what they need. I haven’t seen a terrycloth bathrobe in a long time. I wanted one but they are all either fleece or thin fabric. No use after a shower.

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  3. I go to B&N to look at a book, then order it online with the 20% discount emails that I receive for being a B&N card holder. Free shipping, delivered right to my doorstep, and for about half the total price of the book. Yes, a big fan of B&N online…no matter who it is run by.

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  4. I’ve been wearing canvas shorts from LL Bean for decades. I ordered a new pair last summer as one of the originals was really frayed at the hem. They arrived. They were the same. I was so happy.

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  5. #1 on my list of things I hate to do these days is shop for clothes. I had to do it today and then I spent the afternoon altering it all. All I want is comfort and all they sell is spandex and darts. I wish someone our age would start a clothing company and produce things that are 100% cotton with sleeve lengths that are longer than 4″.I could go on and on but would just bore everyone to death. I guess I’ve aged out of their optimum consumer age bracket too. 🙂

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    • JJill. That describes them pretty well. But the price … well. I buy a few odds and ends from them every year, but I can’t do more than that. They do have other things, but the majority of stuff is probably things you would like. If you can afford it, that is. Lots of tunics, short sleeved, 3/4 sleeves, loose pants, comfortable dresses with no elastic waistlines and no damned darts … and it’s almost all natural fiber.

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