Going Bald

I wiped my lips with the napkin, put it down on the empty plate and asked my friend, who was sitting across from me in the booth, “Would you like to go shopping with me this afternoon?”

My friend finished chewing an ice cube before she questioned, “Where do you plan to shop?”

Looking up from studying the meal receipt, I named one of the local resale stores I like to visit. I saw the slightest frown on my friend’s face before she hesitantly admitted, “I don’t know if I feel very interested in buying used clothing.”

Shrugging, I pointed out, “I don’t have a problem with used clothing. Everything in my closet at home is used. Most of the clothing at the resale store is newer than the stuff I own. When I take clothing home, I wash it. Then those things truly, completely belong to me by the rights of soap and water.”

Leaning forward, my friend asked skeptically, “Don’t you think the clothes that end up in a resale shop are poor-quality rejects?”

Shaking my head, I pondered, “I think there are several reasons why clothing and household items end up in resale stores. The people who owned the stuff were sick of it, or due to weight gain or loss, the clothing no longer fit. I’ve found lots of clothing with expensive name brands that I could never afford brand new. These things fit, are clean and have no rips or snags. Once in a while you will find something that is defective in some small way. Overall, shopping at resale stores is like going on a treasure hunt. You never know what fantastic thing you’ll find.”

An hour later my friend and I were looking through orderly clothing racks at the resale store. She enthused, “I love how the clothing is all grouped not only by size, but by color. Look, I just found a perfect pair of Neiman Marcus pajamas, and they don’t even look like they’ve ever been worn!”

I found an attractive jacket, a pretty skirt with a blouse to match. When I saw the V-neck sweater, I knew I had to have it, too. Its deep pink fabric was soft and draped nicely on my form. All were machine washable and looked new.

The first time I wore the freshly laundered pink sweater, I rejoiced over my good fortune for having found it. As the day passed, I began to notice small pink balls of fluff around my office desk, on the kitchen counter, and one sticking to a greasy spot on the stove. At bedtime I found small pink balls of sweater fluff on my skin and on everything else that had been in contact with it.

I shook the sweater over the bathtub, then used a damp rag to scoop out all the pink balls that dotted the white surface, telling myself, “All this sweater needs is to be washed one more time.”

My pink sweater continued to shed. I didn’t want to get rid of it because the fabric was soft and cuddly. An Internet search said that freezing a shedding wool garment would cure the problem. For a synthetic sweater like mine, it was suggested to soak it in vinegar. I haven’t tried that yet, but I don’t hold out much hope.

The other day my daughter noticed I was wearing the pink sweater again and reasoned, “I suppose that at some point all the fibers it can shed will be shed.”

I chuckled, “I’ve had sweaters pill and look terrible. This thing looks great, despite shedding worse than a thirty-year-old man with ten bald, maternal uncles. When I bought it at the resale store, I told my friend that once in a while you’ll find something defective. I just can’t decide what to do. It doesn’t seem ethical to take a balding sweater back to the resale store to be sold again.”


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