Dear Dr A,
I will first of all set the scene. I was in Switzerland only moments ago (I know you know this but bear with me) and I went on a day trip to Chamonix, being the tourist I am. During the lunch break, I had brought a packed lunch for financial reasons, I was shunned by the rest of the group, but more precisely the restaurant (the French DO NOT allow you to bring your own food). I decided then to amuse myself with a wander into The North Face shop.
For some reason The North Face seems the coolest of all the ski brands and I was drawn in by their colourful window display. After a quick chat about the state of Hurricane Sandy with the helpy man I tried on my two favourite coats (difficult decisions as their gear is so exciting) and promised myself I would have them. Or something similar.
So on my return I set about investigating sizes and styles both online and in store.
One fateful Sunday, after a debrief with the mother, I found an excellent website (cheapnorthfacevip.net AVOID AT ALL COSTS) where the coats were just 45% less expensive than in real human life. We debated, The Ashbridge Family sans sister, which colour would be best and eventually I plumped for the blue. I clicked and ordered and sat back in awe of my bargain.
Almost immediately my joy turned to panic as I received emails that could only be described as suspicious. I checked my account and sure enough strange details appeared on my statement. I googled the website to look for clues of fraud and yes it seemed the company was dodgy.
I was crestfallen. Not only have I begun tax paying (about time I hear you say) but I had spent half my budget on a new winter coat that may never arrive.
I have been waiting. Hoping. But then I worried that if it was a fraud they may keep taking money out of my account. So I cancelled my card. And now, as of Friday last week, to get any cash I have to go to a bank and show ID. Indeed for the last 4 days I have had $8 to my name because of weekend and Veteran holidays in the US keeping the bank caller far from my sight (the banks were closed).
But I lived in hope. I had been told, on cancelling my card, that if no product arrived I could claim the money back. Easy peasy.
Now, dear friend, I am waiting for nothing. I want nothing. I do NOT want a fake. (But, having said that, if I get a fake, I want a good one!)
Zoom forward to Tuesday evening. I receive an automated email saying I have received a package. The coat. AHHHH let it be convincing I cry. When I get home I have 2 packages. Thinking the white envelope is from a relative, I grab the scissors and tear the “coat” box apart. What was in it? What had travelled all the way from rural knock off China to warm and clothe me in the bitter months ahead?
THE WORST FAKE COAT I have ever seen in my 29 years alive. The sleeves stop at about my elbows. There is an overwhelming smell of a flammable plastic that may ignite at the very thought of an open flame. The brand sign is so far from The North Face that it may as well be The South Face and boy o boy, I know I have a long body but seriously, how short do they think people get? It doesnt even get close to my bum cheeks.
I was devastated. I had paid $100 (so unlike me) for an utter mess. I threw it to the ground in disgust. Pitying myself cruelly.
And then I turned to the other present. I slashed at the envelope revealing the glorious deep purple packaging of the wonderful Cadbury’s brand (a true brand). My long lost Percy Pigs. Reunited. A magnificent tin of M&S tuna. I cannot eat another. And my top favourite rah journalist of all time. Mr Giles Coren.
C. You know not what you do.
(but I will tell you)
Thank you. I have an overflowing ‘flow’ of happy from my heart now and there was a little tear to my eye that you thought to send me such valuable gifts when I am so far away.
I miss you too and delighted we will be friends forevermore.
Thank you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx