An Open Letter to an Old Love

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Dear Banana Republic, You and I have been the bosom-est of buddies for more than two decades. Back in the 1980′s when I was maybe 15, and my Denim Crises were relatively minor, it was a treat to visit your safari-themed store in downtown Boston. I loved that the decor included steamer trunks, and typewriters that appeared to hail from British colonial East Africa (yes, it romanticized British colonial East Africa, which is extremely problematic, I realize). It was like being on a safari– except you were shopping instead of dodging wild animals.

Not long after you ditched the safari theme in favor of sleek and modern fare, I graduated from college and became a working girl — in New York City!–and found myself regularly trolling the racks at your Lexingon Avenue store for proper working girl duds. Yes, Banana. For years, you have diligently and patiently solved many of my crises– denim and otherwise.

That’s why I felt so very betrayed this weekend when …  I learned you had changed your return policy to– oh, it hurts to say it — 30 days. I mean, just a couple years ago you could return things to Banana at any time, no questions asked. Six months. Nine months. A year. No matter. That sweater could go back. Then you implemented a 90-day return policy and I thought, well, that’s okay. You want me to commit. It’s fair to expect me to know, by the time 25 percent of the year has gone by, whether I actually like the burgundy wrap dress well enough to keep it.

But now– 30 days? I mean, we’ve been together so long that you should know by now– returning is a major part of any lasting retail relationship. Unlimited returning means any real shopper worth her salt will take the pair of pin-striped pants and “think about them” which is code for trying them on with every blouse in her closet. Now, I’ve done a scientific study (okay, it only had one subject, but still) and I figure that 90 percent of the time I opt to keep the clothing in question.

But, dear Banana, don’t you know that between work and the gym and house-cleaning and yoga class and The Biggest Loser, 30 days goes fast? I may be less likely to take a gamble on said pants in the first place if I know I have to get them back to the store in a month, whereas a generous return policy means I may take a risk on something I’m not sure about, and let it marinate for a day, or two, or 47…. I’m sorry Banana, but I just don’t think it’s fair to change the terms of our relationship, after we’ve been together for so long and, frankly, I’ve given you so much (money).

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