Saturday, May 24, 2014

tuxedo trip

Today found me heading up to Scranton to return a tuxedo for my irresponsible eldest son. Why Scranton? Because he is extremely lucky to have a godfather whose wife owns one of the largest tuxedo rental firms in the northeast, based in the Electric City, and provides tuxes to him.

We coordinated the colors for this one. Not.

Being a teenaged boy, he completely does not appreciate this and failed to return the tux in a timely manner. When she called last night asking when he mailed it—and the holiday weekend meant that Tuesday was the next mail delivery date—I decided the only fair thing was to drive it back today.

Of course, Primo had a track meet, the last of his high school career, and was unavailable to do the driving himself.

So after a fair bit of steaming and stewing, I decided to make the best of it and bribed my youngest son to come along with me. You'll have to check back tomorrow to see what I bribed him with (not money and not another animal).

Turns out, it could have been a great trip just to visit her (because she is a completely delightful person) and see the inside of her company's warehouse. By way of background, my favorite part of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was always the giant reel films that Mr. McFeely brought for Picture Picture, showing the inner workings of various factories. To this day, the scale always gets me. Always.*

Her company rents out tuxedos all over the east coast, to their own stores and to small bridal shops. Your wedding party chooses their tuxes out of a book where you bought your dress? Chances are, the tuxes are shipped in from Scranton.

The inventory required to provide this service is mind-boggling. Not to mention the technological task of organizing and tracking all of it. The warehouse has its own dry cleaning plant and in-house tailors to make sure that each special occasion is outfitted just right.

In addition to every sort of black and grey style you might imagine, there is a tux for every taste. Good thing Primo didn't know she carried these.

These cadet suits come complete with military-style hat, gold braid trim and a sword, usually rented for quinceneras. I think Terzo is thinking of getting one for his prom once he found out that you get to keep the sword.

Bags upon bags of shoes.

Acres of just-washed-and-pressed shirts.

A bowtie in every imaginable color.

Or perhaps a necktie instead?

A vest to match.

Don't forget the handkerchief.

Apparently cummerbunds are on the way back in. They brought back fond memories of my own prom only twenty-some odd years ago, when my mother made my dress and my date's bowtie and cummerbund to match.

* The link explains that the films were designed to educate the little viewers that a process has a beginning, middle and end.  I had no idea that I was supposed to be learning about a process; my takeaway was an abiding appreciation for the might of American mass manufacturing and the choreographed beauty of a mechanized line.