Quality


My husband has been the sole bread winner for our family for our entire married life. For most of the first five years of our marriage, he attended college and I stayed home and raised our children. By the time he graduated, we had three children ages 3 ½ , 2 and 6 months old. While he was in college our budget, especially for clothing, was slim to none. I had learned how to make do with what we had, or do without. Our children usually wore hand-me-downs from cousins, I sewed little dresses for the girls, and I occasionally bought the absolute necessities on a rare occasion. When I made purchases, they usually came from Walmart or other discount department stores. Shortly after my husband graduated, we purchased and moved into our first house. We lived in a nice neighborhood, filled with families of similar age and size as ours. We were still the younger couple, for the most part, but not by much. The summer after we moved in, my kids needed some summer clothing and a friend of mine told me about a big clearance sale at the Gap. I remember being reluctant to even walk into the store, since it was clearly out of my price range, but since I had always loved the Gap’s style, I hesitantly walked into the store. I was completely blown away when I saw the cute little clothes all marked down to a price range I could afford. One of the first things I immediately noticed about all of it was the superior quality, especially compared to the clothes we had previously been purchasing when needed. As my children wore the clothes I discovered even more significantly how much better the clothes, including the fabric they were made of, were. Shortly after I went on my shopping expedition at Baby Gap and stocked up on all of my kids’ summertime needs, my sisters hit a big sale at Walmart and bought gifts for many of the nieces and nephews, my children included. The things they bought were cute and inexpensive – very similarly priced to the things I had just bought at Baby Gap. At first glance you could tell a little difference in the quality. But the big surprise came when we did two things – put them on the children and washed the clothes. The Gap clothing were well made, well designed, well cut, and of high quality fabrics. When the children wore the clothing, they fit them well and comfortably. When washed, they maintained their shape and the colors didn’t fade quickly. Unfortunately, we quickly discovered that the clothing from Walmart were made from cheap fabrics, poor design and cut and badly constructed. When put on the children, the Walmart clothing fit poorly. The shirts were too short and too wide, the skirts were too short and too wide and both just hung awkwardly. When washed, the original fit problems were acerbated. The clothing shrunk up strangely, and the colors faded quickly. In the end, the new little outfits from Walmart had to be quickly demoted to “Play clothes” due to the inadequate quality. The Gap clothing were worn over and over and eventually passed down from child to child, and then to cousins when all of our children had grown out of them. I learned a very valuable and cost saving lesson - When making purchases, more then the price on the price tag must be considered – especially when budgets are tight. One quality piece of clothing may last longer than several cheaply made pieces of clothing. Particularly when money is tight, it is essential that the items we purchase last a long time, and do their job well. With this life lesson in mind, the way I shop has changed substantially from that day on.


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