coat.jpgIt wasn’t me who uttered the fateful phrase, but rather a sales associate at the Patagonia shop on the Upper West Side. I had been on the hunt for a new, knee-length down coat. My old one was both showing it’s use and its impracticality (particularly when associated with small children… Did I mention the old coat was white?)

One would think that the choice of coats meeting a few simple criteria — like knee length, down, waterproof, somewhat stylish and affordable — would be substantial. But that wasn’t the case. I walked the real and virtual aisles, and paged the insane number of catalogues that have been assaulting our mailbox hawking just such ‘wears.’ I was surprised that looking at completely-out-of-the-question priced coats didn’t improve the options.

In the end it came to a two candidate coat-off: the angel down coat at Land’s End versus the Down with it coat from Patagonia.

The Land’s End coat was the only one that fited all the criteria, coming in ‘short’ on the style quotient (pictured above.) I was quite swayed by the more flattering quilting on the Patagonia coat and was about to take that action that gives marketers a thrill, i.e. “make a purchasing decision,” when the salesperson uttered that fateful n-word.

I asked, “Why is this coat only water repellent and not water resistant?” To which she replied, “No one needs a water resistant down coat… It’s never cold and raining hard at the same time. You know, it would be snowing, and snow doesn’t stick.”

I stuck with the Land’s End coat and, after having trudged a number of kilometres each day in the pouring rain in temperatures around the 40F mark over the recent three weeks, I am here to tell you that a water resistant down coat is a necessity! And sales staff should probably steer clear of using the word, “never.”

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