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Facing Bigotry When Buying Clothes

October 3, 2022

I can’t stop thinking about that time FEGS slapped me with a Failure To Comply for not wearing the correct pants. I gained about 40 pounds during the pandemic and had to start wearing the size 44 pants mentioned in that older post as being too big for me at the time. I had to stop wearing one bigcause the zipper wouldn’t stay up, and eventually broke from overuse. The other one came apart and the seams on the right side when I was bending while assembling drawer boxes in my apartment. I first tried Kmart’s big and tall section despite them not having anything small enough at the waist or long enough at the inseam the last time I tried only to discover that there is only one Kmart left in the area, and it’s in New Jersey. The one in Astor Place is becoming a Wegman’s, and the one at 1 Penn Plaza is also vacant, but I didn’t see anything identifying what would be there next. I couldn’t find anything larger than a size 40 and usually too short at Target or thrift shops, even going online I found that the big and tall was more like huge and short. I wanted to buy something a size large (46) with the same length and literally couldn’t because nothing was in stock.

On Saturday, I Googled “46×34 pants near me,” and it showed me JCPenney, Macy’s, and DXL. I didn’t look at it too carefully and attempted to go to the Herald Square JCPenney only to discover that it, too, was out of business. The proximity to the flagship Macy’s store confused me because I didn’t enlarge the map enough. For JCPenney, I needed to go to Jersey City, and there wasn’t time enough before they closed. I was in Manhattan for a meeting that started at 3 but went on until almost 6. I didn’t go to Macy’s because the prices Google was showing me were $50 or more for a single pair. Next to the Burlington at 23rd and 6th Avenue is a DXL Big & Tall Men’s store. Their prices are way above my budget, but I was able to at least try on a 46×34 pair of pants (the cheapest they had were $55 each, but they knock off ten dollars if you buy two) and determine that, at least woth that brand (always the problem), I didn’t need any larger. There wasn’t much of a selection. Their bread and butter seems to be 50+ waists and lengths 30 or below, more of that “huge and short” nonsense that seems to pervade “big and tall” clothing. It’s bait and switch when a store or department calls itself “big and tall” but mostly caters to people of below average height. I did find two black pants in 46×34, but there was very little in the store that would fit me. I checked the Burlington next door. They had $18 pants, but nothing over size 40, mostly 32 or shorter.

I’m not alone. Here a Redditor in Sharonville, Ohio, is dealing with exactly the same problem: https://www.reddit.com/r/cincinnati/comments/31cpr4/any_decent_plus_size_mens_clothing_stores/

FEGS gave me a list of places where I could redeem a clothing voucher, but most were open one day a month (e.g. second Tuesday). It took me at least two months to visit all of them, and by then, I was found in failure to comply. Not one had anything in my size. Riverside Church had me try on 40×30 black corduroy pants, but I looked stupid in them because they stopped above my socks, but they seemed incredulous that I didn’t want them. It was truly a systemic evil to find me in “Failure To Comply” for their own failures. To live in a homeless shelter requires an open public assistance case. Public assistance pays $45 a month but, pre-pandemic, forced clients to go to the Back to Work program for 35 hours a week, or 29 cents an hour. If they found black jeans unacceptable, it should have been on them to supply me with the pants that they wanted, but they failed to do so and blamed me for it.

I’m under similar pressure now not only because it looks really bad to have my pants splitting apart at the seams, but a matchmaker set me up on a date this coming Friday. I could wear my suit, but the dress code for the restaurant says casual, so that might be overdressing, and I don’t know how well my suit fits. I had the smaller of my suits, which is the one I wore in my high school senior portrait, taken in when I lost weight, but I think my larger one may be too big. My parents bought it for me when I finished college. They were convinced I was gaining weight at the time even though I wasn’t. I’ve been told that I look like a little boy wearing it, but now that I’m bigger than ever (the dietician appointment keeps getting moved–I’m supposed to go in two days, but it’s not showing on the health portal, so they may have canceled it without telling me again), so it might work, although it’s grey rather than black or navy.

It really is not right that some people should not have a choice about paying markup prices. It’s just like I have to buy $200 orthopedic shoes just to get width where I need it. I’ve been finding a lot of articles lately on how Americans are eating fewer calories but continuing on average to gain weight, which is largely being blamed on food additives that aren’t even required to be on nutrition panels, so one can’t truly know if one is avoiding them unless they make everything from scratch.

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2 Comments
  1. Reality Check permalink

    If you cant even afford pants you cant afford to date no woman wants to date someone in raggedy clothes, with no job and pissy teeth at your age women want stability. Hell in their 20s and 30s. Focus on fixing your life first.

    • You’re a fucking idiot who clearly didn’t even understand the point of the post, which is, “Why should I have to spend $50 on a pair of pants to get my size when pants next door a few inches smaller are $18?”

      And you’re still too fucking stupid to understand that my teeth were discolored by medication I was forced to take for an ear infection when I was a toddler.

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