I know it was January because it was after the holidays and I was returning a gift to a local sporting goods store.
That was nine months ago; that’s how long this mystery has lasted.
I had received a golf shirt for Christmas but it was too small so I figured I’d bring it back and get credit towards another item. I walked around the store for quite a while before settling into the Nike section where I eyed a pair of elite sweatpants. I immediately liked the style, color, and material, but when I flipped over the price tag, I almost died.
I’m all for quality — and Nike is generally of the highest quality — but there’s a point where I feel like I’m getting taken advantage of if the price is too high. Some people enjoy spending a lot of money on clothing, but I’m not one of them. Whenever I feel like I’ve overspent, I just feel stupid.
I’ve worked in marketing for most of my career so I’m well aware how price structures work. And with a brand like Nike, your hard-earned dollars is mostly paying for their immense advertising budget. You simply cannot have a presence as far reaching as Nike without jacking up the cost of every item you sell.
I brought the sweatpants into the changing room and tried them on. I think deep-down I was hoping they looked terrible so I had a good excuse not to buy them. I stared at myself in the mirror a couple times and then exhaled. I don’t often fall in love with an article of clothing, but these sweatpants looked great and fit perfectly.
I looked at the price tag again and did the math. Even when I subtracted the cost of the golf shirt these sweatpants still cost way more than I wanted to spend. But damn, they looked good.
And then I did that thing where you tell yourself that your worth it and that you never splurge on yourself… and before I knew it, I was standing in the checkout line.
I got home and put on the sweatpants. It took my son all of 30 seconds to comment, “Hey, those are awesome!” He was obviously thinking that he might be wearing them at some point.
A few weeks went by and one afternoon it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen my new sweatpants in a while. I went through every drawer in my closet and then went to my son’s room and turned his closet upside down. When he walked through the door, I attacked him with accusations but he assured me he had never worn them, much less touched them.
I started to get manic. I went through my wife’s clothing thinking they may have gotten mixed up in the laundry. I checked the garage where I had a collection of clothing to donate to Goodwill. I even looked under the furniture and behind the couches.
After a week of scouring my home and interrogating my family, I finally gave up. I wouldn’t have cared if they were a $20 pair of sweats (like I usually buy), but these things cost a fortune.
Months have passed so the memory of those sweatpants has faded. Occasionally, I will remember them when I pull out another pair. This will trigger me and force me to silently curse at my bad luck.
This past week my son returned from a camping trip with his school. He dumped his dirty clothes and sleeping bag in the laundry and I set to work to clean them. I threw the sleeping bag in first and ran it through the wash cycle then tossed it in the dryer. When I pulled the sleeping bag out of the dryer, I noticed something black fall onto the floor.
When I reached down and picked it up, it was my expensive sweatpants. I was elated for a moment and then incensed with my son.
Eventually he admitted that he did wear them once – to a sleepover back in January. He said he must have kicked them off when he was asleep and they settled into the bottom of the sleeping bag. He also admitted that, over the last several months, he noticed something against his feet whenever he used the sleeping bag, but never bothered to check.
I’m now considering a lock on my closet so nothing else I hold dear comes up missing.
In this week’s feature, “I Came By,” the idea of “coming up missing” is somewhat of a theme as a young man inadvertently stumbles onto a high-ranking government official’s penchant for keeping guests longer than they planned.
I was initially suspect of this British film, but over time, the story pulled me in. It’s not the most brilliant example of a mystery thriller, but it does the job.
Check this one out if you’re a fan of the Hitchcock style or are interested in being on the edge of your seat for two hours.
A confining “B” for “I Came By,” now available for streaming on Netflix.
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.