My first hormonal moment of pregnancy (at least recognized) happened at the counter at an R.E.I. in Missoula, Mont., this summer. My sleeping bag’s zipper had broken and they said they couldn’t repair it, only replace it with a different bag. The new version of the bag did not have the same features as my original, and paled in comparison in every aspect imaginable. But how useful is a zero-degree sleeping bag that won’t zip?
While the employee found the original transaction, entered information in for the exchange and rang up the new bag, a lump grew in my throat. “That will be $14 difference,” the man said. “Actually,” I said, my voice getting progressively higher, “I think I’m OK with this one.” I ran out the store hugging my bag, tears streaming down my face. My husband could only shrug apologetically and follow me out the door.
The R.E.I. in Portland, Ore., by the way, does such repairs for free. So the story has a happy ending.