by Marinka on March 8, 2011

My parents and I  have the perfect relationship.

Because they do favors for me all the time and I never do favors for them.  It’s just that they never ask.  Except last week Papa got all confused about how our relationship works and did ask.

Poor thing, getting on in years.

The problem is that someone gave him a HERMÈS tie.  And he didn’t like it.

“Take it back to the store,” he told me.  “And then when you’re at the store, call me for further instructions.”

I became filled with dread.  It’s like the only reason he had a daughter was so that he could send her to HERMÈS on this errand.  If there’s one thing that I can’t stand, it’s self-absorbed parents.  Back to me.

“Tell me what you want me to do,” I told him.

“I will reveal it once you are there,” he said.

Obviously this was going to involve some kind of a tie-hiest.

On Monday afternoon, I could procrastinate no  longer. I set out for HERMÈS.  On the way over, I considered the horrible possibilities of what was in store, no pun intended, for me.

Horror number one, above all horrors was that Papa would want me to return the tie and ask for cash in return.  This was unthinkable.  I could not imagine having this type of conversation at such a fancy French store on Madison Avenue.  I would die of mortification-induced embarrassment.

The second horror, equally potent for different reasons, was that Papa would have me describe every other tie that they had in the store. “This one has sort of squiggly lines,” I would say.  “What do you mean, squiggly lines?” he would protest.  “You said squiggly lines for the seventh tie.  This is the eighteenth.  Let’s review them from the top again.”

By the time that I was a block away, I couldn’t take the stress anymore. I called him.

“I’m about to go in,” I announced. “But I need to have instructions.”

Fortunately, Papa took pity on me.

Unfortunately, he thought I was a moron.

“Okay, so you go in and say, ‘My father got tie as gift, but he doesn’t like tie.  He wants to exchange.'”

“I know THAT part,” I rolled my eyes.

“So return the unwanted tie and get one in mustard or in the red, with little birds or little animals or testicles with hair.”

* * *

I walked into HERMÈS, whistling a happy tune.

“Bon jour,” I said. “I would like to return this HERMÈS tie, purchased from this HERMÈS store and gifted to my father.”

“Is there a problem with the tie?” the saleswoman asked.

“Well, problem is strong, ha ha, but, see Papa does  not like the tie.  Papa hates the tie. Papa wants a different tie.”

“Let’s take a look at what we have here,” she said, gingerly taking the package from me and unwrapping the tie, as through preparing it for a thorough physical.  I held my breath.  Was the tie okay?  Was there a tag? How could I not have checked for a tag?

The saleswoman found the tag and squinted at it.  She summoned a colleague over. He peered at the tag. They consulted with each other and then he shook his head.  I could tell that the diagnosis was not good.

The saleswoman looked at me.

“The good news is that this is a wonderful tie,” she told me.  “It is indeed from a HERMÈS store.  The problem is that it is from the summer 2008 season.  So we cannot accept it.”  She folded the tie gently as I tried to process the ramifications.

“Summer of ’08?” I tried.  “In other words, vintage?”

“Not vintage,” she corrected me.  “Out of season.  But still a very good tie.”

She handed it back to me.

I wasn’t ready to give up just yet.

“I don’t understand,” I tried to look despondent (it helped that there was only one more episode of The Bachelor left to get me in the mood).  “My Papa doesn’t like this tie.  What is he supposed to do with it?”  I opened my eyes extra wide, like Elmo, and blinked for emphasis.

She sighed, clearly moved by my and Papa’s plights.

“He could maybe learn to like it?  Or give it as a beautiful gift.” She said.

All good ideas.  At least she didn’t suggest using it as a noose.


This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link.  Also HERMÈS is capitalized because the only way I could think of getting that pretentious thing over the second E was to cut the word out of a site and paste it into my post.  It’s almost like stealing.

One year ago ...

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

March 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

This makes me think that clearly the person who gave this tie to your father, got it for a gift, tried to return it, and was advised by this saleslady to give it as a beautiful gift.

It is a viscous cycle.


Noelle March 9, 2011 at 3:08 am

Maybe the saleslady could buy it back personally, and regift it!


b a seagull
March 8, 2011 at 10:46 am

Papa is more of a jeans and polo shirt wearing cool type of guy. This is based upon years of having an active imagination and no facts.


the mama bird diaries
March 8, 2011 at 10:54 am



March 8, 2011 at 11:00 am

I love how your Dad tried to send you on some CIA mission “further instructions” thats a hoot.

And I love you thought 2008 was vintage 🙂


March 8, 2011 at 11:09 am

I’m with FromTracie.

I think that poor tie’s been around the block and back to the store, not just once, but since, well…2008.

And about to be regifted, again….

Now, off to do the linkclicking.


Lynn MacDonald (All Fooked Up) March 8, 2011 at 11:18 am

hahaha…that sort of stuff happens to me all the time. not with my dad, as he’s dead, but because i always forget to exchange stuff in time.


Loukia March 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

Oh my goodness, I had so much fun reading this post! A post written by you, one of my favourite bloggers, and Hèrmes? Awesome. By the way, a lower case e with grave accent? Just go Alt 138! I work in bilingual town, don’t forget! 😉

Anyway, I was dreaming he’d tell you to buy something for yourself after the tie exchange… imagine?

“Horror number one, above all horrors was that Papa would want me to return the tie and ask for cash in return.” –> Yup, yup, you must have parents from another part of the world, just like mine!

Also: “So return the unwanted tie and get one in mustard or in the red, with little birds or little animals or testicles with hair.”

Testicles with hair? WHAT? LOL!


K8NYC March 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

Hermés. I did that by hitting “Option” and “E” at the same time, and then typing “e.” Also, I am a genius. Also, when faced with a similar situation at Tiffany (who knew but they actually keep records of when things were purchased?) I just burst into tears and said I didn’t care when it was from, I received the earrings just last week and it’s not my fault if the person giving me the gift is a procrastinating bastard, I want an exchange, stat. It actually worked.


MarathonMom March 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Who does he think he is? Oprah?


christy March 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I think you should take this to Twitter and let the HERMES gods eat their words. I bet if you did that you’d not only get a new tie, you’d get a BUNCH of new ties!

PS – if this really is your life, I’m kinda jealous. My conversations with my parents are nowhere near as entertaining!


March 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

So what happened when you went home and told Papa? Did he send you to the store again to await further instructions? This time carrying a stick of gum, some string, and a lighter a la MacGyver?


Zee March 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Eagerly awaiting a comment from Awesome Dude…


March 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Tell your dad that he can find a tie that has testicles with hair on it over at Dior.


March 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I’m with marathonmom. He needs to contact Oprah to get this shit sorted out STAT.


Dawn Richter March 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Yes, but what did Papa say upon hearing he would have to keep the tie?


March 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm

My question is when did he get the tie? Has he had it since 08 and is now deciding he wants to return it or did someone recently give it to him? And I also want to know the answer to Tonya’s question, what happened when you got back home?


Cool Dad
March 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Looking up what Hermès is increased my already high amusement with this post even more. I don’t wear ties often and buy them even less frequently. [-5 cool points for me]


March 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I had this same issue just last week. It’s an epidemic of ugly ties. Expensive ugly ties. Why do they make expensive ugly ties. I think Papa will learn to love it.


March 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Is there an outline of Jesus’ face on it somewhere? Look closer. You can totally sell it on Ebay.


elizabeth-flourish in progress
March 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm

you had at hermes. because i am often caught with my face pressed against that store’s window. i’m too afraid to go in, but totally comfortable leaving my foundation and blush marks on their pristine facade.

so whadidya do with the tie? could you save it for someone you disdain and tell them it would look perfect on them?


March 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Were you a bad child? You know he held onto that thing for years on purpose.


Karen at French Skinny March 8, 2011 at 11:30 pm

It’s like that fruitcake that went around the world in the 60’s and was recently spotted in Milano, Italy last December. He is now part of the legend.


The Flying Chalupa
March 9, 2011 at 12:26 am

How did Papa acquire a vintage 2008 tie? I’m dying to know – who is to BLAME? Moral of this story is that it never pays to do things for others. Love the Papa posts. And Mama too, of course. There, there, no one get riled up.


From Belgium March 9, 2011 at 4:16 am

Tell papa to give it to young Ladrinka for christmas. There two problems solved in one go.


dusty earth mother March 9, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Rats. I used to wear men’s ties and could have totally taken that baby off your hands. But I was wearing ties in the ’90’s. Which is ten to fifteen years before 2008, if you don’t want to do the math. So if we had known each other and Papa had been given this tie fifteen years ago, this comment would make sense. I think.


Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop.
March 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Ok, I was already laughing, but when I got to the little bit about needing to cut and paste to get the accent over the second e I completely lost it!


Deborah March 10, 2011 at 10:52 pm

alt 138 for è

…and I only send you the link because I know that in future you will need to type, “Caring about accents on foreign words is so passé!”


Lady Jennie March 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm

That pretentious thing is called an accent grave, just so you know and everyone who’s anyone has them on their keyboard for immediate use èèèèèèèèèè.

hè hè hè hè

No I’m teasing. That errand would totally stress me out too. Such a bummer you couldn’t exchange it for testicles with hair.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: