Two weeks ago when I needed new pants I went to my local Goodwill. There I found two pairs; brown corduroy with a fancy mall-store label inside and a nice pair of tan dress pants. Each pair cost a whopping three dollars.
The corduroys were the perfect length, but the dress pants were too long and needed to be shortened. I've been sewing since 8th grade Home Ec, so hemming is an easy job for me. The pinning up part is not. I don't have anyone to help me, so I have to do a lot of trial and error turning up until I get the length just right. This time I didn't feel like messing with it, so the next day I dropped the pants off at a tailor shop not too far from my house.
The woman who runs the shop has been there as long as I can remember. She's friendly but businesslike. You get in, she does her job, you get out. There's no chit-chat. The shop has a small front section that has a cash register on the right and a curtained-off changing room on the left. In the middle of the area is a raised platform. From the cash register you can see a large back room where the work is done.
I arrived about noon. The staff was in the back eating something wonderfully Middle-Eastern smelling. Without coming up to the front, someone asked loudly if I was dropping off or picking up, then told me to change into the pants in the dressing room and the tailor would be right there.
She was. When I came out I stepped up on the platform, and was admonished to stand up straight. It took less than a minute for her to fold one leg of the pants up and pin them to the correct length. She made a horizontal chalk line across the back of both legs and told me I was done. While I changed in the dressing room she asked my name and told me the pants would be done in a week.
Seven days later I returned. Once again everyone was in the back and someone asked loudly if I was dropping off or picking up. The tailor got my name, disappeared into the workroom, and came back holding my pants folded neatly over a hanger. They had a professional-looking hem and sharp creases down the front.
The hem cost me nine dollars. That's three times the cost of the pants, but I know I couldn't have found such a nice pair for the total cost of twelve dollars. And I didn't have to do it. And, I helped out a small business. It's a win-win-win.