Young Voices: Preparing for Prom: The distress of buying a dress

This will be my second year going to prom, and it should be a breeze by now, but the moment I overhear people talking about prom, who they’re going with, and what they’re wearing, I cringe. First, there’s the dress, then there’s doing your hair, then there’s you’re makeup, planning dinner and buying a boutonniere for your date – seemingly, the stress of prom never ends.

I searched for dresses online for months, and finally found one that was everything I ever wanted in a dress, and was fairly inexpensive. Reading that, you have probably already realized what I didn’t until I finally took the dress out of the packaging the day it arrived. It was a scam.

It came from a website where all of the dresses were handmade in a factory in China for you upon ordering it, and the site didn’t even use proper grammar. This should’ve been the point where the first light bulb went off in my head. Don’t order the dress. The fact that I could actually afford my dream dress was what should have made the second light bulb go off. Seriously Nina, don’t order that dress. Then, when I looked at the return policy, written in broken English and with extremely vague details, I must have thought to myself at some point, do not get the dress! Ignoring my instincts for the dress of my dreams, I went ahead and bought it.

After waiting for three weeks, the dress finally arrived in my mailbox. I grabbed it out and ran inside, so excited that I accidentally left my car running in the driveway. I tore open the packaging and took the dress out, unzipped it and threw it on. But as soon as I looked in the mirror, I wanted to cry. The photo on the site showed tiny silver and gold metal appliqué flowers whose petals were gently folded upward as if they had just begun to bloom. What I saw were crooked rows of large, tacky, oval shaped gems, sewn on in the shape of flowers, in multi colors ranging from orange to purple to green. It looked like a kindergartner had pulled out their bedazzle gun and gone wild on my dress. I was mortified.

My mom promised to lend me money for a new dress, as long I could return the other one and reimburse her for it. Immediately, I took pictures of the dress and sent them to the customer service email address that the site provided. I told them, using my best “angry customer” voice, how I thought it was unacceptable for them to send me something so unlike the picture and of such poor quality. I waited a week for them to finally reply back to me, and they said my photographs were too small for them to tell if it was worthy of returning. They suggested I send another email and try again, so I did, angrier this time. Another few days passed and they responded back. Part of their email read, “We made it especially for you, and it must look amazing on you! And we have really put a lot of energy to make this beautiful dress for you, so we sincerely hope you can accept it.” I was furious, but determined to get my money back and get rid of the dress, so I put it on eBay.

It had been more than two weeks since I listed it on eBay with no bids, until someone finally bought it. Two days after she bought it and I closed the listing, I still hadn’t received any payment from her and then I got an email saying “Can I cancel my bid please?” After replying to her and telling her there’s no way for me to do that and that’s not how eBay works (feeling a little bit like the company who sent me the dress in the first place) I still haven’t received a payment or a response. I’m starting to think I’ll be stuck with it forever. Now that my new dress has arrived, and it’s more amazing than I even thought the first one would be, I’m finally ready for the whirlwind of prom.


May 12 is prom night for HRVHS. Students will gather for the annual spring event at Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles. This year’s theme is “Mid-summer night’s dream.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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