Full Definition Jacket

, , , , | Right | October 28, 2018

(I work as a sales associate in the children’s department at a well-known department store. It is winter, and I moved to Tucson from Washington State relatively recently. As it is close to the holidays, the store is rather busy when this customer approaches my register.)  

Customer: “Do you have boys’ jackets?”

Me: *indicating an entire wall displaying boys’ jackets* “We have quite a few boys’ jackets, ma’am.”

Customer: “No, I want a jacket.”

Me: *indicating the wall again* “All of our jackets are up on that wall, ma’am.”

Customer: “I’m looking for a jacket. A boys’ jacket. Do you have any jackets?

(This continues for a moment or two, until I am not only frustrated, but wondering if she’s trying to make some sort of point. Finally, I somehow remember noting how my coworkers, who are all from Arizona or Sonora, have never used the word “coat.”)

Me: “Ma’am, did you mean a coat?”

Customer: “Yes, a coat. A boys’ jacket.”

(I showed her where the winter coats were; she bought one and left. Later, during a lull, I wrote down every word for “coat” I could think of and showed it to one of my Tucson-raised coworkers. She had never heard of ski jackets, cardigans, or parkas. In Tucson, every supplemental outer covering that isn’t knitted is a “jacket,” and every knitted jacket is a “sweater.”)

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