I go into the dressing room and put my regular clothes back on. I seriously think about walking out of there and not giving them my business. I think about my mom, how pleased she was to give me this amazing gift, how my parents would be out a significant chunk of change for the deposit. I think about the store owner going to church and telling everyone about this crazy liberal bride for whom she jumped through all kinds of hoops to get the right dress who ended up not taking it in the end and why. I imagine them telling her she did the right thing not to do business with a sinner, closing her mind even further. With an eye toward self-preservation, I think about scrambling for a new dress with exactly two months to go.
I call my mom, who says she'll eat the cost of the deposit and support me if that's what I want to do. She also says she thinks that honoring my contract with the business would be, well, honorable. She reminds me of the videographer Joel and I didn't hire. She reminds me that here's only so much anyone can do ensure you're working with people who share your values and points out that nobody goes to pick up their dress expecting a homophobic outburst.
I call Kelly, who shares a story about working for Planned Parenthood and finding out that they get a lot of supplies from Sam's Club, when the Wal-Mart corporation has a terrible reputation for being anti-contraception and anti-woman. She tells me about the debate in the office: putting their money where their mission is vs. not being able to operate at all if they only want to do business with people who agree with them. She asked me who gets the bulk of the money from the sale of my gown: the designer or the store?
The designer does, and damn, she earned it, having eaten the cost to reship the dress back to Canada overnight and back. I understand she fixed the dress herself, which was probably an enormous time commitment involving sleepless nights.
The store probably only gets a 10-15% commission if I go through with the sale, which is several hundred dollars less than the deposit they would keep if I walk, AND they would profit from re-selling the dress to the next size 14 bride who walks in the door. Their profit margin is the smallest if I complete the sale. Ultimately, that's how I make my choice to stick with this gown and never patronize the store again.
And so we move forward, with two months to go, toward a wedding for which the site fee supports a botanical garden, toward a wedding cake made by a breast cancer survivor, toward a DJ, photographer, and videographer who are all women running their own businesses out of their homes, toward a feminist officiant who will unite us with fair, equitably-traded and mined rings, and most importantly, toward a wedding that brings two families, three faiths, and diverse friends together for a man and woman who love each other very much.