The adjustability quandary

A few years back, +Kristin Ciszeski and I went on a random road trip to Cleveland. Why Cleveland? Why not? It was somewhere neither of us had been to, and we were looking for a cheap trip with a fairly short drive.

While there, we went to an Indians game and had a great time. To show some hometown spirit, I bought a baseball cap and a baseball to commemorate our trip. It was then that we decided that because she travels a lot and we have fun going to games, we should try to hit every baseball park. It's one of those goals that is technically achievable to do without going completely out of our way. For example, she has already had a meeting in Chicago and has work commitments in two more cities with MLB teams. I do cheat a little bit: I may visit the park, but I don't actually have to see a game. When we went to Seattle two years ago, I basically ran into the team store to pick up my hat and baseball.

It was in Chicago a few weekends back that led me to write up this post. I had walked from Millennium Park to Wrigley Field on a beautiful spring day to grab a few pictures and pick up my requisite gear. Tired from the walk, I nearly cried when reaching my destination because I could finally take a rest and just browse through all of the available Cubs merchandise.

I made my way through the store looking at the stickers on all of the hats:
  • Fitted
  • Snapback
  • Adjustable
  • Stretch
  • One size
  • 7 1/2
  • 7 3/4
...and so on.

Here's where I complain about my taste in hats. I like the Velcro back. Why? Well, when companies claim "one size fits all," they aren't talking about my head. I don't feel like I have an exceptionally large head. People don't confuse me for Joseph Merrick (unaffectionately known as the Elephant Man) or one of the aliens from Mars Attacks. It's just not my size.

Not a self-portrait

Sized hats are also an issue for me. Like whenever I buy pants or jeans, I always feel like the perfect size is somewhere in the middle. Too bad there isn't a sticker that says "Irregular." Somehow I feel like that size would be right up my alley. Besides, I actually have hair on my head. Sometimes short, sometimes longer. That also affects the size I need. If I had a buzz cut for the rest of my life, I guess a sized hat would be perfect. Alas, it is not.

Fitted hats, meanwhile, just flat out suck for me. I equate it to wearing briefs, as in underwear, on your head. It has that elastic feeling like it's hugging the skull for dear survival from such things as wind gusts or, you know, trying to take it off. Stretch hats are kind of the same way. I don't feel like I need to show off the buxom curves of my head.

Snapbacks? I'm not a trucker. I'm also not 12 years old and play on a Little League team. Pass.

That leaves me with adjustable. Perfect, right? Well, hold on there now. Adjustable hats have many different sublevels. Would you like a buckle on the back of it? How about a plastic or cloth loop? It would help to have that on the shiny sticker affixed to the brim. But no, most stores don't.

So what do I like? Velcro. It's a wonderful invention, especially for hats. Want to make the hat a little looser on the fly? You don't even have to take the hat off your head. One quick zip and you're good to go. No fumbling with a buckle. No trying to force the rest of the belt into the small slit on the size. If you like to wear your hat backwards, as I do from time to time, there's no metal buckle digging into your forehead. Also, the hat is sturdier and, in some instances, shows the name of the team on the Velcro strap.

So why is this such an issue? Why don't I just get the Velcro hat? Because these stickers are misleading. Take my situation at the Cubs team store. I looked through all the hats that had a sticker that said "Adjustable." I found one. ONE! Plainest looking hat you could find. Just had a "C" on it in the team colors. It wasn't even the real iconic Cubs logo. Of course, had I wanted a flat-brimmed fitted to wear sideways and look like a douchebag (henceforth known as "doucheways"), I had my pick of every Cubs logo and every color in the Pantone catalog.

Kinda boring

Fast forward to the next day when we attended a White Sox game. Same situation. I found one hat, very boring, with the Velcro backing in the team store. I wasn't giving up this easily, though. We had time before the game, so we circled the park looking in each store: hat stands, little shops, etc. As I was about the resign myself to a boring hat, my lovely wife made a discovery: some of the "One size" stickers were on hats with Velcro hats! Well, WTF and FML! So, apparently "Adjustable" and "One size" can refer not only to different things but also to the same things, like a Velcro strap. Magic. Finding that out was like getting lost in a giant parking garage for hours only to come upon an elevator that takes you right to your car. Doors became opened! Birds sang!

I bought a great White Sox hat and enjoyed my time at the game, adjusting my hat with that little zip every time I needed to do so.

I've learned my lesson, and hopefully I can help someone else out with this very problem. Forget the sticker. Arrive early and sift through all of the hats until you find the perfect one, because apparently those stickers are useless. People must get lulled in because those stickers are pretty and shiny. That must be why people leave them on the hat brims when they wear them doucheways.


This entry was posted on Monday, May 6, 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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