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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