Thursday, October 04, 2007

How many cubits to the furlong?

Inspired by the relative strength of the Canadian dollar, and the vintage adventures of laughing magpie, last night I decided to explore eBay for some interesting and stylish shirts and jackets.

I found some great smoking jackets, such as this little number (150167050959) that were just begging for me. Sizing can be tricky with these sorts of things, so it is always best to work from an item's dimensions rather than trying to divine what "XL" meant to another era, region, or company. I grabbed a measuring tape out of my wife's sewing kit and took my measurements. To my surprise I found that all the items I wanted would fit just nicely, if anything, they would be too big.

Using this newfound cache of eBay merchants that had stocked a wide variety of shirts and jackets in appropriate sizes, I started putting together an order. On a whim I looked at other online stores, just to compare prices. A different sizing chart pegged me as a size "medium."

There is no way on Jebus's green Earth that I'm a medium.

I measured myself again. I looked back at the chart. Something was wrong. Then I did something seemingly silly. I measured my tape measure. Calibrating one's instruments is an important step in science, and a lesson quickly forgotten in a home environment.


My "inch" divisions were about an inch and a quarter, according to every other yardstick and tape measure in the house. The bogus tape measure is now in the trash, and I am really glad I didn't complete any transactions.

There is the possibility that all the rulers are wrong, so what I really need is a iodine-stabilized Helium-Neon laser.


padawansguide said...

That is super wierd, that that tape measure was so off! It's like a vanity tape measure or something, which hey, might be fun to use. Not very practical for real sizing though!

Drhaggis said...

Since it makes things seem smaller, its status as a "vanity" tape would depend on what you were trying to measure. :p

laughingmagpie said...

No. Way. That is just too bad!

In my professional life I have to measure things and I carry around a measuring tape. We were always taught to doublecheck that it's 'zeroed' - that the metal end doesn't cover up the loss or addition of the first 1/4" or whatever, but I've never thought to actually check the inch/cm increments!!

Mr. Sable said...

Those are Chinese inches. Check the symbols there. That's your problem right there.

iRob said...

Ugh! How many projects were ruined and until now you didn't know why?

Colin Morris said...

That's... bizarre. I like the vanity tape idea; of course it'd work perfectly as long as everything you were measuring you used that tape.

"There is the possibility that all the rulers are wrong, so what I really need is a iodine-stabilized Helium-Neon laser."

I think there's some useless words in there. Everything before 'what'.