Is North Face Behind Jacket Roulette?

Drinking game for college kids costs the price of a coat

I just returned from visiting my college freshman daughter in Boston. She attends Boston University and called home recently asking for some mommy time. Worried that there might be something wrong, you know, something that requires face-time, I stifled my Tiger Mother impulse to tell her to buck up and, instead, indulged the Helicopter in me.

[SIGNUP]There was, thankfully, no major problem or issue so we set about catching up. She stayed with me at the hotel. I’d like to think it was so she could cuddle up to Mamma and get some TLC, but I’m pretty sure room service and the big comfy bed were the real draw. No matter, I’m a hug whore: I’ll take one anyway I can get it. When she arrived, I noticed that her coat was unfamiliar to me.

“New outerwear, love?” I asked. “Have you been hitting the card? You know, a sale at North Face does not fit the definition of an emergency.”

No, she explained. The foreign coat was a product of Jacket Roulette, a dastardly practice that has victimized my daughter repeatedly since she’s been away at school. This is how it works: When participating in a well-attended school event (translation: frat party, keg party, it’s snowing in Boston party) she has had to leave with someone else’s coat. She swears that she has never been the initial perpetrator of Jacket Roulette, the person that gets the game started. That would be the asshole who intentionally takes the wrong coat, the Bernie Madoff of Jacket Ponzi, working her way up to a full length fur. My daughter claims that after the game has begun, she has to rifle through the remaining outerwear and take a coat that includes an identifier—college ID, fake ID, name sewn into the collar, cell number scrawled onto the lining because, let’s face it, heading back out into Boston winter weather without a coat is just not an option.

Seems like a reasonable way to proceed and apparently falls well within the guidelines of Jacket Roulette. Next morning, she will Facebook the rightful owner who is now frantically worried that a perp has her coat and not a victim. Sometimes a victim will send out an APB on Facebook (where else) and sightings will be reported. At that point, teenager détente is employed to recover the errant coat (it’s not really stolen yet, just “in play”) usually minus any valuables but almost always minus the fake ID which, to a college kid is really the most valuable thing of all.

I chastised my daughter for not improving her JR handicap by: 1) Never wearing a black North Face fleece to a school function. There are like a gazillion of them out there; everyone owns one. 2) Never leaving valuables in her coat. 3) Never leaving a coat without her cell number written inside. (She replaced the last casualty of JR with a large size kids’ North Face because the kids’ sizes have a white tag sewn inside for this purpose.)

Come to think of it, maybe North Face is culpable in the creation of Jacket Roulette. Maybe it’s a marketing scam to keep those fleece jackets flying off the shelves!

Could be. We’re on our third.