Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fractured Prune and Arlington Uniform Shop

So this morning I went to the Fractured Prune in Rockville and the NEX Navy Uniform Shop in Arlington at the Navy Annex.  I had to go to this uniform shop because my local uniform shop in Bethesda does not carry the Brooks Brothers Service Dress Blues.  I had inquired with Brooks Brothers about getting them at the local Brooks Brothers location but was told that they are only sold via the NEX in order to verify rank.   

The donuts at the Fractured Prune certainly constitute a taste bud
joyride.  Although they are cake donuts, and I prefer dough donuts,
they we very moist and not too dense.  The toppings were super sweat and flavorful.  I had a blueberry hill and a french toast.  It will be sad to see their quality go down as they expand.  The Rockville location is the original so even now, the other franchised locations may have lower quality. 

The Navy Annex has extreme security and is staffed by some of the nastiest rent-a-cops I've seen in over eight years of military service.  One was so fat that he would have had trouble getting out of his chair.  His boots were barely laced, likely due to some type of edema of the extremities.  Both my wife and I had to show two forms of identity as if our military IDs by themselves might be suspect.  After signing it we were told to wait for an escort.  We waited for about ten minutes when two petty officers stationed at the Quantico Branch Medical Clinic came in for the uniform shop as well since the uniform shop in Quantico does not carry Navy items for the sailors there.  They commented that the last time they had come the escort was unnecessary.  All four of us waiting another ten minutes or so during which time another rent-a-cop came from the building, but only to accompany one of the fat ones in the guard shack on a tour.  After a few more minutes the manager, whose name I later learned to be Michelle, of the uniform shop came to escort us.  She commented that the policies regarding customer escort were haphazard and seemingly random.

Exterior of the Navy Annex.  You can see the corner of my car there.  We parked in some type of reserved spot, but were fine for over an hour on a weekend.  I think the parking down one level of the hill, behind my back when taking the photo, is open.

Inside the uniform shop Michelle took fantastic care of me and fit the uniform.  I commend her for her customer service.  I was surprised to see that they sold the tiara for women in mess dress as I had looked online and wondered wear one could purchase it.  It costs $203 and is made by Vanguard.  Michelle commented that she has had one ensign in recent memory purchase it and that if anyone tries to purchase it, she will discourage them.  I disagree with her but it's alway heartening when a sales person discourages the customer from purchasing something.  It tells you that they have the customer's best interest in mind.  After fitting the uniform she also offered to bring it to the Bethesda uniform shop so that I don't have to travel back there and go through such wretched security. 

She also told me that she could order a boat cloak at over $700.  I don't recall the manufacturer, and she didn't have one on had to show the quality.  I got mine off ebay for about $300.  It's very old, but in very good condition.  The Marine Shop in Quantico also sells one at $600.  I once inquired and was told it would take about six months for delivery.  I also read once on a discussion board a post by someone who went and looked at theirs in the showroom.  He said the quality was crap and not worth $600.

The also had these not doubt expensive emergency escape masks throughout the building, including the guard shack where no individual could get more than five meters from an exit.  Good job to the DOD for playing right into Osama Bin Laden's hands.  How many millions have been spent on these masks for not one gas attack.  We are gladly obliging in his plan to bankrupt our country.  You may think that what's the big deal about a few emergency escape masks, but when you add up all the ridiculous security measures sine 9-11 the costs are astronomical.