How old is your oldest T-shirt?
According to UBC News, someone who bought a T-shirt from the UBC Bookstore back in 1981 reached out to ask for a refund after owning the shirt for 42 years.
Mark Gibbs, now 62 years old, sent his beat-up yellow Thunderbirds T-shirt back to the store with a handwritten letter.
“I visited your store as part of the Cardiff college of education rugby tour in 1981,” he wrote.
“Our trip to Vancouver and Victoria Island (sic) were highlights in my life. Incredible memories were created during that unbeaten tour.”
“Whilst at UBC I purchased the enclosed T-shirt and wore it with pride,” he wrote.
“However, I must confess that I am very disappointed with the quality. As you can see it has worn in many places, shrunk and appears to have paint stains on it… I would appreciate a prompt response to this complaint.”
Gibbs included a photo of him wearing the shirt in 1983 and 2022.
“Replacement T-shirt please,” he wrote, hoping to bring some joy to people at UBC with his query.
“That was the aim. Nothing but a smile on someone’s face. £8 in postage for a giggle. A free T in return would be a bonus!” he said.
Of course, the real UBC Bookstore exchange policy “requires items to be in new, unworn condition with tags on and original receipt and to be returned within 30 days.
But the bookstore director Steve Alb wrote back to Gibbs almost immediately.
“Having endured 40 years of wear we are similarly shocked that the shirt has finally given up the ghost – talk about shoddy product! We will of course replace it at no charge, even though our return window has been ever-so-slightly exceeded,” said Alb in an email.
“We will be sending you a new UBC T-shirt in yellow. I apologize that the design has changed, but we had to adapt to fashion trends.”
Now, the T-shirt is on display in the store for all to see.
“It’s not the Sistine Chapel, or the Great Pyramids, but it is a little slice of UBC history,” said Alb. “We wish Mr. Gibbs all the best with his replacement shirt and encourage him to exchange it, hopefully in person, in 2065.”