When the Stetson Duster that I'd bought at Meyer's in New Orleans in the late 90's started looking seedy, it took me well over a year to find a replacement. Good hat stores are few and far between, and even though I'd check in every city that I found myself in, it wasn't until we got to San Antonio in May of '05, that I found a store convenient to where I was staying and with a pretty decent selection of western style hats. Stetson stopped making the Duster some years ago, but I found two other styles that I kind of liked and bought them. I was particularly glad to have done that after one of them was stolen in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. At least I didn't have to go hatless once I got back to Birmingham.
I wasn't surprised that the restaurant wasn't able to retrieve the hat from the miscreant who walked off with it (although I am a little annoyed that the manager never called to let me know). I was resigned to a quest of many months again before I could replace it.
But there were a couple of people at the meeting in Seattle who made a point of letting me know that there was a good hat store only a couple of blocks from the hotel. And, indeed, Byrnie Utz Hats is one of the best I've been in. They had the exact model that'd walked away and the tall young man in the bowler hat shaped it expertly for me and arranged to have it shipped back to Birmingham. It was here by the time I got home.
What remains to be seen is whether the restaurant will make good on their pledge to cover the replacement cost...