Living in one of North America’s rainiest cities means that umbrellas have become a part of everyday life, but are we undermining its importance?
“The number one mistake I think consumers make is that they buy fancy covers that are put on poor frames,” said Corry Flader, owner of The Umbrella Shop. She recommends looking for an umbrella with a good bell shape and wind resistance.
Find out the quality of an umbrella by imitating the wind. Lightly pull on the ribs or metal wires of the umbrella that hold up the cover. Umbrellas of poor quality break during this test because the frame material isn’t able to resist the pressure. Frames of better quality snap back, preventing the cover from flipping inside out.
Umbrellas don’t get a lot of respect. People want something cheap, small and convenient. They “identify the umbrella as something you buy for two dollars and chuck,” said Flader. Umbrellas don’t have to be expensive to be good but according to Flader, “There is no value in buying a five dollar umbrella, unless you’re really interested in loading up landfills and blowing your money.”
Umbrella etiquette is something that seems basic, but it is often overlooked.
“Rain falls a certain way. People need to point their umbrella in the direction of the rain,” says Langara student Marisa Artiga. “That way they don’t get wet and we don’t get wet.”
It’s unbelievable how many people don’t know what to do with umbrellas in public situations, said Flader. Her biggest pet peeves include people who carry umbrellas inappropriate for their size and those who use umbrellas with missing or broken ribs, both of which leave the user soaked due to the lack of coverage.
A helpful tip when shopping for an umbrella, especially for students, is to ask questions and don’t be shy about it: hassle them if need be. Ask about the warranty because it could save you money in the long run.
Reported by Brenna Brooks