A Cautionary TalePosted: September 16, 2012
It is no wonder that the Internet has made huge inroads in the fashion business because stores could hardly do a worse job of having great employees and creating spaces that make it easy, comfortable and attractive to try on clothes.
I hate to shop in stores. This is not a new thing. That is unless the store is run by the owner who has a vested interest in actually helping me, sells enough that the store is profitable so it does not have merchandise all crammed together and has beautiful dressing rooms, with someplace to sit down and most importantly great lighting.
One of the only bad things about dieting is that you have to buy some clothes to wear while going down, but you don’t want to buy many because the hope is you will shrink out of them. When changing sizes you really need to visit a store to see what fits so it makes Internet shopping out of the question. You see, the only thing I hate more than visiting a clothing store is having to go to my local post office to mail a package of wrong sized clothes back to the seller.
I am sure this hatred of shopping is genetic on my paternal side. My father told me of his childhood horror of going to Montaldo’s, the nicest woman’s store in Winston-Salem with his mother when he was five. He says he would go immediately to the circular ladies night gown rack and hide in the middle because my Grandmother would run out of patience about ten minutes into her visit and stamp her foot and in a loud, smoked-too-much, scratchy voice say, “Who is going to wait on me?”
As much as father claims it scared him, he too wants to be helped at stores, just as I do. I am almost worst than my Grandmother, which my relatives all know is a really high bar to hurdle.
One December years ago I was in a Gap-like store trying to buy Christmas presents. There was one main check-out desk manned by the only person who apparently could run the cash register. There were three other “sweater folders” working in the store who did not ever proactively interact with the customers. Their sole purpose was to fold and refold clothes so the store always looked perfect, not so they actually helped sell something.
I had single handedly found four items to buy as presents and went up to the desk to pay. I was third in a line of six people all trying to keep our Christmas cheer while waiting an endless amount of time to give these people our money for the over-priced items and get the hell out of there.
Even though there appeared to be three cash registers and four employees, only the one who passed fifth grade math was allowed to use it. As I became the next customer to be checked-out the phone rang. Right in the middle of scanning my items the clerk helping me stopped, answered the phone, talked for at least a minute to the person on the phone and then, laying the receiver on the counter walked away from the register and me, money in hand.
“Wait,” I called out, the genetic twin of my Grandmother, “Can’t one of the sweater folders help the person on the phone and you keep ringing me out?”. The bored clerk, who was making the same amount of money whether they had any customers or not replied, “No.”
Quickly realizing I was about to be left I said, “The person on the phone is only inquiring about possibly spending money in your store. I am actually trying to spend money here. Please finish with me first.”
As the clerk slowly sauntered off to the back of the store she said, “The phone takes priority.”
This is when I am glad I do not carry a weapon, instead I carry a big mouth and a short temper. I did the only thing I could do at that moment. Turning to the other, much too patient, customers who were waiting behind me I said, “This store is not interested in us or our business, I suggest you leave with me now.”
I felt very empowered as two of the three other customers dumped their items on the front desk in a heap for the sweater folders to restock and walked out into the mall with me.
It was a real pain-in-the-ass because I had to do more shopping to find replacement gifts for the ones I did not buy there, but I was damned if I would patronize such an idiotic store again.
So this post is a cautionary warning that if you see me out about town and I’m naked, I have not lost my mind, I just did not have any clothes that fit and I could not bring myself to enter another store.