In the vein of horrendously obnoxious customer service, I thought I’d share the story of my shopping expedition yesterday. Actually, most people probably wouldn’t call it an expedition because I only went to two stores. For someone who shops for clothes as infrequently as I do, that’s an expedition. The only reason I went shopping in the first place was because a store right around the corner from me just put up a going-out-of-business “70% off” sign, meaning they should have a lot of shit on sale. The shit I refer to is what the girls around here wear when they go out or go to work and want to look nice. At least I think…
So, I entered the store with an open mind and a willingness to try on just about anything. As I stepped through the doorway, a Mediterranean man in his mid-thirties nearly knocked me over to inform me that everything was on sale because they’re going out of business.
Thanks, I can read a fucking sign.
He kind of reminded me of The Rock, if he were an overbearing, aging hipster with no sense of personal space. I thought it was counter-intuitive to place such a menacing figure in the doorway of women’s fashion boutique, but whatever.
I started grabbing clothes and a Mediterranean lady started a fitting room for me. We made a little conversation; she also told me the store was closing and pointed out some items for sale. I let her do most of the talking and was grateful when she was finished.
I continued my journey throughout the store. I passed the same Mediterranean man by the register and apathetically thumbed through a rack of halter tops, eyeing one with a silver snake broach at the solar plexus. I didn’t think I could pull it off, but the snake was cute.
“We just got those in. Those tops are really beautiful.”
There are two left and you’re going out of business. Do I look like a fucking moron?
I nodded and walked away. I ended up adding the snake top to my collection as I walked back to the dressing room, remembering that I should at least try it on, since I’d gone to the effort to shop in the first place.
So the clothes-trying began, and from that point forward I had someone up my ass at least every two minutes. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at saying, “Leave me the fuck alone,” using only my eyes, but unfortunately it didn’t work on these people.
The dressing rooms are small such that you have to walk out into the store if you want to look in the mirror. This way, everyone gets to see how ridiculous you look. More importantly, this gives the salespeople an opportunity to try to convince you that you don’t look ridiculous and you should buy their shit.
And that’s what happened. At first, I didn’t mind getting help from the two tag-teaming skinny but unattractive Mediterranean ladies (one looked like the first one’s mother). As I came out in different tops, they showed me how to wear them or suggested what to wear with them. It was a little more attention than I wanted, but they were just doing their job. I’m pretty good at deciding what I do and don’t like, and I know what I have in my closet to match whatever garment I try on. Over time, these women were wearing on me, crossing the line from appearing helpful to overtly pushing me into buying something. I understand that they need to sell stuff, but when you’re dealing with someone who clearly doesn’t want to talk to you, less is more.
I was even interrupted at one point by one of the ladies who wanted to “ask me something.” The curtain moved a little bit and I had to abruptly say, “I’ll be out in a minute.” Whatever she had to ask me was insignifigant enough for me to have forgotten it by now, and definitely not worth exposing my naked body to the store.
Worse than the ladies, though, was The Overbearing Rock. He almost insisted that I try on the snake top again, even though I had already tried to explain to the ladies that I don’t have enough cleavage to pull it off. It was one of those tops that doesn’t “close” high enough, and I’m not big on showing off the great plains between my tiny twin peaks. To make one thing clear, my body is fine, that shirt on my body, however, is wack.
I really hate having to justify to a salesperson why I don’t want to buy something, and when they’re riding your ass as hard they were, you pretty much have to do that.
Anyway, as I tried on clothes, The Overbearing Rock kept walking by, commenting on my attire. I had brought back some black pants that I knew I didn’t want just to see how some of the tops would look with that color. I knew I didn’t want them because an inch of see-through mesh ran down the length of each side where fabric should be. The Overbearing Rock walked by as one of the ladies was helping me adjust the top and said matter-of-factly, “Those pants look very sexy.”
And your ass is very creepy.
Now, I know I’m a decent-looking girl, but I’m no supermodel. I carry around a few extra pounds because I like to eat regularly, like normal people. These particular pants were not made for a girl like me. They were made for a girl like Cameron Diaz. That’s fine, and it should be obvious to whoever sees me in them that they’re pretty awkward (and now, I wish I’d taken pictures because it’s kind of funny).
I put aside a few tops that I was thinking about buying and stripped down to try on a dress. By this point, I was warily eyeing the curtain between me and the rest of the world, just waiting for it to move so I could deliver someone a vicious beatdown.
When I put on the dress, I found that it was made with that stretchy fabric that isn’t flattering on anyone. The pattern was okay, but the waist was too high, which I of course had to tell the lady who ran to me the second I stepped out to see how I looked in it. She tugged at the waist a little, so it would look halfway decent on me for a split second before the normal occurrences of wearing clothes (i.e., moving) would shift it back to where it naturally sits. The Overbearing Rock walked by again and said, “Wow.”
I almost gagged. That was the most insincere “wow” I’ve ever heard, directed at me or otherwise. In fact, I think my dad would have sounded more sincere even after my mom had kicked him in the shin and gave him a glaring nod as if to say, “Give your daughter a compliment.” While my family isn’t terribly generous with compliments, I’ve come across many men who are. And while those are few and far between anymore, I still know a real compliment when I hear it. And that one was so far at the other end of the spectrum, I’d have to call it an insult.
I changed back into my clothes and evaluated my findings. Of course, I had “help.” The younger lady stood with me while I went through my pile, so I showed her the three tops I was thinking about. None of them were “must-haves,” but they were each a departure from the tank-top-and-cardigan look I’ve been rocking since 2001.
I don’t look at prices until I’ve decided I want something (why go through the stress of decision-making right away?), so I clarified the prices with the lady at that point, as the clothes were precariously marked “on sale”. Each item came out to about $50. No problem, but I’m definitely not going to buy all three. I said that I wanted to take some time and think about which ones I wanted. She insisted that I talk to The Overbearing Rock so he could get me a better price.
The price isn’t the issue, but I might as well see what they offer.
She grabbed the tops and told me to follow her to the register. She said something to the man and he ignored me for a bit while I checked some messages on my Sidekick. Then he turned around and said with overpowering arrogance, “This is the best price you can get for these clothes. These are the best clothes and that is the best price.”
This was really annoyi
ng, as I never said I had a problem with the price. And clearly, there was no room to negotiate, which the family should have established before they decided to have their big closeout sale. Apparently, their bad communication with customers stems from their bad communication at home.
So I yelled, “I can see why you’re going out of business you creepy fuck! I hope your miserable ass gets fucking deported!” And then I knocked over a display of earrings and threw a table through a window.
That last part didn’t happen, but I left the store empty-handed, feeling glad I didn’t give money to such a poorly-run family business. I hate shopping for clothes even more now.