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“The quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her.”

July 16, 2011

From The Doghouse Diaries.

It’s clear if you’re reading this blog you have an interest, at least mildly, in shopping. And unless you’re an avid online shopper, most of us will make the trek outside our tiny apartments and enjoy the actual shopping trip — the walking around on a sunny day, the stopping for coffee, the gossip, the I hate it/I love its, the having to pee the second you bring in 8 items into a dressing room. Cliché as it may be, this is weekend therapy for most women. I admit it.

But as with most vices, there is a fine line between love and hate. Are there things that drive you crazy when you go shopping? Things that sincerely detract from the otherwise wondrous experience? I have a few.

1. As illustrated by The Doghouse Diaries above, there is nothing more frustrating that just knowing the second you find an item you’re infatuated with, that there will be approximately — 11 size zeros and twos, 5 size fours and sixes, 0 size eights (ding ding ding), and about 12 size sixteens. I am a solid size eight. Have been since about sophomore year of college. And it is a cold day in hell when I find plentiful numbers of my size on the rack.

2. The salespeople are a little too up in your business. I worked at Kohl’s throughout high school and had a stint at the GAP when I first moved to New York. I get it — you’re doing what you’re told. So this isn’t so much a vent to the salespeople as much as the management who insists upon the pushy behavior. I’d say one out of every 20 customers needs the devoted attention retail employees are trained to give to every single customer. I can’t tell you how torturous it was to walk up to women at the GAP and ask them multiple times if they’re sure they don’t want to buy a GAP card with us today.

I do enjoy a genuine hello, and maybe a quick heads-up if there’s any sales going on. But please don’t comment on every item of clothing I pick up. I didn’t ask for your opinion. If I want it, I’ll ask for it. I will write a comment card for you to make your boss happy if you stop asking me questions.

3. I didn’t play sports in high school or college. Any athletic endeavors I’ve pursued have been strictly individual — yoga, the occasional jog, stair-climbing. Competition isn’t part of my nature. But it is in a situation I call the “rack stakeout.” This fencing-like sport is limited to discount and vintage stores. It mostly happens at TJMaxx, Beacon’s Closet, Marshall’s.

I’m not a casual peruser when I shop. When I approach a rack, I am ready to inspect every single piece of clothing on it to ensure I’m not missing what could be my new favorite shirt. So, you start on one side, and you’re dutifully moving along the rack, singing along to Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” playing on Muzak. And then! AND THEN! Someone else is suddenly so interested in the rack (in the middle of it, like an amateur!), the rack you’ve been so loyal to for the past half-hour! She creeps slowly, inching toward you. And this is when the stake-out begins. This woman (or man, but I’ve never seen a man do this) will keep going through the rack until they are neck-and-neck with you. The only thing in between you and this woman is three $8.99 blouses. You have a choice here — you can surrender, and give her the rack, or, you can stand your ground.

Only once in my experience has this situation resulted in actual drama. Upon standing my ground, when a woman refused to move and we were at a standstill, we both stared at each other in disbelief. She shook her head, and walked away (Beacon’s Closet, winter 2010, never forget).

* * *

I am a female Woody Allen when it comes to neuroses, and my shopping habits are no exception. Maybe online shopping does have its perks. What annoys you when you shop?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Melanie permalink*
    July 16, 2011 11:46 am

    This reminds me of something I almost tweeted about during my Kohl’s visit the other day: the customer who, upon arriving at check-out, watches every price and asks a million questions thinking this was supposed to be x price. Then they decide something rang up too high, and they have to put it back. Ugh. I swear I stood in line for 15 minutes for my 4 pieces of jewelry.

    • Jenny permalink*
      July 16, 2011 11:53 am

      I’m guilty of that sometimes when a sign is misleading or seemed to suggest something was buy-one-get-one-free or whatever. But you’ve gotta let some things go. It’s a cheap pair of earrings that will last you a month or so — let it go, lady!

  2. July 16, 2011 1:58 pm

    Haha, I can’t think of any major annoyances, save for the occasional baby stroller in a tiny space in NYC. Also, vanity sizing. I never did figure out Ann Taylor Loft’s system; I just know that everything runs unusually large. Makes that first scenario of yours all the more irritating.

  3. Katy permalink*
    July 18, 2011 1:56 pm

    I am a lot pickier when buying in person than when I buy online. You think it’d be the other way around because you can try stuff on in person, don’t have to send it back, etc. Usually the hassels of shopping in person deter me from buying things (i.e. dressing rooms, waiting in lines…people in general all up in my grill).

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