“The embarrassment of a situation can, once you are over it, can be the funniest time in your life.” – Miranda Hart
Can you help me understand how anyone can legitimately enjoy clothes shopping?
One of my least favorite activities in life, yes all of life, is clothes shopping. Strongly dislike it. Two thumbs down. Dare I say “hate it”? I suppose ‘hate’ is probably too strong a word for this activity; more on that in a bit. My feelings are for a few reasons really.
For starters, there’s the spending money part. While on the surface this may seem an obvious byproduct of shopping, I’m frugal, I have bills to pay, a photography habit to fund, a house to build, and a savings and investment account to bolster. Look at me – adulting.
There’s the ‘I’d rather be doing something else with my time’ part. Such as napping, perfecting my sarcasm, writing or editing photos – in no particular order, but all things I can potentially excel at…in my opinion.
There’s the forced interaction with unknown humans part (I am an HR professional…sometimes we just need a break from the humans). Related, but different, there’s the unavoidable interaction with the ultra peppy retail employees part (again, HR professional here…more power to those folks and their uppers, but again, break needed).
There’s the ISTJ factor. Personality type is never an excuse – seriously – but it explains a few things when you look at the brick and mortar retail shopping for clothing situation from a big picture perspective. I have a couple of ENFP pals that are probably jumping at the chance to shed some light on this.
There’s the ever so fun and ongoing weight fluctuation issues that I’ve be graced with my entire life that one would think is genetic, but I’ve yet to figure out which one of my slender parents with functioning metabolisms I can blame for it. It could also be a general luck of the draw type of situation. If so, I’d like that in writing. And notarized. Highly likely that it could be an undiagnosed medical issue. Research on this is ongoing, so stand by for more on that. I mean I don’t even have a primary care physician in the state of South Carolina, so my research certainly has its limitations. Perhaps a future post in the making or future Netflix documentary. The sky – and my weight – is the limit.
Finally, there’s my general dislike for trying on clothes in dressing rooms with the immensely unflattering lighting. Seriously though, the lighting in dressing rooms is so terrible that you look like a washed out, sickly person with unflattering shadows that looks good in no color at all. Don’t you think that from a business perspective, they really missed the mark with the lighting? I would think sales would go down. Just saying.
In conjunction with the heinous lighting in the dressing room, add in the ultra peppy retail employee, who you think has gone back to the main store floor or the register, but instead is – this is what I envision is happening in my little reality – lurking around outside of the dressing room area waiting on the perfect opportunity to knock on the door just for the thrill of startling you when you are at your most uncomfortable. For example, that moment when you are struggling so hard to get out of that righteously cute shirt that you knew probably wouldn’t fit in some areas but you talked yourself into it because your sister, Alice the shopping connoisseur, said it would look super flattering that you have begun to sweat pretty profusely after you swear you heard a thread or nine ‘stretch’ and you fear having to purchase the damn thing out of guilt, which only further irritates you because you are frugal (see paragraph two). Ever wonder why some shirts are so easy to get on but impossible to get off? I do. All the time. It makes no sense. It defies logic. And I like logic. Or that moment, for example, where you really want those bitchin’ jeans that would look so fantastic with any number of boots in your collection to fit that you decide that it is absolutely reasonable for your germ-fearing self to lay on the ground, that has likely never been cleaned, solely to get that top button closed and to execute a successful zip, only to find that even though you got those suckers on, you are unable to get yourself upright. Happy to dole out more ‘hypotheticals’, but you get the idea.
There are certainly other reasons why I dislike the act of clothes shopping, but these are really the key ones that I felt were worth mentioning.
Now, you will generally find me out on one of these riveting outings with my sister, Alice, and our wonderful friend, Nicole, as a result of being bribed and/or tricked into it due to being in a Sunday-brunch coma. Alice and Nicole are serious, giddy shoppers. They get into it, they enjoy it, they thrive in the environment – they are walking on air when in a retail environment, high on life and textiles. They have also taken the bribing to a whole new level.
A bribe goes something like this –
Nicole & Alice: “Hey Sarah! Do you want to go to a craft beer and wine festival with us today out on Johns Island?”
Sarah pauses; she weighs her alternatives for a moment. There’s a frat party raging next door at the moment and it’s not even noon – it’s so loud that Sarah can barely hear her own thoughts. Craft beer you said? And wine? The great outdoors you said? Yeah, I can get into that. So I’m all in.
So we get into the car and my sister, bless her heart, announces, “oh Nicole, don’t forget we need to run to North Charleston to drop this bag off for the Great Dane rescue.” I immediately know that I’m trapped and was provided falsified information because what some readers may not know is that the place where we are to drop off the bag is located about 0.067 miles from the outdoor outlet mall. It is also in the complete opposite direction of Johns Island where the alleged festival is. Next Nicole says, “Oh shoot, I should have worn boots if we’re going to be out at the vineyard.” Which loosely translates to, “Can we stop by the outlet mall and run into Nine West to look for some boots?!” Sigh. Here we go. Another shopping outing with Alice and Nicole is going to be in the books by the end of the day. They are high on life. I am contemplating assuming the risk associated with jumping from the moving vehicle.When I wind up in these situations, I have found that I can only survive such outings by reaching the mental state where I feel like absurd behavior is the only option. Couple of ways to accomplish this.
As much as I dislike the dressing room situation, oddly enough, I have no issues with throwing on clothes over what I’m already wearing. In the middle of the store. And without a care in the world. It’s usually a jacket or shirt; pants get tricky, but they are doable; skirts on occasion; rompers, onesies, and jump suits…mmm…I would say that’s out of the question as I would never wear that – such trends are not supported by my body type – but that doesn’t stop me from trying for the pure joy of irritating Alice and Nicole and/or making them somewhat uncomfortable, to the point where they may want to leave the store in an effort to save-face.
Two positives result from such actions – first, is the slight but noticeable look of horror mixed with fear in the faces of the ultra peppy retail employees as I disrupt their perfectly folded items (I know, I know. This really goes against my undiagnosed OCD tendencies) and bring down the general atmosphere from classy to slightly trashy. Second, is the slow escalation of hilarious frustration that my dear dear sister Alice experiences while trying to stay in the moment of her shopping high. She loves every minute of it. LOVES IT.
The other thing that gives me great joy is specific to stores that have budgeted for the ever so important “greeter” position. You know, the folks that spring out of a spot near the front of the store at the sound of the soothing chime triggered by the opening of the door, gleefully welcoming you to the store and offering their assistance in your time of need. Being a Human Resources professional, I find this position absolutely fascinating. Like how does that interview go? Does part of their compensation package include funneling them uppers or hooking them up to a caffeine drip? I could never succeed at that job and I don’t envy those souls that sign up for that gig, but I appreciate their position because I can find entertainment in it. To all the “greeters” out there, thank you.
Hands-down the best stores are those in which there is a relatively constant flow of shoppers walking through the front door. So much so that the greeter, after a while, reverts into robot-mode as they repeat their welcome greeting, which was no doubt scripted by a corporate marketing department in some team-building exercise, while no longer recognizing the new shoppers from the old. I cannot express how much it entertains me to make my way through the store, circling the perimeter at a nice sauntering pace, making my way back to the front of the store in order to casually pass in front of the greeter, only to hear them welcome you to their store again. “Welcome to Versona!” And to continue to do this repeatedly. “Welcome to Versona!” “Welcome to Versona!” “Welcome to Versona!”
I’m telling you that the amount of internal chuckling that goes on in this scenario is out of control.
Shopping for clothes just isn’t my thing. My soaring self-esteem aside, I’m just far too cheap, I was born without style, and I generally cannot get behind the idea of clothes shopping. That being said, I am confident that the ultra peppy retail employees breathe a sigh of relief every day that I don’t stroll into their stores.
I will leave you with a few videos to close out this post (I need to improve on my closing statement in a serious way).