I used to work at this terrible store called “Britches” in the Stamford Mall when I was a teenager. They had a vigorous training routine so that our job was basically to stalk customers so that we could make sales. The more we sold, the more we made. Simple. That store doesn’t exist anymore (and it turns out my super anal “Make sure you say hello to everyone and smile broadly” corny boss was arrested for embezzling over $30,000 from them). Anyway- I understand what salespeople are expected to do. Nevertheless, the intrusiveness of a store like White House/Black Market is astonishing. Take a store, give it great clothing- and it’s sure to be a home run- right? What could go wrong? How about the most overbearing sales team that has ever been known to man. I give to you: The Six Things That White House/Black Market Should Stop Doing:
1. Yes, I have an e-mail (it’s 2014) but no, I won’t give it to you.
This store goes beyond the “What you like to add your email so we can send you coupons schtick” (Note: I’ve been tempted many times to create an email like “SendMeYourShittyCoupons@gmail.com” to consistently give out)- The moment you walk in, it’s like a long lost high school friend that you have no interest in talking to… “What are you shopping for today?”, “What’s your name?”, “What town do you live in?”, “Are you shopping for an occasion or casual”- Lady. Chill. The. F@ck. Out. I just want to look at your sale rack while I check my iPhone for new texts and emails. I have no interest in sharing with you my life goals or how I’ve been thinking about trying Bikram yoga.
2. Why, yes, thank you, I have put on a few pounds.
You know when you go to a carnival and there’s that idiot on a microphone that says he can “guess your weight within three pounds”? Well, no woman in her right mind plays that game. It’s reserved for anorexic showoffs and children. Maybe someone should have shared this information with White House/Black Market because they love to guess your size. You know that awkward moment when a sales associate scouts you taking a second glance at a shirt and then frantically goes through the pile trying to find your size?… then they innocently look up and say “Extra Large?”- Do not guess my size. Again, do not guess my size. And if you’re going to guess, common sense says to guess smaller than you actually think- flatter the shopper! Don’t make her want to leave because she’s embarrassed that she’s over indulged in the Filet-o-Fish sandwich special this season at McDonalds. (Their tarter sauce is exceptional)
3. YELLING IS MY FAVORITE.
Stop yelling. Apparently part of their training program includes asking associates to use outdoor voices at all times. Maybe they’re so used to talking loudly over Michael Bolton’s CD on repeat, that they don’t realize that they’re about 3456 decibels too high. Also, when you’re going to guess I’m an extra large, it would be less humiliating if the entire store didn’t hear you. I’m also relatively sure that the woman who is a thousand feet away doesn’t need to know that I need a dress to wear to my cousins bridal shower- because you know… we’re old best friends from high school and you now know everything about me including that I need a dress for that shower… and that I’m pretty sure that the marriage won’t last. You asked a lot of questions. You have to know this stuff if you’re going to help me find a dress.
4. I am not on Project Runway
Despite the fact that you’re not actually a fashion designer, you insist on picking outfits for me. I understand the art of the up-sell, but there’s something very disturbing about a stranger just picking outfits for me to try on. I get that you think you know your inventory- but you don’t actually know me (besides the whole Bikram yoga and my cousins shower thing)- So please, stop bringing me outfits. I feel obligated to try it on and if I rejected the flower patterned blouse when I saw it on the rack, you bringing me an extra large in it will not change my mind. Also, what’s up with always bringing shoes? I have shoes. I have plenty of shoes and not every outfit needs matching shoes… maybe we didn’t cover that in our initial interview when I entered the store.
5. Dressing rooms are not for parties.
The sound of shuffling feet followed by “Can I come in?”. The answer is no. When I’m in the dressing room, that’s my time. I don’t need company. I especially don’t need company from a loud woman who thinks I’m an extra-large that is overly interested in the bridal shower I have to go to. How do I politely tell you that I want you nowhere near me when the only thing coming between us is a thin cotton curtain? If I need an opinion on an outfit, trust me, I’ll ask- and better yet, I will leave the dressing room. I don’t under any circumstance need you to come into the 4×4 foot room to help me out of my bra. Would you like to loudly guess the size of my boobs now that we’re confined in this tiny dressing room? Also, get doors- No one feels protected with a stained curtain blocking their naked body and the rest of the world.
6. Ye Who Harbors The Coupon
There was a time when if you didn’t have a coupon in hand, you were shit out of luck. Well, that time is long gone. I can whip out my smartphone and find coupons online in a matter of minutes. Most of the time, you’ve already emailed me a dozen to my email “SendMeYourShittyCoupons@gmail.com”- So WHY do you refuse to just give me the coupon? Why? Do you really want me to hold up this entire line while I diligently search RetailMeNot.com and every other coupon site on the Internet because I accidentally deleted your stupid coupon? JUST GIVE IT TO ME. Because here’s the thing- If you refuse to give me the coupon, I will harbor hate in my heart and never, ever shop at your store again. I will just think “that loud, intrusive, fake fashion designer had the paper coupon four inches from her fingers and refused to give it to me”- Just seems wrong after all we’ve been through. Hell, I even invited you to my cousin’s bridal shower.