Shopping and other retail nightmares
People like to say the act of shopping is vain and mindless; I disagree, shopping is an art. Shopping requires a special skill set of preparedness and pleasantries. Want to be a shopping sensei? Next time you hit the trade floor remember these top tips:
The Circus Mirror
You know it, we’ve all been there when you’re in the change room and down to bra and undies, hunched over trying to decipher intricate shoulder strap layering of an extremely slippery top.
Once on, your skin is bandaged into pants that are apparently your size; the layered top has taken the skill of an origami master to fold in a somewhat flattering sculpture and that’s when it hits you. Where’s the mirror?! Outside. It’s a communal mirror situation where women teeter upon imaginary high heels in front of the massive, ornate mirror. It’s a hideous parade of risk and sweat.
Out in the open it’s not all so bad... “Ohhh! Hello, skinny me. Don’t you look sensational in those low cut, firm-fitting Capris!” Until, at least, you get home and those Gisele legs have seemingly morphed into a rugby player’s lower half.
Cruel trick you play, shop designer (or who ever is responsible for this mirror tilting technique). Best bet? Employ a friend or assistant to take a phone photo at parallel level from all angles for some visual truth. ‘Take that!’ you cheer, as Trinny and Susannah smack you some well-earned high fives.
The Lone Shopper Experience
I don’t mean on-your-own shopping but walking into a store when it’s just you, the assistant and some dub step beats filling in the space between. Once you get past multiple try ons in multiple colours and sizes, it’s clear this is not going to work. Sorry dress, its not you, it’s me. Simple.
But that was the easy part. Now you need to break it to the assistant. Should I just buy something to avoid this horrible sense of guilt? Do I look like Meryl Streep throwing coats at Anne Hathaway? This is hard when you are a Lone Shopper and the assistant has gracefully slaved over you personally for half an hour.
It’s OK, the shop assistant is not going to take my zero purchases personally, not all tried pieces work. A swift and polite ‘It just wasn’t right’ will suffice. Just don’t leave clothes in the change room – they really hate that. No really, don’t.
The All or Nothing Phenomenon
There are two types of shopping assistants who can ruin my shopping mojo, the first of whom ambushes you with one foot over the store threshold. Should my eyes settle on a top for two seconds and suddenly I know it comes in 47 colours, was made in a city outside Belgrave and is completely carbon neutral. ‘Thanks’ I say, participating in the improv performance of ‘Interest in a T-shirt’ as I shuffle outside checking a text from absolutely no one.
The second type of shop assistant is on the phone. Always. On the phone. This creature seems to have wandering eye syndrome, and I can seem to catch their eye with a tilted head and raised eyebrows. Even if I were set fire to and wearing the latest Givenchy heels, I am a floating shape in their peripheral vision.
In my maturing garment-acquiring, I have started using a timeout system: if in 4-5 minutes there is no ‘Hello’, nod or smile, I’m out of there. Sorry, but if you haven’t heard, the retail industry is in a shabby state of affairs and if I cant see your pupils there’s a lady next door just dying to see me in a floral, one-shoulder number with some highly complicated drapery.
Tell us about your shopping nightmares