Posts Tagged ‘large’

Justifying Obesity

September 23, 2011

“This is the United States, why the hell don’t stores carry larger sizes?”

My customer goes on a tirade, yelling about the fact we do not carry his size 40, and beyond–I also assume other stores in the mall also do not carry his size. He’s so upset while ranting about the size of American people and the fact obesity is so rampant and thus stores should cater to them, his wife is patting his shoulder calming him down. After justifying his obesity for the store, and venting his frustrations at me, even though I honestly tried to help him find is size in black slacks, he throws his clothes down and walks out of the store. Now, I felt about compassionate for him, though not as much as I do for short people whom cannot even fit our shortest clothes and must either hem everything shop in the children’s section nor people whom have extra large thighs or calves or rear-ends, for these are often genetic in origin. Some obesity is genetic, we know as a country, especially the United States of America, this argument only goes so far because many of us were raised on fat and grease, fast-food, unhealthy eating, and growing up with the worst habits possible because of our wealthy spoiled social self-beliefs. Shall I include smoking, too?

In a country where ‘super-size me’ is an epidemic being curbed, you’d wonder if society is being helped out by making it harder to acquire the largest sizes; where extremely heavy-set individuals must pay for two plane seats to ride, if they do indeed take up two seats; even the ideal of having a super-heavy duty-sized car comes with additional taxes and prices just because of their sheer size, which is obviously a detraction, but still worth noting. I don’t often hear an argument from large people who fly on planes saying, “I only wear size 44-pants and XXXL shirts, I can only fit so much in a suitcase, obviously you shouldn’t charge me for extra luggage, because this is a vacation I’m going on I need a minimum amount of clothes and it won’t fit in one suitcase!”

Honestly, when I first started working in retail the topic of size came up, and the cost of clothing. I did argue that larger sizes should cost me, of course I was surrounded by much larger coworkers whom were upset with my remark, and of course took this in the most illogical way possible, commenting how fat people are already ostracized and discriminated against–as if gay people, and straight men aren’t discriminated and prejudiced in the fashion world as well? How many times do I have to act more girly just to make a woman believe what I’m telling her? Or how many times I’ve been passed up by a customer so they can ask a sloppy dressed new-girl her opinion just because she lacks a penis?

Either way, let us say you walk into a fabric store and you find a roll of fabric you love for $5. You find another roll of the exact same fabric, yet lo-and-behold, you can get two yards for the same price! Would this make sense to you? Would you pay for one-yard of fabric for $5, if you can get two-yards of the same fabric for $5? If you pick the first option, I really need to find something to sell you. Obviously, you’d want more fabric for the same cost. When I’m shopping for denim fabric in the sale section, do you think I’m going to buy the smallest sizes available? Not when I can purchase the largest size and get twice as much fabric for the same cost. You know, some companies are catching onto this, they may call it shrink, but they will charge more if you request larger sizes, because realistically it costs more for more fabric. Hopefully they charge less for the smaller sizes, too. They don’t offer a ‘super-size’ for free (unless it’s a special deal) and they definitely won’t charge you the same price for the kid’s meal. Why? Because of economics.

Also economically speaking, if we consider medium to be the median or middle-size, and this size was chosen as the average size of most human beings in the region–thus American and European sizing is different (I hope you already knew this). Depending on the market in the surrounding area, medium should be the first size to run out–small and large should be secondary, and thus extra-small and extra-large would be the hardest to sell. Time-and-again I used to have extra-extra-large customers come in and raid the sale section, amazed at all the deals they could find–because no one was buying them, because so few customers came in looking for it. Economically speaking, to remain profitable I would make the extraneous sizes harder to acquire. Yet, the sizes are still available online for purchase, which today’s customer didn’t find comforting.

Returning to the subject at hand, justifying obesity, defending obesity, sometimes society does things which I personally acknowledge. The movement away from the popularity of smoking for example, wonderful. The social outcry to environmentally friendly, astounding. The American movement to stop being the most overweight country, to bring health and consciousness back into our lives, and trying to break through the hurdles of self-created weakness and lack of accountability with one’s personal well-being and social inadequacies, especially on a world-class scale, I approve. Just as much as customers need to learn how to treat other people like human beings, they also need to break through other beliefs they grew up with and stop using them as crutches. Some of the most brilliant people emerged from the poorest regions of the world. It is not because they allowed the world they were born into to control them, it is because they capture their own self-worth and belief to take them where they wanted to be.

 

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I’m Waiting!

October 25, 2010

No, this definitely is not a restaurant story. Yet, this is a short story. I was standing folding, right next to the register, and from behind me, I hear a woman yell rudely and angrily, “I’m waiting!”

I turn. I feel as if I’ve made someone wait needlessly, since five seconds ago, I didn’t even see a customer. Now, I see a very. very heavy-set woman,  she looks disheveled (read this as her hair as a mess, her make-up bad, and her outfit looking very, very last-minute), and  she has a disappointed face. She’s walking near the registers. In actuality, she hasn’t even reached the register, and she’s still carrying a huge pile of clothes, all jumbled together in a disastrous ball. I assume she was there for about 2 seconds before she screamed oh-so-loudly. By the time I reach the register, she’s just putting her clothes down.

All I can say is, “Wow, you didn’t wait very long before you yelled, did you?” She just looks at me.

Of course, to make this bittersweet, she decides one item is two-dollars ($2) too expensive, so she wants to put it back and get another of a cheaper top. Thus I say to her friend, as she walks away, “Now, she’s making other people wait.” I roll my eyes, watching her walk very, very slowly away.

Customer Type: The Dumb, Lowered Expectations

Shoplifter Exam: What Doesn’t Belong?

June 5, 2010

Here is an exam to test your ability to spot shoplifters, by naming the multiple things these people did wrong:

I am standing at the front door greeting. I am very loud, and I also throw my voice–which is useful when I target ears. Haha. So I greet a couple that walks in, and I get no response–not even the look-away, where I’m purposely ignored (A). They stop and look at each other, speaking with eyes (B). The man and woman are very clean-looking, dressed slightly stylish (C). The man is wearing dark shades, and he lifts his hand to give her the bag he’s holding. She’s initially hesitant, but takes it (D). The bag is a large, huge, titanic surf-store bag which is very much empty; at best, it holds a few shirts (E). They continue to ignore me as I approach them and greet them again (F).

As the woman walks away, she passes someone who grazes the large surf-bag; she turns with a face full of anger, glaring at the other person (G). They go to the women’s department, and immediately find the first corner they can, between a table and a wall–there is little visibility here (H). I greet another customer, and continue to talk to this person as I pass from behind the couple to in front of them–they have already grabbed denim shorts and are holding it (I). I continue to speak, but there is actually no one else there–I’m talking to myself (J). My fake conversation takes me right next to the couple, as I point out clothes they are looking at; they have yet to acknowledge my presence (K). I also help a woman in that area, keeping myself there longer.

By this time, I have a coworker who can see them, but they cannot see her. I move with my back turned obviously, so they have time to look at me, and try to steal something while my coworker is watching (L). Then I turn around and continue helping people who aren’t there. The couple is intent on examining the denim shorts inside and out, down to the minutest details–literally–then they put it down and both leave (M). Nothing is stolen.

So, what were their mistakes?
A) Being ignored attracts attention, but it does not mean suspicion.
B) If you do ignore me when I speak English, yet you do not speak a foreign language to each other while trying to communicate–you do begin to arouse suspicion.
C) Nothing wrong here.
D) The awkward exchange with no speaking does arouse suspicion, but only slightly begging, “Why don’t you just say, ‘Take the bag’?”
E) The huge bag was the first, dead giveaway. The fact this bag is not even filled with enough clothes to merit a bag that size is also a giveaway.
F) The second time I am ignored is important, as they have aroused suspicion, even foreign language speakers cannot pretend to ignore me when I get this close and loud. Thus, they are trying to avoid detection acting invisible, yet making themselves glaringly obvious.
G) Her surprise, showed a highly defensive nature toward a bag which was not even filled with anything. Using the sunlight outside, I could only see a few shirts in there. Her surprise was a second huge giveaway. Plus, this isn’t a high-end shopping bag.

H) The important part here is they go to the women’s side, but in (D) he gave his bag away–generally, the woman gives her bag to the man when she shops in the women’s department. When couples shop together in the women’s department, men also carry the bag, because women to the shopping. Secondly, yes, the tight corner with little visibility is another giveaway as it is the best spot to steal.
I) In itself, no suspicion here.
J) They are trying very hard to be invisible, which means they will only look at me when they are prepared to steal.
K) By this time, even the most hard-headed of customers make eye-contact with me. So yes, it is suspicious.
L) My coworker wasn’t trained in the Art of War in Retail, so she didn’t get my hint I gave her, because I gave them 180-degrees of freedom behind my back. As they could not see her, but she could see them, it was a good opportunity to catch them stealing–but they didn’t know when I’d turn around, so that is also a deterrent.
M) Their examination of the shorts is excruciating. They spent too much time looking at it, and also examining the lining on the inside, which was actually where we place hard sensors. Their remarkable interest in the seam was lame and boring and far too long, they were obviously waiting for me to leave so they could steal. When I did not leave, they left instead.

I had wanted a better challenge than this, within the first five seconds they already gave themselves away as shoplifters and dug themselves deeper and deeper. You need to do a balance of normal customer and rude customer in order to steal properly–if you offend a salesperson, you have a better chance of making them go away. Think about it. Ignoring someone is not nearly as effective. Trust me.

English 101- I Want an Extra Small!

May 3, 2010

I return from a break and a woman is standing there looking for help. (I swear, I walk into these things.) She hands me a small top and says, “I want an extra small!” I can tell by her loud tone, she’s quite demanding and short-tempered. I search around, and search again, as she follows me around. Eventually, I find an XS-size, and I give it to her. She looks at me angrily, yelling, “No! I didn’t ask for this! I said I wanted an ‘extra’ small! I want another small!”

My face becomes utterly blank, since my patience suddenly dissipates. Seriously, you are in a retail environment, using nomenclature for sizes in inappropriate ways. How can your vocabulary be so stunted that you must use the word ‘extra’ to mean ‘another’ or ‘an additional’ or ‘more’. Don’t ever ask for an extra small or an extra large. I mean, literally, saying you want an extra medium already sounds sketchy. Either way, I get her the ‘extra’ small, so now she has two; I even get an extra-extra, giving her two more, but she refuses–she only wanted one extra small. Seriously?

Customer Types: Learn the Language

What Size Do You Wear?

February 19, 2010

It’s a busy day, there are a lot of customers asking for help. I’ve learned to avoid co-workers that have questions from customers and try to ask me for either help or opinions. Suddenly, a co-worker waves me over, because they’ve been trying to decide on her husband’s size–saying I am the same size as her husband. I have no stands or walls or fixtures to duck behind. I’m caught!

“What size do you wear?”
“Small.”
The woman looks at me in disbelief and shakes her head at me, “No, you don’t.”
And I look at her, while holding clothes for another customer who is waiting for me nearby, and I make a face with fiery eyes.
“You can’t be wearing small,” she says.
And I’m thinking, “Am I fat? Do I look fat? Are you telling me I’m fat? Because that’s really rude.”
“My husband wears medium. There’s no way a small would fit him,  but he’s your size,” she gestures at me.
And I”m thinking, “Then why are you asking me what size I am, if you already know what size your husband is?” Is it my responsibility to make your husband grow up and stop dressing like a kid, wearing clothes that actually fits him because he’s no longer going through growth spurts–which is generally why parents buy slightly bigger clothing. Or perhaps they were hoping he’d keep growing since he’s only a small, but after twenty years, you’d think it would sink in. And this woman definitely doesn’t look like she’s married to a rapper or a baller, whom over-exaggerate the idea of wearing big clothes which actually make you look smaller.

Listen, if the seam on the shoulder of your shirt is hanging more than two-inches over your shoulder, you’re probably wearing your clothes too big. Sure, you want to be comfortable, but did you know different companies make different widths and lengths of the same size for different target markets? A lot of what people consider ‘thug’ clothing will have larger than average sizes (either wider or longer, while still being correct at the seam), just as much as athletic stores will make more slim-fitting clothes for their athletic styles. It’s called fashion sense. Think about your shoes, even if you need a narrow or wide fit, do you get it two-inches longer than your foot?

“If you know what size he is, you should get him the size he usually wears.” And I turn to my co-worker, “You don’t need me here if she knows what size she wants.” Then I walk away. I hear the woman asking to for one of her manager friends–who is away on vacation–so she can complain about me.

There are sensible people who ask me what size I wear, and they see my clothes fits perfectly fine (it fits as it should fit), and they ask what size I wear, and they accept my answer–seriously people, it’s the size I wear. I’m not some baboon working at a retail store, lacking fashion sense–it’s generally the people who don’t work around fashion or avoid going near retail stores whom lack this sense the most, like her husband. Then there are those people who ask what size I wear, and look at me like I’m lying to them, then buy a size larger. That’s why I’ve learned to just point at a mannequin and say, “He’s wearing medium.” It keeps me out of the equation of insults.

Customer Types: ESP, The Riddler

*Sweats* I’m tired.

September 12, 2009

So I have two very large tourists come in, trying on a ton of clothes–maybe thirty to forty pieces between the two of them–for over an hour. They keep trying on different colors of the same style, and definitely keep trying on different sizes. This is a busy day, and I’m surrounded by customers in the fitting room. They keep requesting handfuls of items, which makes me focus more on them for over an hour, and ignore many of the other customers that also need help (perhaps thirty to forty customers). Although they are nice and cheery about it, they also get more snippy as they try on more clothes.

For one thing, the bigger sister (as they are two large sisters) is the fashionable one (?) and critiques everything her sister tries on–to the point that the smaller sister has to wait for her sister to reappear to ask, “How is this?” To my amazement, since this woman is a size 32, her sister keeps saying, ‘That makes you look fat. That makes you look stumpy. That shows your rolls.” I’m thinking how she won’t look fat when she is short, stumpy and fat trying on all sorts of spandex and skinny, slim pants. It is inevitable. At least some of the styles pulled in a little, yet her sister persisted on criticizing everything as just okay, or worse.

As the hour progressed, I was unaware–because I breathe through my mouth in the fitting room for good reason–that they were starting to sweat on everything, handing it back inside-out. One coworker noted, “Ugh, this stinks,” which grossed me out as I was trying to turn it right-side out. From that point, I left the clothes to sit on the side for a while, so another coworker could come by and innocently fold the sweaty clothes. Perhaps the smell will go away?

Yet, the clincher, after I was facing giant piles of clothes, and all the hordes of customers disappeared–myself tired, exhausted from running back and forth and helping dozens of customers–the smaller sister comes out, breathing hard, “Boy, I sure am tired from trying on all that clothes.” I can just stand and blink, it sure wasn’t a field-day for me.

Customer type: Micromanagement, Sweaty.

A Last Straw…

September 8, 2009

Last night, a woman comes up to the register with a pile of clothes and a previous purchase in a crushed, wrinkled bag–obviously a return or exchange. The state of one’s shopping bag says a great deal about the shopper, mind you. Which she let me know, was an exchange because she got wrong sizes. She also pulled out a tiny bottle of what amounts to a sample sized bottle of perfume, saying that she was surprised there was no sprayer–thus she opened it (violently?) and it has spilled all over the place, so she doesn’t want it–handing me vial with 1/4th its contents missing.I could already tell I’d be dealing with a neanderthal.

After I entered all her items, she decides to check if she got all the right sizes. Lo and behold, she got an XL instead of a L. (Who didn’t see that coming the moment she stepped to the register with eight shirts in her hand?) So I went to get the shirt from the children’s section. The piles here are neatly folded except for her meanderings–which equals everything above XL thrown asunder, and if you know clothing, XL is on the bottom of each pile, so everywhere I could see explosions of turned over piles. There at the top of one of her disasters was the Large-size she missed.

We have a promotion in which we must manually spread discounts between two items (50% and 50%), which she allowed me to complete before saying, “Wait, I want to see what I actually need.” Lo and behold, yet again, she chooses each item that was part of a ‘two item’ combination, thus leaving the single items with a full discount amounting to 100% off.

This left me with the task of starting the transaction over once again. Which is when I find out another coworker gave her an accidental discount far beyond 50%, closer to 75%-off for each item–which the customer reminded me, I needed to honor. I note, she did not remind me politely. Thus I had to price override every single item, and reapply the discount to 75%-off. Along with the scent she returned, and a hat and slippers she added to the transaction, she had a balance of about $15

She was incredulous with paying $15 (after getting 75%-off everything else). Thus she requested I recheck everything to make sure that it was done correctly, to the point  she didn’t believe the cash register. I mean seriously, who trusts the calculations of a computer, right? Seriously? So I needed to use a calculator to verify the transaction.

(Amusingly, she returned 4 shirts, and bought 4 shirts thus canceling out each other to $0.  She was also dealing with $23 from buying the hat and slippers which is more than the $8 for the returned scent which she exploded elsewhere. What is $23 minus $8? Is it $15? Congratulations if you know this, it’s math they usually teach you in first-grade. The fact she could not do the math on her own, did not trust the computer, and required me to calculate it, made me stop and breathe for ten seconds, because I was so furious I couldn’t even press calculator buttons correctly at this point.)

When my hands shake, that’s a very frustrating time.

After finishing the transaction, I was reminded by a manager this is something we always deal with. Which brings the good point that maybe I shouldn’t work in retail anymore, because the fact of demoralization as a part of work and life is not satisfactory nor does it make any actual sense. I don’t recall the job saying, “You shall be insulted, demoralized, and your self-esteem shaken by working in retail.” In a sense, it was like saying my friends were right five years ago when I retired from the world, retail is not a place for me, and I have too much self-respect and dignity to stand there and be spoken to unintelligably.
Confucius would say, you control the words you speak, you do not control what these words mean.

Customer Terms: Micromanagement