Posts Tagged ‘sizes’

Shiva Reborn

October 3, 2011

Yes, I write about retail. Yet, I think about the world as a reflection in many ways. As a single pebble can cause an avalanche, this same pebble sitting properly can help avoid the same chain-reactions. Man, humanity, homo-sapiens as the destroyers, is this outlandish?

Moving into a macro-scale, we can consider human beings as a trend through history. These are the killers and hunters, the creators of extinction and genocide. We transform the land. Look around you, without a doubt you are sitting no more than five-feet away from a human construct, a change, a disruption in the balance of nature. We do not conform to the world, we force the world to conform to us. We destroy, we change, we topple, chop, dig, and break. We build, yet the ramifications of our creations often harbor far greater destruction.

We topple each other’s nations and civilizations. We find greater ways to kill each other. We destroy our ancestral homes, pillaging and stealing from long honored and revered sites. How many have sought destruction before others have sought restorations? How many tides of human lives, pools of blood and massacre are laid before monuments, and how much of the land was razed just to create such monuments?

Even in today’s age, even every single one of us, how uninformed are we about our own natural propensity for destruction? I have measured my ‘carbon footprint’, and even though my impact measures far less than others, I have the understanding and knowledge of how much destruction I shall cause through my lifetime. How many bags of trash do I create each year, even with recycling? How can I live without producing trash since it is the very fabric of our beings-the wrapping of our own personal daily gifts, may it be food, clothing, or other additions to our personal life.

Look at our transportation and how it was designed. Our cars, our pollution, our single, personal modes of transportation streamlined and made to be as efficient, yet pollutant as possible. The idea of using clean fuel did not come naturally, nor was it something we even thought to do. We move backwards through time–our efforts to save species from extinction only as an answer to the fact we’ve driven so much life to death. Our civilizations worked to ‘conquer the old worlds’ decimating people and culture.

We are, at our base, easy destroyers and hard-to-become creators. In our ignorance, in our natural state, we destroy, we change, we shatter. It takes a great deal of concentration, focus, and work for us to overcome our natural state of being. Before each of us dies, if we took the time to examine how much destruction our life creates, and we try in opposition to instead create and save, do we see how difficult it is and how far away we are from being such pure and mighty creatures–even if we divine ourselves to be so?

I put the magnifying glass to the microscope, I bring nothing into the scene again–I focus on the pebble before the avalanche. I look at customers shopping in stores. We know all stores have some form or vision for their merchandising standards–a look they want, piles folded, shirts hung, and everything set in it’s place. It is a good template for a natural order, if humanity was nature. The customers, our barbarians, pillaging, destroying, and leaving ruin in their wake. How many educated ones know how easy it is to separate a pile of medium from large, and easily replace the mediums on top of the large? How much effort is that? Let us think about how hard this is versus grabbing and ripping a large size from under a pile of clothing, toppling the pile, creating a mess of destruction. Can we actually parallel that to transforming the landscape of the world to our desires? Can humanity, as an evolved species, understand how to take the little it needs without destroying everything around it? I would highly doubt it, if humans can’t even learn to take a size without destroying a simple peace of nature.

It is the state of humanity. It is our basal nature. We are destroyers. We don’t even have the commonest courtesy to keep our destruction away from each other. Just as someone must eventually deal with the trash of our existence–may it be our descendants or the Earth itself–someone must also clean up after the destruction you create just ‘browsing’ through a store. It is an odd, yet useful metaphor.

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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.

 

Inconsistent Sizes

July 29, 2011

I’m nearby a couple looking at graphic shirts. I’m folding and they don’t seem to want my help. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t listen in, right?

“Look at all these shirts! The sizes are so inconsistent.” He shows her two shirts, “This is a large, but this is also a large, but it’s not large. Can you see that? All the sizes are wrong.”

If he had included me in the conversation, I would have told him these are shirts brought into the company from other brands and companies, to help promote their shirts. I personally noticed some are longer, and some slimmer depending on who made them and what customers they made each shirt for–because you know, some customers prefer longer, slimmer, wider, and shorter, etc. I was particularly surprised about the sizing of these shirts, but I just find the one that fits best and move on. Either way, I just keep folding.

“Well that one is the right size, it would fit you,” his girlfriend says with encouragement.
“It doesn’t matter, I wouldn’t wear it anyway.” He grabs the pile of shirts he was looking at, and shoves them back onto the shelf and walks away.

Now, that’s an outstanding man, and I must commend his girlfriend for her outstanding taste in men. I am so glad that not only did he waste my time by looking at all the shirts just to complain they were inconsistent in sizes, but even when he did find the right size, it didn’t matter, because he wouldn’t wear it anyway–awesome, spectacular, awe-inspiring. This man is definitely management material, here. Someone, hire him immediately!

Customer Types: Big Baby

Don’t Trust Size Conversions!

August 24, 2010

My experience with conversion charts is sometimes it is better not to show it at all. My best example was one day, I approached a woman looking at denim. She says she doesn’t know what size she is. I ask where she’s from, and she replies, “Australia.” I already know Australian sizes are two-sizes larger than U.S. sizes, or they go down two-sizes. Thus, if you are a size-8, you would be a size-6 or 4 in the United States. At this time, I thought showing them the sizing chart was easier than letting them trust me words. So I pull it out, and say, “You should be about two-sizes smaller here.”

She looks at the chart, and looks at the flag my finger is pointing to–which points to the British sizing. Then she gets mad, and yells at me, “I am not from the UK! I am from Australia! We aren’t the same country!” It is as if years of frustration and prejudice have suddenly exploded from her body. It makes me feel as if she was a child beaten up and abused by those ‘UK kids’, the same ones who left her people as criminals to live in Australia to start their own Euro-styled culture and civilization. It is as if I don’t know where Australia is and I’m some moron. I sternly tell her, “No, people from Australia always go down two-sizes.”
“You are pointing at Britain, I am from Australia, we aren’t the same country!”
“I know…”
She screams at me, “Obviously, you don’t know! Can you get someone else to help me? Someone who knows what they’re talking about.” She sighs loudly placing her hand on her forehead, looking at me like an idiot. My eyes explode out of my forehead, and I feel my entire face go red, “Excuse me? I am the pant specialist here, and I’ve been doing this for years, you’re the one that needs to learn what size you are in the US!”
Then a manager comes in, breaking us up. As much as I dislike morons and idiots, I despise more when they treat me like I’m the dumb one, when it’s their problem. Either way, somehow they convince this angry, ignorant person to try on the denim sizes she wants, and the ones I suggested. I tell the fitting room person to let me know how it goes, since I already know who will be right.

Several minutes later, the angry, idiot leaves without a word and buys nothing. I ask the fitting room person what happened. “Well, the size you suggested fit her perfectly, but she didn’t want it.” Can someone turn on the laugh-track please? Oh, this is real-life? Well, I can laugh at her instead. Ha-ha. I guess she needs to go back to her country and find out why they use British sizing, huh?

Customer Type: Capitalist, The Deaf, The Dumb, Modern-Slave Owner, Unapologetic

Sizes to Diet For

June 22, 2010

There is this older woman, who comes in, she doesn’t really say hello, but she comes in the same time, the same day of every week, trying on the same pants. Whenever I knock on her door and ask how she’s doing, she doesn’t say much more than, “I’m okay.” Week after week, she tries on a denim sized 26-inches.  Every time, she says she’s okay, she puts it back and then she leaves. I wonder if she’s waiting for it to go on sale, or waiting to find the perfect fit–even though she’s only trying on one size. It never makes sense. I think it would be weird to walk up to her and say, “Hey, I watch you every week trying on the same pant, in the same size, why are you doing this?” I’m bold, but even that seems weird and creepy.

So I ask a co-worker about this woman, telling her the story. And my co-worker says, “Maybe she’s trying to lose weight, and she keeps trying to fit into that smaller size.”

Amazingly enough, I had a good reply, since I tried to help that woman recently. “Oh, her diet isn’t working out, because she’s trying size 28-inches now.” We both laugh, yet I have yet to solve her curious, curious fitting room ritual.

Art of War: Retail

May 24, 2010

Chapter 1
For some of my trainees who wanted something more entertaining, more in-depth and dynamic–something to stop them from yawning during their first days, I developed the Art of War for Retail. I used to love the Art of War as a book, and how so many different people used it in business, management, and even love. It wasn’t very hard to translate it into the retail world, since it is so similar to a battlefield. Just imagine, at the end of the day, all the slain clothing laid in heaps, tired and exhausted salespeople, and the customer marching away in semi-triumph. Yet, we still win if they are leaving with something from our store, right?

As an introduction, you must consider the salespeople as Generals on a battlefield–which is the store. Their armies are the large array of clothing lined up and ready for the Opposition–customers. Each piece of clothing is a Soldier. The better trained your armies are, the better off you’ll be at the end of the day–this means having piles folded nicely, organized so they are sized properly, and enough of them to take hits all day long. The better warriors will take less hits before they are bought and carried off the battlefield. Once the customer makes it past the clothes and attacks you–you know you don’t have their size, or your product they want isn’t easy to find–thus you engage in hand-to-hand selling. You end up in parlay or under direct siege. You run for reinforcements, bringing out piles of soldiers to litter the battlefield. You may distract and disorient the Opposition, sending them in different directions against different armies you have at hand. As the battle rages, more and more casualties are piled up, wounded bodies are lying around, waiting for your gentle ministrations to bandage their cuts and get them back into the war. You are the recruiter, and many times, you pile and fold your own wins and losses. You may regret forgetting an insignificant pile if it ends up being your critical weak-point.

Now that you know the battlefield, and the units, you must understand the tactics that are needed to ensure victory every day! You must not only survive, but succeed! Welcome, to the Art of War: Retail.

The Teddy Bear

April 24, 2010

Today I was helping a family looking at polo shirts and sweaters for their friends and family as gifts. I come back to tell them I don’t have a size, and their baby son looks up at me, lifting his teddy bear trying to give it to me. I smile down at him and say, “Oh thank you, but it’s okay, you can keep your bear.”

So instead, he runs up to me and hugs my leg. His mother has to come pry him off, so I can check for another size in another sweater.

One of the rare occasions when working retail isn’t so bad.

Penny for Your Thoughts?

April 3, 2010

We have four people that come in, you can call them the Four Horsemen if you wish. In general, we try to avoid them, and I enjoy throwing unsuspecting co-workers into their clutches. Today, they requested every single pair of a size of pant to try on–they’re all the same size, amazingly enough. They were all-too-happy when I gave them seven pairs. This was after they rammed into mannequins knocking off legs and arms in the store, without a care. Most amusing was when they came earlier–because they came several times in one day.

At the start of the day, they found a hoodie, which was once on promotion, but has since gone on sale. They wanted their money back, a price-adjustment, but it was beyond the date of a price adjustment. They also admitted to washing and wearing the items–of which, they bought two hoodies. Yet, they were adamant in getting the difference they paid versus the current selling price. So one manager gave, “The benefit of the doubt”, which in some cases has somehow meant “You are fat” in one customer’s eyes. Either way, he said, “If you bring in the hoodies, you can return it and buy it back, but only this once.”

In truth, we didn’t think they would return, but a couple hours later they did. Again, they encountered the same confusion in their price-adjustment, with people asking me, telling me it’s old, washed, and worn. Then, they asked for the manager from earlier, who was just returning from his break. Of course, he remembered them, and after a long transaction, which I was too far away to overhear, the four horsemen walk away from the counter and continue to shop–knocking legs off mannequins.

Once they were gone, he stated for everyone to hear, “Okay, our net-loss was two cents.” Why? Because the items in question were one-cent cheaper marked on sale than they were on promotion. Yes, one hoodie, one cent; two hoodies, two cents. That my friends, is how you save a penny–at the cost of driving home, finding the item, driving back, and going through all that trouble. Totally worth it.

Don’t ask me. I don’t make these people up.

Why ask why?

December 5, 2009

This is an example of one of the common, yet irritating customer types that love to ask questions, with no interest in the answers. Seriously, don’t ask questions which you don’t want the answers to takes a whole new meaning with these people.

“Hello, how are you doing? Did you see we have other cuts of denim on this side?”
“Oh, do you have my size,” she tells me her size.
“We just updated the sizing, so your size is a little different.” And I tell her the new sizing.
“Why did they do that?”
“Because it’s more clear than it…” […used to be.]
“So you have the short size?”
“Not for a size that small.”
“Why, I see the short for larger sizes?”
“Well, the largest and smallest…” [..sizes are only available online.]
“Okay, okay. Do you have more colors?”
“Yes, we have this lighter…” […color right in front of you.]
“Okay, okay.” And I am casually waved away.

Customer type: Rhetorical (Why ask why?), Don’t Kill the Messenger