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Mary Siever

No kidding. And why should she care if you are shopping there for yourself or someone else. Yikes.

Mary Siever

Oh and you should have said that last comment to her audibly :) I really think people need to be taken to task for stupid things they say and she needed to learn some proper clerk manners.

Catie

I have had the exact same thing happen to me, only worse! It was my senior year in high school, and I had made it into the very prestigious all women’s show choir (affectionately known as Jazz 9 as we sang mostly Jazz and there were 9 of us) as the student director. Needless to say I was totally thrilled! We decided we were going to break with tradition and instead of buying matching outfits, we were going to pick a color scheme and help each other pick out fabulously flattering clothes that made each of look beautiful. We realized that with 9 young women in varying shapes and sizes, it would be best this way. So the 9 of us headed to the mall and began our shopping.

We were having a great day, as we wandered around the mall pining over jewelry we couldn’t afford, flirting with the boys and shopping for that perfect outfit for each of us. It was a great experience in female bonding! No one was belittling anyone, calling each other sluts and whores behind each other’s backs…we were 9 young women on a mission to bond, build each other’s self esteem, and look stunning in the process!

Then we walked into one of those trendy one-name stores that only 5’ 10” Swedish models can shop at. We thought, being that we were 16 and 17 year olds, that it would be fun to see what all the trendy people in LA were wearing. However, as we walked into the store, I immediately noticed that the young, hip, 20 something sales clerks were shooting me daggers with their eyes. We were in the store no longer that 5 minutes when one of them walked up to me and said quite loudly “We don’t sell anything in your size, so you might as well stop looking and leave.”

I was stunned…I wasn’t looking for myself; I wasn’t even looking for any one of the young women I was with…I was simple looking! I was getting ideas for how I could make some of these super trendy (and insanely over priced) clothes work on my body type. I stood there looking at her in utter disbelief before I got the nerve to say “It doesn’t matter, I wouldn’t waste my money on these poorly made, over priced pieces of material when I can have (insert another trendy store name here) alter their clothes to work for me. And I especially wouldn’t want to help you out and give you a commission that will fuel the cocaine addiction that keeps you a size 0.” I walked triumphantly out of the store then, followed by the young women I was with and a few of the customers who were absolutely appalled that the clerk had said that to me.

Later, I regretted my comment to her as I had stooped to her level and let her get the best of me. Now that I am nearly 21, those types of girls rarely give me trouble, but every time one of those offensive sales clerks thinks boot me out of a juniors store/department. I smile demurely and mention to them that I am looking for a gift, even though I am really checking out how I can look trendy without making my body look ridiculous in clothes that were never meant for chubby women.

Tanya

Ugh! This has happened to me, too. My sister is thin, and I was shopping for a gift for her at some random store at the mall. A sales lady said, snottily, "We don't carry your size here." Well no freakin' duh, moron. Unfortunately, I suck at comebacks, so only said, "Yeah, I'm shopping for my sister." I didn't know what to do, so I kept looking around, though certainly had no intention of buying anything there at that point. I eventually left.

Now I'd be much more bitchy. That was in college, but I speak up more now. I see the looks at other times (the "what are you doing here?" looks - do they think I'm in denial about my size? do they not realize that my brain cells are likely more abundant than theirs because my brain cells actually get nutrients?). Anyway...

I couldn't believe it when she actually said something out loud. I'm here to give them my money. Why on earth would they object to it? And if I was buying it for myself for whatever reason, why on earth should they care?

Catie, I don't think you should regret your comeback. It was perfect!

Mary Siever

Catie

I agree. Your comeback was exactly what she needed to hear. People really need to learn manners and this woman certainly shouldn't have been in the customer service field of work since it was definitely not her forte. Ugh.

Audrey

There is only one word coming to mind right now, and that word is "Ican'texpressmyselfwithoutswearing."

Kim Siever

"Can I help you find something for someone?"

Sure. How about a gun to make it easier for you to shoot your mouth off?

Anna

Oh my goodness, I'm sure everyone here has a similar story.

Catie, your response was great. Don't waste the energy regretting it.

Jerilyn, people suck. It's a well-documented fact.

My own story of that nature hearkens back to about a year ago. I was looking for a new pair of jeans in one of those trendy stores when the clerk regretfully announced to me (across the store, mind you) that they had nothing in my size.

"Yes, you do", I corrected her. "I was in here yesterday looking at the pants, and now that I have more time I'd like to try them on."

"Really? I didn't think we had anything that large." (This from a woman who easily weighed 300lbs. Not that her weight was an issue for me, just the fact that she thought she had a right to cop that attitude. What the hell?)

"Well, they're right here. In fact, here are three pairs of jeans in my size that I would like to try on, as well as this sweater."

(Salesclerk shrug of "If you're deluded enough to try it, I'm not going to stop you.")

Of course, two pairs of pants and the sweater fit me. The third pair of pants fit well enough until it came to my beautiful booty, at which point it whimpered "Please, I was made for anorexic 8 year olds, not real women. Please, don't hurt me!"

Ashley

It goes both ways, unfortunately. I walked into a Lane Bryant store last year and the saleswoman looked at my size 2 body, pointedly and rudely, and archly said, "Can I help you?" She kept her eyebrows raised the whole time I was answering that I was looking for my sister.

While I can understand the hostility, it still saddened me and gave me insight into your posts above.

Colleen

First of all - Ashley, I'm sorry you encountered such snottiness at a Lane Bryant. I can tell you exactly why she acted like that, though. It's one of two things:

1. She pegged you as a shoplifter. I know that sounds horrible but if a woman comes into my store and she's clearly too thin for the clothes, it gets my radar up. This is mostly because we're trained to look for things like that. A lot of shoplifters will steal pricier items and sell them on eBay, etc. so we kind of have to keep track of what everyone in the store is doing, not just the skinny people.

That does NOT mean that she specifically thought you were shoplifting right then, it just means you were out of place, so to speak. A good LB associate is aware of everyone in the store, this also means we're borderline paranoid.

2. She was feeling defensive, which leads to what I was going to say before I read your comment...

I work at Lane Bryant once a week. I only venture outside of the store to come in through a side door in the mall before my shift, leave after my shift, run in to Bath & Body Works (or another store) to pick something up, or go to Panera for dinner. Other than that, I avoid spending time outside of LB because I feel like a freakshow.

I did some shopping at JC Penney for my mom around Christmas time and I didn't encounter any snottiness, not even from the 16 year old girl in the junior's department (my mother is teeny and can wear junior's clothes!) She was helpful when I asked the difference between petite and junior sizing.

But generally, if I'm outside of LB, I feel very... exposed. Even while in LB, I'm bigger than most of our customers but I think they feel comfortable because even though I am *more* plus sized, I'm confident and knowledeable.

I try so hard to be super helpful for every person who comes in there but it's hard when a skinny woman comes in to shop for someone else. Even if she gives me absolutely no hint that she's judging me, I still feel that she is. That's my own insecurity but I can tell you that a lot of us fat girls probably feel the same way. Like, she's thinking "My God I'm glad I don't look like her!" It's just hard. I'll still be friendly but in a guarded way. It's awful but true.

I generally try to avoid non-plus size clothing stores. I hate that "What the hell is she doing in here?" feeling so I just avoid it! I remember shopping at that horrible "Rave" store with my friends when I was in middle school and the salesgirls just giving me these dirty looks, like I clearly have no right to even be IN their store. The funny part is that the clothing there is so cheap, poorly made, and tacky that even at 13, I never would've bought it!

M

I once was with a college roommate in Chinatown looking at the long silk dresses, so we decided to try them on. This little (height wise little at least, heavier than me though) old Chinese lady measured my hips and yelled at me "No! You too big!" I was embarassed until I realized that my roommate, whose hips were the same size as mine, fit into their dresses. (I think the issue here was racism since she's part Chinese and I'm white, but there's still nothing quite like a sales person yelling at you "no, you too big")

I also heard about a Broadway actress, Marissa Jaret Winokur (she was in Hairspray and was amazing) who's chubby trying to shop for a gown to wear to present at the Tony Awards ceremony. She was snubbed by several shops in Beverly Hills and only got apologies later on because she went public with it and people knew she was "someone".

Shameka

Oh my goodness, I am sitting here in utter disbelief pretend cursing at the imaginary sales person in my living room. What horrible experiences for all of you. I agree with Audrey, I definitely cannot express myself without swearing especially if I were treated that way. I've never been treated like that and believe me all of you when I say I am a VERY BIG girl and go into some very "high brow" stores here in NYC. Sometimes I will get a look from a costumer but I just shoot them a "what the h--l are you looking at?!" glance and that's over. I guess I have the snooty patooty six foot tall fat black chick thing going for me. I'd be more than happy to accompany any of you on your next shopping trip to share my gift.

My cousin however like Ashley is very thin and sometimes shops for me in Lane Bryant or Ashley Stewart. She has told me on a few occassions that she wasn't treated well, like "we don't have your size here" or not being asked if she need help. Not cool.

Kimberly

I'm sitting here with my mouth open, because I simply cannot imagine how a salesperson could be so rude to ANY customer who is not, at the moment, visibly stuffing unpaid merchandise under her shirt.

(1) Don't these salespeople work on commission? Wouldn't it be in their best interest to convince you that you *did* look good in their too-tight pants?
(2) Don't even departments that cater to certain sizes sell shawls, socks, earrings, etc, that anyone can buy? And don't those count towards commission?

I'm from South Carolina and I can not imagine any salesperson ever being that rude. I'm no rube - I now live in Philly, and I'm used to blah salesfolks - but the idea of overtly nasty/rude salespeople still floors me.

(Of course, the ladies who sell cosmetics tend to go a little far in the other direction, since they're all over you the minute you walk past, but I'd rather a salesperson err in that direction than in ignoring/insulting a customer.)

Erin P.

I've gone into Lane Bryant (they have the best bras, imo) and within seconds of walking in the door, been told I was basically too small to be shopping there.

I find the following phrases helpful:

"Never mind. I'll ask someone else."
"Does anything in this store come in a size 16?"
"My money spends, why do you care?"

One of the worst things that repeatedly happens to me is being profiled for shoplifting. I once turned around to a very short little security guard and showed him my watch, saying, "I know what you're doing. See this watch? It costs more than you earn in a month. Go away."

I also once took a very lovely size six skirt I found in Marshal Field's to the customer service counter and had the following conversation with the three women posted there:

"This is a beautiful skirt."

Strange stares and mumbled agreements.

"There are 10 like it on the rack, and 11 more of a similar cut in another fabric. All 22 skirts are the same size: six. I'd like to know, are any of you a size six?"

One pipes up and says, "I am."

"So one out of four women is a size six. I sure hope you like skirts. I'd like for you to pass along a comment to whomever does the purchasing for this department: FAT CHICKS LIKE NICE SKIRTS, TOO."

They all looked shocked and dismayed. One laughed. I left, secretly hoping I'd set a good example for my kids.

Colleen hits the nail on the head. In the end (the end is always the best part, isn't it? especially for Anna, apparently *grin*), people make these comments because they are insecure. A girl who wears a size zero likely has even LESS self-esteem than any one of us, despite some otherwise ignorant opinions of our luxurious endowments.

Don't regret your comments. My Mom taught me that people only engage in insults because low self-esteem makes them weak. It's a bid for power. When you open your mouth and show that you are not only NOT afraid, but clever and funny as well as quite happy with yourself, they lose and you win.

Oh, and Colleen, honey, the same is true in reverse. Anyone who actually IS judging you only does because they're insecure. I hope you really don't think of yourself as a freakshow.

Anna V.

Another Anna here... does that make 3 of us?

I only WISH I had the wits about me to think of something appropriately rude to screech back to nasty salespeople. My experience was so shocking I nearly passed out from humiliation...

While strolling through the, shoot, what do they call that part of town where there's tons of fabric stores and wholesale clothing shops in LA?... let's call it Fabrictown... my skinny friend and I waltzed near a shop full of itsy bitsy halter tops (like I would ever shove my 40DDD's into a halter) when the salesbitch, I mean clerk, came right up to me, blocking my way into the store mind you, and said "We don't have clothes for you".

Girls, the world went black. Seriously. I actually thought for a moment I would faint. Now that 2 years have passed I realize now that she was actually discriminating against me. And I'm obviously still not over it!

Thanks for letting me vent. I'm so glad I found CGB.

Angie

Anna mentioned that she told a security guard that her watch cost more than what he made in a month, but yet hopes she's setting a good example for her kids??

Jerilyn

Psst, Angie, that was Erin P, but I agree with you—probably not the best lesson to teach your kids.

(For the record, Erin requested removal from the CGB not long after this article, for reasons I don't understand, but respect anyway.)

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