5. Size selection
I'm a pretty low maintenance shopper. I like to go into a store, browse a bit, maybe try out a few pieces, decide whether I want any of them, pay and leave. Quick and dirty. I'm not much of a talker usually, so I rarely pester (or even talk to) the personnel. (Hello thank you have a nice day goodbye excepted of course) Which is why I really hate it when they only hang some samples in the store and not the actual clothes, so you have to ask for the right size. What's really annoying is that it's always the tiniest size known to human kind. It's probably pretty handy if you're petite, but I'm sure it kills girls with low self esteem. If there's a few sizes on the racks, it can still be a bit tricky, because you don't really know for sure how large they go, and you might be embarrassed asking. In any case, the following scenario is a real shopping turn-off:
'Uhm, excuse me miss, do you have this in size x?'
'We might, I'm not sure. Let me go and check!'
In case of a negative answer, the girl will usually appear after a while with a look in her eyes that might say
a) Just a simple 'oops, no'
b) I'm skinny and fit in all the sample sizes and I genuinely pity you and your thighs
c) Looks like another fatso beat you to it! OMG IS THAT A SNICKERS IN YOUR PURSE?
Like I said, low maintenance. I don't mind if a sweater isn't all that neatly folded because a previous costumer ruffled it. However, sales at Zara REALLY freak me out, and not because of the great deals. Last january, I couldn'teven muster up the courage to step into the store. What's with those enormous piles of clothing? How do they come to exist? Do they just leave them there at the end of the day? I've never not seen them during sales. I have to admit, it can hold an adventurous charm. But I fear that one day I'll stick my arm into af them, trying to find that cool shirt in my size, and grab the arm of a cadaver or something. Scary.
Also, I don't expect to be able to eat off the floor, but huge dustballs in the dressing rooms, that's pushing it. This usually happens in stores where they don't even provide you with a stool, so you have to come up with crazy manoevres if you don't want to put your purse on the floor. I once tried to hold it with my teeth while fitting a dress. Not. A. Success.
Ever ran out of a store because of the music? A frequent phenomenon when entering a store that targets teenagers. The clothes have to be pretty effing cool for me to put up with really crappy r&b. Otherwise it's bye-bye. This particular annoyance isn't just characteristic for cheapass brands, by the way. After spending some time in some or other cool designer store, you might start to get bugged by the spacy techno or minimalistic electro. Why not just pay somebody to shout 'we're sooo over melodic music' once in a while? YOU'RE COOL OKAY WE GET IT
2. Dressing rooms
One of the things I loved most about being a student is that you could go shop whenever. These days, I'm forced to join the multitude on Saturday. It's not that I don't like other people. I just don't like them crowding all the dressing rooms. Saturday is my favorite day of the week and I'd rather not waste it standing around like an idiot, wishing they'd provide some chairs at the very least, because god those heels are hurting and why has that lady been in there for ten minutes when all she had was a sweater to try on and why are they stubbornly refusing to open up the other dressing rooms when there's enough people in line to populate a small island? These are important questions, people. While there may be less people in the more expensive stores, they also provide some food for thought. Like, why do they insist on using curtains? Sure, they look chique, but showing your comfy panties to half the store because they won't close properly? Not so chique. It can be quite funny when you're on the outside, though. Two weeks ago I was descreetly watching a really artsy German guy trying on harem pants and watching them in the mirrors outside. When he wanted to go back in, he couldn't find the entrance and nearly exposed my half-naked friend. The shop assistant had to help him out. Put a smile on my face.
1. Arrogant Shop Assistants
By far my number one frustration. Don't you hate it when you walk into a store and are greeted with a nose up in the air, or not greeted at all? The habitat of the Arrogant Shop Assistant is usually the less budget friendly boutique, but they occasionally swarm out. So basically you can never be entirely sure you won't encounter them. Unsympathetic people always unsettle me a bit, but in shops, it really mistifies me. I don't get it. Why would you want to put people off buying your clothes? Do some brands expect their employees to behave this way? Or are they just bitter because of a critical daily snob overload? It took me a while to get over my fear of demeaning looks in chique stores, but even now I can still be intimidated by slightly angry looks and a set of pressed lips. I bought a pair of shoes in Paris last July and the lady behind the counter refused to hand me the bag. How rude is that? I was perfectly polite and hello, I just spent all this money to keep your pay checks coming. The least you could do is hand me the damn shoes and not make me crawl over the counter to get it. (They were fully worth it, though.)
If you find these kind of experiences unnerving and are even a bit traumatised, try bringing your mom! That's usually a good anti-ASA remedy. Too bad my mom's not really the shopping type, nor does she have the habit of waving around credit cards to make sure we get all the attention we deserve. Still, it's worth a try!