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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tales From the Hole: Fitting Room Etiquette

Listen, I'm fully aware that I'm being paid to stand in The Hole and put your clothes away. I understand this. In the course of 7 months in The Hole, I have experienced exactly TWO people who appear to feel downright guilty about giving me clothes to put away. This is not necessary, as I am, in fact, paid to do just that.

However... I do think it's possible to appreciate this fact and treat it with a small sliver of respect. With this in mind, I bring you my own personal* brand of Fitting Room Etiquette.

(*Keep in mind that I do not work in one of those fancy-shmancy stores you may be accustomed to shopping in; I only claim to understand my own territory. But I figure if you're a snob who buys ridiculously expensive clothing, you aren't fixated on my blog. Just a rude assumption I make about my beloved followers.)

First off, it's OK to smile at me. I don't have Leprosy.

As you can see, I have two giant clothing racks where I hang the clothes back up after you take them off. Clearly this means I will need the HANGERS you found those clothes on, in order to HANG them back up. Handing me a pile of clothes sans hangers doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? ("I just found these, they didn't have hangers" is a lie. Just so you know, you and I BOTH know that. Not a single item of clothing is presented in this store without a hanger.)

Oh, and mumbling "I left the hangers in there" doesn't help much either. 1st, do you think I didn't notice these clothes were handed over in a heap? 'Cause I did, so no need to state the obvious. 2nd, acknowledging that you left the hangers in the dressing room tells me you KNOW you should have brought them out, you just simply do not care. This is immeasurably irritating.

I have been to stores where they don't employ a fitting room attendant. These fitting rooms are covered in already-tried-on clothes and garbage. In case you hadn't noticed, there was NOTHING in that room when you entered, meaning we are not one of those stores, so it would be decent of you to leave it that way.

This next one applies to everyone, of course, but ESPECIALLY to the men. What is it about being a man that makes you feel like dumping a pile of half-inside-out pants in my left arm and a pile of hangers in my right arm is a good idea? I am the mother of three boys, but you, last time I checked, were not one of them. I'm not your mother; I don't want to stick my arm down the pant leg you were just wearing to turn it right-side-out. Your residual sweat isn't exactly my idea of a good time. Mm-k?

One last thing about the hangers... If on your way out of the fitting room, I ask you, "Can I put those away for you?" don't say, "Oh, I know where they go," and then leave them some random place in the store for me to pick up later. I'm asking to do it for a reason, not because I think it's fun acting as your servant.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's move on to common courtesy.

There are a few different kinds of shoppers I come in contact with.

Shopper #1: Rich chick.
Rich chick is a very specific breed of shopper. She's approximately thirty-nine, comes in frequently (usually on Friday, when her husband has received his paycheck), shops exclusively in the "designer" section, and buys ridiculously frivolous things she doesn't necessarily need. Her clothes tend to have far too many bedazzled-looking parts to them, and her purse is just ugly enough to prove to me it's also a designer brand. She clip-clops up to the fitting room in her sky-high heels (I can hear her a mile away, so I prepare myself), and barks a number at me. About the same time she barks "seven" at me, I am saying, "Hi!" She looks past me, holds out her hand, and impatiently waits for me to hand her a number card. Clip-clopping into the fitting room, she takes a sip of her latte and disappears.
When Rich Chick is finished in the FR, she has without a doubt left the following items in the room for me to fetch: the number I gave her indicating how many items of clothing she took in with her (for some reason she hasn't been able to deduce what the purpose of that card might be), at LEAST one empty hanger, a tag or two she tore off because she didn't like the look of the tag in the mirror, and the empty Starbucks cup. Guar-an-teed.

Last week Random Rich Chick actually handed me a used tissue to throw away for her along with her clothes. She didn't look me in the eye ONCE as she handed me twelve items of clothing and one nasty, flu-ridden tissue. That's right, her garbage. 

I don't need to spell out the other ones for you, just know that a few of them are: Old Lady, Pre-Teen, Teenager with Unruly Parent, and Extremely Religious Girl Who's Too Shy To Try on Lingerie but Does it Anyway.

Oh, and Guys. (They're all pretty much the same when it comes to trying on clothes: dreading it.)

Remember when you were a pre-teen and thought it was fun to go try on prom dresses or something very grown-up with your friends? Well, shame on you. And shame on me. And shame on my friends who did that with me! It turns out we are a store's worst nightmare. Pre-teen girls shop in absolutely every section of the store, picking up absolutely everything that catches their little pre-teen eye, and then they giggle all the way to the fitting room, where they create chaos and an unbearable amount of noise for an unbearable amount of time. After thirty agonizing minutes of listening to them "Ew!" and "Ah!" over each thing they've tried, they come out of the dressing room with EVERY SINGLE ITEM ON THE WRONG HANGER. Inside out, upside down, dresses on pant hangers, pants on dress hangers, you name it... they're giving it to me. It's a nightmare. By the time they finally leave, I am left with half an hour of work just to put their clothes on their rightful hangers with matching size nubs.

Seriously, though, it's not just the pre-teens who are bringing me clothes in this condition. Why would you even bother to hang the clothes at all if you were just going to hang them INSIDE-OUT? I don't understand this at all. Absolutely baffles me.

That's nothin' compared to the woman who let her little kid lock every single fitting room door and then left. I spent the rest of my shift wiggling under FR doors to unlock them all and came home looking like I'd been working at a construction zone, not a clothing store.

We won't even get into the bathroom etiquette today. I'll just say this: I do not want to know WHY you need to use the restroom. I would be happy to press the restroom button for you, but under no circumstances do I want a play-by-play or back-story about how and why you ended up there! People frequently (women, mostly) approach the restroom with panic on their faces, announcing something like, "Too much coffee!" or "Oh Lordy, shouldn't have had all that water!" A woman once told me "I had diarrhea in my pants; I just need to go change my underpants." WTF, lady? TMI! Same goes for telling me on your way out, "It smells really bad in there. You might want to use some air freshener or something." What do they think goes on in there that should smell like sunshine and rainbows? People poop in there, for heaven sake.

One last thing before I End Rant: The fitting room attendant is not a babysitter. She doesn't get paid as well as a nanny, therefore you should not leave your infant son in her care while you go to the bathroom. Besides the legal aspects, WTF are you thinking asking me to watch your child while you pee?

End rant.

This post was mentioned in another fabulous post about retail respect, which you can find here. 


  1. I am guilty for the "return to the rack in the general area that I found it"...I just feel bad handing it over to you to put away...I guess it makes for more work eh?
    Everything above *noted*

    1. haha, this is much more a rant than an actual instruction on "etiquette" but it's true... more work in the long run if we find it somewhere it's not supposed to go. Although, I actually understand it more than I let on... I write these things in frustration, but of course I've also done that myself. (well, not the diarrhea thing... but everything else.) ;)

  2. Hi Aubrey, Great blog. Love the bit about the 'rich chick'! It made me laugh and I referred to it in my most recent blog post at


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