People get weird about their clothes.
So much so that working in a clothing store comes with its own set of occupational hazards and different kinds of customers that you just don't want to run into while working the register. And when those people come in the door....something about the look in their eyes as they see your racks of product warns you that you're in trouble.
kloppcd asked Reddit:
Here are the biggest doozies.
I had a woman SCREAMING at me that I needed to "look in the back" for another size of a shirt she wanted. She couldn't comprehend that she was in a thrift store.
When I worked at BabyGap we didn't have the correct size onesie that a woman wanted to buy. She then demanded that I go into the back and have "them" make her one. I had to explain to her that the clothes are sewn in China and shipped to us from a distribution center. There are no seamstresses making baby onesies in the stock room of your local BabyGap.
I worked at a Levis and a man came in to try on a plaid shirt that was displayed in the shop window. He said he had OCD and asked to try on every plaid shirt (probably 50+ shirts) we had in his size because he needed the lines to match up at the seams. I was bored af so I decided to help him instead of focusing on other customers.
The sale took about an hour and a half but he bought $400+ worth of clothing and then called our district manager to say how happy he was with me because other employees wouldn't take him seriously.
She tried to return underwear and had a go at me when I told her that we don't for hygiene reasons. Made me call my manager and everything.
There was a hair in it.
It was also 50 cents.
Do Unto Others
i worked at a shoe store in high school. this one woman would come and buy her son a pair of sneakers from time to time. after a few months of the purchase, she would come in with the sneakers & try to exchange them for the next size up. her son had very clearly worn the shoes every single day since she purchased them originally - one time, they even had a hole in them. she basically thought she could buy the shoes once & keep exchanging them when they got too worn or didn't fit him anymore. every single time we would tell her we could not just exchange worn shoes for a new pair, she would act like she had no idea that this practice was not allowed & threatened to call corporate. we would ask her "if we tried to sell you these shoes, would you buy them?" & she would say "no, they have been used."
Expectations Are Muddy
Maybe not a demand because it was more of an expectation than anything else but we did once have a lady come in and tell us that the parking lot was full. But angrily. She asked if there were any other parking lots (I feel like I need to add that this was in a sleepy town where it was quite obvious there was no other lot nearby).
I said that the only thing I could suggest was trying to find a spot on the street. She looked at me like I'd lost my mind and said "Well obviously!"
Genuinely confused as to what was expected of me.
BONUS EXTRA: In the same place an older guy came to the counter and asked if we had found any keys, he'd lost some that day. I checked, no keys handed in. He seemed to accept this and wandered off. A few minutes later he's back with a younger guy. Asks the same thing. I say nope, no keys yet. The younger guy starts listing random facts. "He's 86 years old!" Right... okay... still we don't have his keys so... "He's fought for his country!". I had to check with him like... you don't think I have them and I'm just not handing them over right? Nope. But here's some more facts anyway. "His wife is very ill!"
Must have been something in the water back there. Or a gas leak or something.
The Clothes Off Your Back
One time this lady came into the store and starts asking me for different sizes in everything. No problem, we have all the sizes in the back, I'll go get them. She's being a bit excessive, but whatever it means I get to spend time digging around in the storage room. Eventually she comes across a sweater she wants to try on and it just so happens that I'm wearing the same sweater at work that day. She asks for a small and I apologize because we are sold out. This lady then looks at me and goes "Well what size is the one you're wearing? I'll just take that one if it's a small."
Ummm... No b-tch? Why would you want my dirty, sweaty, stretched out sweater anyways? I was honestly so baffled I just laughed awkwardly and walked away.
I was working customer service at an outlet store when we had a woman walk in wanting to return some items. When I asked for her receipt, she said she lost it so I thought to try scanning the barcode to see if I could bring up the purchase in our system and that's when I noticed the tags had the store logo on the back.... ....for Hudson's. A store that had been gone since the 1990's. When I confronted the lady about the fact these clothes were bought from another store (and had to have been bought at least 8 years prior,) she said with a straight face, "Well I obviously can't return them to Hudson's now can I." I was nearly floored by that encounter.
I worked at an Outlet store for a little while, and primarily worked in the shoe department. We sold shoes ranging from boots to cleats, sandals to running shoes, we sold them all.
This one older gentlemen requested a sandal with a strap over the top, sort of like Tevas. I told him that we didn't really have any sandals like that, especially at the outlet store. He proceeded to tell me that I'm wrong and that Nike definitely sold them because he got his current pair.
I took a look at his current pair and low and behold, they're Tevas....branded Tevas....so there's a 0% chance we sold them. After I explained this, he told me to check the stock room in which I basically told him no - it's a waste of time. He called a manager, requested that the manager show me where these sandals are in the back room because ya know....we had the sandals(??).
My manager took me to the stock room, we sat down for a minute and chatted about the guy and went back out and told him that we don't have the shoe anymore and he should try somewhere else.
Making Up Laws
I work at an outlet mall, and I had a lady that hardly spoke any english yell and scream at me that it was a Texas State Law that every store must stay open until sunset (it was a Sunday so we closed at 7pm, but since it was summer the sun didnt set until 8:30pm) so she could use the fitting rooms.
I replied "ma'am, the sun sets later but GAP closes now, the fitting rooms are closed please make your way to the cash register"
She insisted I call my manager over, who not only hates rude customers, but hates rude customers who are mean to his employees, he basically says the same thing I did, but then tells her just to leave if she's not going to purchase anything
She ended up begging us to let her try on the clothes outside the store... In a open parking lot... so she could buy them.. We said no.. By far the wierdest request we've gotten from a customer.
Dances With Corsets
I used to work at a little Gothic clothing shop. Corsets, dresses, t shirts etc. I once had a really huge guy come in, pretty damn overweight, and ask for a corset. For himself. And he wanted to try it on.
We did have a little changing room but corsets are tricky to get into at the best of times so he was definitely going to need some help. Not wanting to upset him or make him feel bad (I could tell it was quite a big deal for him to ask) so I had to try and help him into this thing. Long story short but it was a bloody battle but in the end he was delighted. Thank god because he was fairly sweaty and I didn't really want to put it back on the shelves. I rang up the sale and he paid.
Next he wanted a bag. The owner was an idiot and didn't want to pay out for bags but of course this poor man didn't want to walk all through the shopping centre clutching a rather large corset so I had to run next door to the pet shop to borrow a bin bag for the poor guy. I hope he was happy with it in the end.
Crossing A Line
Had a customer demand a refund because the salesperson told her if she wanted a refund she had to bring the receipt. Which woulda been fine, if she brought the product to return. Got mad cuz I refused to give her money for nothing. Got more mad when after screaming at me for 20+ minutes she asked me to lunch and I said no.
Weasley Is Our King
Dress them. A fully grown woman wanted me to dress her because "The customer is king."
I do customer service for a clothing company. I had someone call cause she didn't get the online promotion that we had. It was clearly stated on the ad that if you don't enter the promo code, you don't get a discount. She threatened that she would stop buying from us. Welp I didn't care
I used to work at an outdoors store and someone once came in looking for a fully waterproof vest. I asked why he would want such a thing, and he told me "I have a very expensive down vest and I need a waterproof vest to cover it so it doesn't get ruined". I tried repeatedly to explain that a rain jacket will do the same job, without getting his head/neck/arms soaked. He was insistent that he can only wear a waterproof vest, because what's the point of owning a $750 vest if you're covering it up with a jacket. We went back and forth for a good 5 minutes and he just couldn't grasp that the parts of him not covered by a vest would get wet.
Just A Peek Of The Crazy
I use to work at a shoe shop awhile back as a floor supervisor. I had this older guy come in shopping for his daughter, it was her birthday. We helped him out finding everything he wanted and it ended up being a good sale. But when it came to checking the guy out was a different story. I was listing off the things he picked out. "Shoes, jacket ,hat..." That's when he stopped me. "It's a cap" he said. I said "ok". "I don't want the cap unless you call it a CAP!" I just looked at him blankly took the hat off the screen and put it behind me. Best part is he asked to see the manager, when I told him that was me he said "okay, let's ah.. agree to disagree.. I want the cap"
Some creepy old dude wanted me to help him try on Speedos and was all pervy and leered at me--I mean, who leers and thinks that's charming and/or sexy? Does that EVER work? I refused and told him that I existed merely to unlock the fitting room and that he was on his own. I let him into the fitting room and then actively avoided him. Went to clean up the dressing room when he was done and there were Speedos everywhere and you know those little plastic pods of butter you get at a restaurant with your bread? I found 3 empties and 2 fulls. I don't even wanna know.
Scuse Me, Sheriff
I worked at a small local menswear store in New York and a woman came in and bought her brother that lived in Tucson a sweater for his birthday. A few months later, I get a phone call from some guy saying he'd like to return a sweater his sister gave him but he doesn't want her to know so can I please credit his credit card instead of hers so she won't find out. Unfortunately the garment was also missing the tags and there was no receipt. I politely explained that the store policy was a ten day exchange or store credit with the accompanying receipt and unfortunately we were well past that threshold, there was no receipt (only the sticker on the paper gift wrapping telling the stores name) and on top of that, he didn't want the payment reverted to his sisters account. This dude starts screaming at me over the phone about my poor customer service and that he's a SHERIFF and demanding better service. He then abruptly hangs up and writes a scathing Yelp review about my obstinacy and lack of customer service. Of course I got in trouble and had a stern talking to about the incident was made to be the scape goat because I was following the written directions that were posted literally directly above my head every day in that shop.
I was working in a big west coast city in the accessories department. It was towards closing time and a woman and a man walked into my department, I overheard her telling him to go look at the men's clothing while she looked at scarves. He agreed and walked away.
She came up to me and pulled out a case of sunglasses and said "Hi sweetie - I need your help. My boyfriend in Texas bought me these sunglasses and I need to return them." And I asked her for a receipt or a sticker to return the item, she said she never got one. I told her I would try to look it up by the credit card number and asked if the gentleman could come back to the department. And she yelled "NO! That man is my husband. My BOYFRIEND in Texas bought me these. My husband CANT find out!!"
So I calmly asked her to call her boyfriend - who never picked up the phone. She threatened me some more until I hit the LP button on the keyboard and got it handled by the store manager.
Racism is an insidious, and unfortunately prevalent, force in all of our daily lives. Maybe we're on the receiving end of it, being treated differently and losing opportunities because of others' preconceived notions.
Or maybe we're on the other side of things. Even those who aren't actively racist or discriminatory still have to process the world through the filters of the things they've been told about people who are different.