Can’t Skirt Around That Demand

, , , | Right | September 17, 2018

(I work in a women’s clothing chain. We are encouraged to wear the company’s clothing on the job, and I do so exclusively because I like the stuff; I was a customer before I started working there. New clothing comes into the store five days a week, and I can’t afford to roll my wardrobe over every couple of months as the new color schemes come in. So invariably, any time I’m wearing something that’s no longer available for sale, someone decides that’s the very item they need. I’ve never had anyone outright demand I hand over the clothing on my body, but the hints have gotten pretty broad at times. A customer comes in who isn’t my size; this is relevant.)

Customer: “Can you help me find some summer skirts?”

Me: “I’d be happy to! We put all of our clothing in certain colors together, to make it easier for you to build an outfit. If you’ll come with me, I’ll show you the racks in each section that hold skirts.”

(I start to walk towards the front of the store.)

Customer: “I really like your skirt! I’d like one just like that.”

(This is a summer holiday weekend. The skirt is blue and white, and I wear it with a red top to be “patriotic.” And yes, I wear the same outfit at least once every summer holiday period.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but this is from summer before last. I’d be happy to show you where you can find this year’s skirts in this material, or in these colors.” *points out skirts in both, moving through the store*

Customer: *picks up a skirt here and there* “I just really wish I could have one like yours.”

Me: *getting a little exasperated, but using my happy voice* “I understand, it really is a fun skirt. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available. I’m sure we’ll have something that will work for you, though!”

Customer: *after another three rounds of this* “Okay, this is good for a start. May I have a fitting room?”

Me: “Certainly. Follow me, please.” *heads to fitting rooms*

Customer: “I still want your skirt.”

(After I get her into a fitting room, I go to the counter to check in with a coworker, who has overheard most of the conversation.)

Me: *very quietly* “I think I was just supposed to take my skirt off in front of everyone in the store and hand it to her!”

Coworker: *also quietly* “It was very obvious it wouldn’t have fit, which is probably the only thing that kept her from demanding it outright. Or maybe you were supposed to s*** her a new one?”

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