What Not To Wear Versus How Not To Act

, , , | Right | March 30, 2018

(Many years ago, there was a TV show called “What Not To Wear,” which consisted of two “fashion stylists” getting members of the public with “poor” dress sense and outfitting them with clothes that suited their shape, colouring, etc., with the usual big reveal to friends and family at the end. Predictably, there’s a whole series of books based on the series to enable the average person to better style themselves. I work in a book shop. It’s a very quiet morning, and there’s only a few customers in the store. There’s a middle-aged gentleman and one of the regular customers — a slightly crazy lady — waiting to be served.)

Me: “Hello, sir, how can I help?”

Customer #1: “Could I have a copy of ‘What Not To Wear’?”

Customer #2: “Well, those trainers for a start!”

Me: *determined not to react* “Certainly, sir. I’ll go fetch you a copy.”

(I dash off quickly to grab the book, resisting the urge to look at the guy’s trainers when I leave the counter. In the meantime, the man is having a blazing row with the crazy regular. I bring the book back, only to be dragged into the argument. The crazy customer disappears, leaving me to try and pacify the irate man. After spending ten minutes with him somehow blaming me for the woman’s critique of his outfit, he buys the book, while continuing to rant to me. Finally, he leaves and the crazy woman comes back.)

Me: *trying very hard not to shout at her* “How can I help?”

Customer #2: “I only meant it as a joke. Can’t he take a joke?”

Me: *through gritted teeth* “I’m afraid he took it quite personally. How can I help?”

Customer #2: “Honestly, I was only having a joke.” *thinks for a moment* “They were awful trainers, though.”

Me: “I couldn’t possibly say, not being able to see them from behind the counter. Do you need any help?”

Customer #2: *starts wandering off muttering* “Can’t take a joke…”

(No apology or anything, despite hearing the guy ranting for ages to me. We did all have a laugh about it in the staff room, but I never saw him again to see if he upgraded his dress sense.)

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