Seeing Red Can Make One Roll Up One’s Sleeves

, , , , | Right | January 15, 2018

(A huffy-looking woman comes in with her teenage daughter.)

Me: “Hi, can I help you?”

Woman: “My daughter needs a flapper dress for a ’20s dance her school is doing.”

Me: “Okay, great. I’ll pull a few options for you to look at.”

(I pull several styles of flapper dresses for the girl to try on. The woman stops her daughter before she gets the chance.)

Woman: “These are all sleeveless.”

Me: “Well, yes. Most flapper dresses did not have sleeves. If you’re not comfortable with that, I’d be happy to pull some more casual ’20s dresses. They were worn far more often than the flapper ones, and we have some darling ones that would look perfect in a dance.”

Woman: “No. It has to be one of these kind; it just has to have sleeves.”

Me: “The only dress we have in this style with sleeves is unavailable to rent, currently. If you would like, we can add a cardigan, jacket, or shawl to one of these dresses to add some coverage.”

Woman: “No. That would ruin the effect. It has to be one of these dresses but with sleeves.”

(The woman argues with me for a while longer before I go to my manager. She gives me the go-ahead to show her our only sleeved flapper dress. I thought it would be exactly what they were looking for, as the daughter had been drawn to the style it was in: a red fully-fringed dress. Relieved and thinking I have the answer, I take it to them. The woman’s eyes widen with shock when I show the dress to her. Fuming, she takes her daughter by the arm and tells her they’re leaving.)

Me: “I’m sorry. Is something wrong?”

Woman: “There are some colors we don’t wear in this family. Red is definitely one of them!”

(She dragged her daughter out, glaring at me all the way out the door.)

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