- Jun 2004 Archive
A few years back a friend of mine went shopping for a bridal
gown. “Sue” was a tall, statuesque woman, big-boned. Yes, she was
overweight, but due to her bone structure and excellent posture, carried it
quite well. Only the most rude cretin would have ever referred to her as
“Fat”. Being a little older (about 30), she was not going to spend months
using bridal gown shopping as a fun little hobby for her and her girlfriends
with multiple repeat visits to the same store to try on the same gown – she
wanted to find a dress and buy it with little drama in one visit. She was also
quite wealthy and money would be no object in purchasing a wedding gown (or her
bridesmaids gowns or the million other accessory items for a wedding). In other
words, a merchant with an ounce of sense should be on their knees thanking the
shopping gods that Sue walked into their store that day.
Unfortunately, we did not have that experience with ANY bridal
salon. Every single one was incredibly rude to her. We finally went to THE most
exclusive salon in the state, assuming wrongly that the ‘nicer’ the salon
the nicer you would be treated. We walked in and the clerks just stare at us.
STARE at Sue, I mean. No one greets us, although I see subsequent customers
being greeted, fawned over, and given complimentary drinks. I finally went over
and quietly asked a clerk if someone could help us. The clerks laugh and one
finally sneers at me and says very loudly, “NO! We don’t sell to FAT
brides here.” I was absolutely dumbfounded. It takes a lot to render me
speechless, but I was. And my poor friend – she was aghast and humiliated, not
only at the insult but at the scene this clerk was causing. I immediately
demanded to see the manager. The manager comes out and I tell her the story and
her response was, “Well, my associate is correct. We do NOT provide service to
fat brides. They will give potential customers the wrong idea of the quality of
our merchandise when they schlump down the aisle.” I have never been so
appalled as a customer in my life. Never. I said to her, “My friend here
was willing to spend thousands of dollars, today, and you’re telling me—“
She interrupts me, “I don’t care about today’s money. Long term,
dressing a fat bride will ruin me.” Needless to say, we left. I wrote a
letter on Sue’s behalf to the owner and never received even the courtesy of a
reply. Sue ended up having her gown made by a seamstress. She looked lovely.
Years later, I myself worked in the bridal business 1500 miles
away and made sure to always give everyone the same excellent treatment and
ended up having a lot of larger size customers from around the state. They all
told me how badly various salons around our state had treated them if they were
a size 12 or higher. If I were ever going to go into a business for
myself, I would have opened a salon specializing in merchandise and service for
larger size brides.
I have never forgotten that moment. And I sincerely hope all
of those rude salon employees end up weighing 300 pounds later in life and learn
a valuable lesson about treating everyone with respect. Especially when they
have an open wallet in hand.
Read the discussion
of this submission on the forum!
I had been getting my nails done by the same salon for nearly
2 years. During that time, I found the owner/manager to be a little eccentric,
but we swapped jokes, I knew everyone on a first name basis, have always
been a generous tipper, etc.
One morning I went in just a few minutes after the store
opened. The owner/manager was dusting the cash register area. I cheerfully said,
"Good Morning!" to him as I entered. He did not acknowledge me at all.
He was no more than 2 feet from me. I moved a little closer, and again spoke to
him, still no reaction or response. He continued to dust and act like I was not
even there. Confused, I light-heartedly asked him if he had gone deaf? Still
nothing, he continued to dust the glass shelves. 10 seconds later, a woman
entered behind me. He looked up, looked right past me, and politely said,
"Hello, may I help you?" I was livid. I never went back there again.
That is NO way to treat a loyal customer.
It's a short one, but this left me extremely hurt.
I am a 6' woman, and I wear an appropriate shoe size for my
height - US Womens' 11. Sometimes 11 wide. Despite the fact that
women are getting taller and taller, larger shoe sizes are difficult to
find. Department stores around here either don't carry anything over a
10, or have it in "limited styles."
Since I've had no luck
with finding the right fit with internet shopping, I've just taken to
walking into the shoe department and asking, "What have you got in (color/basic
style I need) in an 11?"
In one large department store, I asked that exact question.
For context, the building had been occupied by a basic department store
which went under and was replaced with a more expensive department store.
The sales clerk replied, "We don't carry *plus sized* shoes here. This
is an upscale department store now," then turned her back and walked
away. The other sales clerk giggled. From her tone of voice, it
was as if she considered large feet to be a disease rampant among po' folk,
and if she got too close and I breathed on her, she might have caught it and
grown a huge pair of her own.
To this day I can't figure out why it
would be inappropriate to have a full range of shoe sizes at an upscale
store. I know I should have let it roll off my back, but I sat in my
shower and cried that night.
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