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Why Would Stores Do This? | Manolo for the Big Girl

Why Would Stores Do This?

As I was reading some of my personal favorite blogs, I came across this half-sad, half-infuriating article at Hyde and Seek.

Basically, the author not only had great difficulty finding her relatively normal size available on the floor, but the sales staff treated her with contempt when they bothered to recognize she was there at all.

Retail outlets everywhere, let me clue you in on a secret: you sell more clothes if you treat every person who comes in the door with respect. It doesn’t even take that much effort. A smile here, an offer to help someone into a dressing room there, even a bit of commiseration that the item wanted isn’t there in the size needed tells the customer that you want to help her, which makes her more likely to spend money, even if it winds up being on a purse or a pair of earrings instead of a dress or a blazer.

I’ve worked retail. I’ve sold clothes (though most of my retail career was in books). I’ve had to tell someone ‘I’m sorry, but we don’t have that in stock in your size.’ Or that I didn’t have the color she wanted…or that we didn’t carry the style she was looking for. I’ve seen people walk in with chips on their shoulders looking for a reason to blame me for everything wrong in their worlds. I’ve dealt with the people whose expectations are completely unreasonable. I know how hard working with the great unwashed America public can be.

I also know that better than ninety per cent of those people will lose the attitude if they are treated with respect. I know that it’s possible to ruin someone’s day with a sucky attitude. And I know how much difference in sales a couple smiles and a genuine attempt to be helpful can make.

How about the rest of you? What’s your worst story of retail hell (from either side of the counter)? Who’s the salesperson you’ll never forget because (s)he was so helpful? What stores have you found particularly good or bad in customer service to Big Girls?

31 Responses to “Why Would Stores Do This?”

  1. Cat August 17, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    My worst story of retail hell: This would have been back in 1991 or 1992. I went to Dillards to shop for some new jeans. I was wearing my favorite denim jacket that day. I wore it into the store, and I wore it as I shopped through the racks and picked out a few pairs of jeans to try on. In the fitting room, I took off my jacket and put it in one of the shopping bags I was carrying. I tried on the jeans, decided on a couple of pairs, and then went to the register to pay. As I was completing my transaction at the register, a sheriff’s deputy appeared. He stood there, leaning on the counter, until I’d completed my purchase and started walking out of the store. He followed me.

    The moment I stepped out of the store and into the mall, he clapped his hand on my shoulder and said, “Excuse me, Miss. A Dillards employee saw you put a denim jacket into your bag while you were in the store. Did you buy that jacket at Dillards today?” Shocked, not least of all at the realization that someone had been monitoring me while I was in the fitting room — watching me try on clothes! — I said, “No. I bought that jacket at Foleys two years ago.”

    He grabbed my shopping bags and looked through them until he found the jacket. He pulled it out to examine it. It was obviously well-worn and had several Hard Rock Cafe buttons and political buttons pinned to it. He thrust everything back at me and said, “You’re free to go.”

    No apology. No, “I’m sorry I just embarrassed you in front of all of these people walking past.” No, “Ooops.” No nothing. I was absolutely livid and vowed never to shop at Dillards again. I didn’t keep that vow for eternity, but it was several years before I set foot back in that store.

  2. Cat (Different one) August 17, 2008 at 2:09 pm #

    I’ve had so many that I can’t necessarily count them. There are two that go to the top of my list though – one on each side of the counter.

    1) Back in the late 80’s, I worked for Lane Bryant for about 3 months (as long as I could stand it). My worst day was the customer who seemed to think I was her personal shopper. I came over to help her, and ended up being forced to carry all of her choices, following her around the store like a bored and confused husband. After wandering the entire store, she insisted I come to the dressing rooms. While there, she complained voraciously when I hung up her choices and turned to go. She insisted I stay in order to hand her each choice, then carry her purchases to the counter. And then, when asked if anyone helped her with her purchases, she stated firmly, “No, I had to do it all by myself.”

    I would have understood it if she were differently challenged, and been more than happy to assist her in any way. She was not only not challenged in any way (except perhaps mentally) – but she couldn’t have been any older than 30.

    And to deny me ANY form of commission after being her dog? I don’t think so!

    2) Also around this time (I was a bit young and stupid in those days), I personally went into Victoria’s Secret, thinking maybe there was something pretty I could get into. Having always been a large woman (and large girl for that matter), I had never entered there before. But I had been told by a friend that sometimes they have larger pieces – particularly in the bathrobes, which is what I wanted.

    I turned to a young lady who was very perky, and very nice. I asked her, simply for information’s sake, what their largest size was. She responded with “Extra Large” -which wasn’t much of a help. So, I asked her what approximate dress size that their Extra Large was likely to be. Her response? “Oh, they’re huge!! I think they’re like 12, or something!”

    My jaw dropped. Since when is a 12 considered “huge”? Please. I refrained from laughing in her face. Seeing that the only other person in the store was the manager, I walked over to the manager and asked to speak to her quietly. I related the story, and asked her politely to educate her staff about appropriate sizing.

    Her response? “Nobody over a size 10 deserves to have anything nice. They’re fat and should cover themselves.”

    I walked out flabbergasted and disgusted. I have always since discouraged any friend from buying from Victoria’s Secret.

  3. Amber August 17, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    Worst retail story? Being confronted by a sales rep and being very quietly informed that they didn’t carry anything in my size, and could I please leave the store. She wasn’t approached for help, I hadn’t made eye contact or displayed any sort of problem and was contentedly browsing the racks. She approached me because I was not a desirable customer to have seen in the store. End stop.

    I was in a Mariposa sometime in the late 90’s. The real kicker was that I was helping a friend of mine (size 4 and in the fitting room with some things I’d picked out) shop for a nice dress.

    That was actually at one of the points where I felt pretty good about how I looked and what my size was, but I was apparently too fat and unsightly to be even allowed to stay in the store.

    We didn’t buy anything there and I still have the echo of her voice in my ear whenever I’m going into a store that doesn’t “cater” to plus sized women.

  4. Chaser August 17, 2008 at 3:30 pm #

    What appalling manners! And stupidity. Does it not occur to any of these idiot salespeople that you might not be shopping for yourself, that you might be buying…a gift for somebody who DOES wear the size the store?

    I’ve never had a store tell me that there was nothing in my size and I should go. I do remember trying on a size 14 when I was a teenager and listening to my mother and the sales woman discuss how pretty I’d be if I lost weight, which counts as thoroughly bad manners on both my mother’s and the saleswoman’s part.

  5. Deborah August 17, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    These stories remind me of why I make my own clothes.

  6. Deborah August 17, 2008 at 5:04 pm #

    I had another thought. In any of these situations, did you write to the CEO of the company and let them know how appallingly rude their staff were to you? I think that someone high up in the chain of command should know when people are treated this way. And if that doesn’t work, aren’t you just so tempted to take out an ad in the newspaper? With a picture of the store and staff?

  7. Fabrisse August 17, 2008 at 6:44 pm #

    Mine was a shoe store. I have very small and very wide feet (4EEE), but there was one pair I really liked so I asked the salesperson if they could be special ordered in my size. His response was “We don’t even have lasts that small.”

    This one has a happy ending. A friend of mine, who is a serious shoe addict, had six pair in her hands. She handed them to the guy and said, “I wanted them in multiple colors too.”

  8. Jennie August 17, 2008 at 6:48 pm #

    I was in Chicago on business in April and had invited my sisters to come with me for a girls week out. Of course we spent some time on the Magnificient Mile! Both of my sisters love to shop at New York and Company. I had never been in one thinking it looked too much like a skinny girl store. I was surprised that they carried up to a size 18 and found several summer tops on sale that fit and actually looked good on my applely body. I’m at the register with my sisters (one a size 4/6 and the other size 10) when the young size 2 cashier started talking to her co-worker as if I weren’t there about how all the tops I had chosen looked like maternity clothes and just made everyone look fatter. I reminded the young lady that I was standing right in front of her. She completely ignored me. I would like to say that I walked out but it was a really, really good sale. The manager was not available so I sent an email to their corporate offices but still haven’t heard back, so of course, I won’t go back. The company’s loss. I spent wayyy too much on clothes and shoes. But not with them!

  9. Mrs. Hendricks August 17, 2008 at 8:38 pm #

    Many years ago we went to Dayton’s (now Macy’s after it failed as Marshall Field’s) and were looking for a half-slip in our size. Absolutely none to be found. We approached the saleswoman and inquired why there were no slips in our size. She seemed genuinely surprised that they didn’t have anything. We said something to the effect of, “There are lots of people my size who need slips, etc.,” and she completely sympathized and apologized. We thanked her, told her we understood it wasn’t her fault, but could she talk to her buyers about getting a wider range of sizes.

    We don’t know if she did, but it was gratifying to have someone look surprised that there weren’t clothes to fit us!

  10. raincoaster August 17, 2008 at 11:02 pm #

    @Cat (Different one): that’s appalling! I’ve always had excellent service from Victoria’s Secret, although I phone in my orders since here in Canuckistan we don’t have their shops. The phone operators have always been truly helpful and I’ve never had a hint of attitude from them, nor the hard sell.

    I was in Bruce, a very upscale shop that sadly, no longer exists, and saw the most beautiful party dress I’d ever laid eyes on. Bruce was one of those shops that display exactly one of everything, and the one on display was a size 2 and a small one at that. I just looked at it, drooling and the saleswoman (a size -3 or so) came up and volunteered to look for my size in the inventory in the back, and when I said it was unlikely it came in my size she said if they didn’t have it she could special order it for me. Unfortunately, even on sale I couldn’t afford it but I did make a habit of recommending that store. Sadly, not to enough people, it seems.

    I did my time in retail hell and I’ve seen those attitudinal types come and go. They don’t get loyal customers and they don’t find the man of their dreams in the Handbags and Scarves department, so quickly enough they move on to become bad waitresses or work in the pro shops at country clubs in search of someone to rescue them from the hell of their own making.

  11. abdabs August 18, 2008 at 4:15 am #

    I’ve had the same experience in reverse. I was a size 16/18 (Oz) at the time, and growing (and not just due to my pregnancy). I went into a plus-sized store – proudly advertising that they catered for sizes 14-24 – and was pretty much met at the door and sneeringly told they didn’t have anything my size.

    Nevertheless, I did try on a few items, several of which fit but were of such poor make and design, I did not purchase any of them.

  12. KatKat August 18, 2008 at 5:07 am #

    Victoria’s Secret, NYC, 2001. I went in with a friend to buy panties and was asked by the young skinny blonde thing in the store, whom we did not ask to assist us, what on earth we were looking for. When I told her I was looking for panties, she actually *laughingly* told me that there was “absolutely nothing in the store” our size in underwear or anything else. I was a size 18 at the time and my friend was about a size 14. I was so off put by her brazen rudeness that I didn’t quite know how to react. I simply told her, “That’s odd because I’m wearing Victoria’s Secret panties right now”. (I did fit into their XL and had found their cotton undies quite comfy at the time). She did a double take and I simply turned and walked out of the store. I believe my friend fired off some choice words to her on the way out. I have never bought anything from Victoria’s Secret since then for myself or as a gift for anyone else. I refuse to even step foot in one of their stores and I actively encourage everyone I know not to patronize them.

  13. Anastasia August 18, 2008 at 7:18 am #

    An unhappy customer will tell about ten people how much she/he hated the store, a happy one will tell about two, says the old statistic. Of course, with the internet you can tell so many more how unhappy you are.
    In my opinion bad service isn’t only for plus-sized women, it’s for everyone. You can be treated bad in shops for numerous reasons (color, age, shoe size, too funky clothes…), and you should not shop in places like these for the exact same number of reasons.
    All in all I’m a bit surprised to read something like that about American shops, in my limited tourist experience shopping in the USA had always been a rather pleasant experience. Agree about Victorias Secret, though.

  14. chachaheels August 18, 2008 at 8:11 am #

    Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but here in “Canuckistan” one of those accusations of theft which turns out to be a mistake is usually followed with a nice fat cheque, presented by the store and the security personnel who decided to watch you in the dressing room and then “arrest” you for a theft you didn’t commit.

    You take the big fat cheque and sign a form saying you won’t tell anyone it happened, you know they’re sorry for their hideous but completely human error, and you promise not to launch a lawsuit against the store and their security company for far more than that fat cheque gives you. Which you could easily do, and easily win, a fact they well know.

    As for being treated abusively by sales staff, such as people who decide they will tell you you are far too fat or undeserving of your life because of your size, there are lovely ways of obtaining closure on such events. Complaining to the store’s president or CEO of Marketing with clear and articulate accounts of your experience and the way you were made to feel in their store is the way you may also end up with formal apologies and pretty little cheques to soothe the pain (use the internet to check out their Boards of Directors and all their “big guns” for yourself, because many companies don’t want to deal with any complaints. Marketing directors do–believe me. Find out who they are and target them with your story, and cc the president and CEO of the company as well as the individual store manager too).

    As an added bonus to you, the offending soul may be asked to seek employment elsewhere. Everyone wins!

  15. ginag August 18, 2008 at 9:05 am #

    What is it about VS? (maybe her ‘secret’ is that the company doesn’t believe in training SA’s in customer service and politeness?) I haven’t set foot in their store since about 2003, when, upon telling the SA that I was “just browsing”, I was (loudly) informed that “OH WE DON’T SELL YOUR SIZE HERE; YOU NEED TO GO TO LANE BRYANT!”
    And this was the manager.

    I see no reason to reward such awful behavior with my hard-earned money, even for gifts. And I take the time to discourage any and everyone who will listen about their awful customer service (and the fact that their SA’s can’t measure anyone correctly for a bra to save their lives)

  16. Katharine August 18, 2008 at 9:19 am #

    Yes, the only times I’ve been told, basically, “get out, we don’t have your size,” has been in large-size stores. I was recently, at my current broad-shouldered 10-12, shopping for a coat, and noticed that Laura Plus had a sale. I like me a loose, flappy sort of coat, and my shoulders make coats a tough fit — but the sales assistant headed me off at the door, before I even got into the store — “oh, no, you don’t want to come in here, we’ve got nothing for you.”

    The best service I ever had was in the Lucky Jeans store in Yorkdale Plaza. The woman who helped me was teeny weeny, a size two if she breathed in, maybe — and Lucky Jeans go up, in stores anyway, to a max of size 16 — but she was SO helpful. Brought me a range of sizes from 8 to 14 in different styles, made useful comparative observations on the fit of each (hence the range of sizes) and similarly helped the other woman in the dressing room with me (also about my size, but with more of a tummy and less hip). It was so awesome, I actually ended up buying a pair of jeans for over a hundred dollars even though really in my head I wanted something in a lighter denim with a bit of Spandex.

    Mind you, reading Hyde and Seek’s account, I don’t actually get the feeling of being shunned because of her size (unless there were other, smaller customers with salespeople falling all over them). Sounds to me more like lazy salespeople who preferred to spend their time txting at the till or taking smoke breaks instead of helping customers, whatever. (And personally, I kind of like that. It’s certainly better than being over-helped. I HATE having someone on commission all in my face as I’m browsing the racks — “Can I take that to the dressing room for you? Did you see this other thing?” “No. Go away. I’m not ready yet.” I’d rather be ignored.)

  17. Jewels August 18, 2008 at 10:15 am #

    I’ve worked part-time in retail over the past 15+ years: jewelry, clothing, and furniture / home decor. I worked full time at August Max Woman back in the late 1990’s, ironically when I wore a misses 12 or 14. I got the nasty remarks from the customers about me being too small, when certainly by general standards I wasn’t. Our size 2, 5′-0″ tall assistant manager really got the brunt of it. Poor customer service comes in all shapes & sizes – luckily I’ve never experienced any (that I know of) due to my now substantialicious figure.

  18. Eden August 18, 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    Once I had to big through a cardboard box that was shoved under a table in a Victoria’s Secret to find size XL panties. They just didn’t feel like putting that stock in the drawers like the other sizes. The only help I got was that someone said, “Yeah, we still carry EXTRA-large” and she pulled out the box, gestured and said, “There it is.” Another woman came up and said, “Are those the XLs?” So we both rooted through the new stock (ie: not clearance stuff) to find what we needed.

    Best story was when a woman came up to complain when I was customer service manager at a store. She was ignored and then treated badly. I apologized & offere to get her the department manager. She was very calm but firm. She said she simply wouldn’t shop at the department store any more. A few months later, I’d gone to another department store in the same city (also in customer service) and the same woman came up to offer a compliment about the service she’d received. Both times she was dressed similarly: sweats & a ponytail. Turned out that she was the wife of a local university president, a close-knit community of a university at that, and she’d told everyone about her experience at the other store and would tell the same people about the service at the second store. She came to customer service often after that, for gift wrapping, bill paying etc. and was always a pleasant, wonderful woman. I felt badly that she was treated with such disdain at the previous store but there was a reason I wasn’t working there anymore ;)

  19. Bree August 18, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    I’m not surprised that Victoria’s Secret would put down big customers. I’ve always wondered why they don’t do a plus line. I think they would get a good response. Big gals don’t want to wear “granny” underwear all the time.

    There’s only been one time I had a bad experience, and this was at a so-called ritzy boutique in Baltimore. I was in college and had won a free makeover for the cable access channel that broadcasts from the school. The producer had lined up a store called Cache to provide us with our “after” outfits. I don’t think the owner/manager was expecting that several fat gals would be chosen to get a makeover. I was a 20/22 at the time and not only did the things he had in my size were cut too small, they were the ugliest old-lady clothing I’d ever seen. He basically told me that they had nothing for me and I should try somewhere else. Pissed off, my mom and I headed to Lane Bryant and I found a nice outfit. The day of the makeover, I spoke with another woman who had the same experience at this store, and went to Lexington Lady and found a gorgeous suit. We told the producer about what happened, and she ended up not naming the store during the closing credits, and substituted the stores we went to instead.

  20. jen August 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    Wow, I have never really been treated poorly in VS…and I love their hipster-panties, size XL of course. The worse treatment by a sales rep I’ve encountered was at a Zales Jewelry store, my brother and I were looking for my mom a nice pair of diamond stud earrings for her birthday. I have never seen myself as white trash but I definitely felt like it that day-for 2 reasons: the way I was treated by Mr. Snobby-Pants and then the redneck fit I had in the store for being treated like white trash!!

  21. Kimiks August 18, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    This was about ten years ago, I had received my first 10k plus bonus and decided to go and but a whole new wardrobe with the entire amount I had received. I put on my very expensive cowboy boots, a pair of jeans, white shirt and a blazer and went to the mall in the Suburb of Boston I was living in at the time. The first place I went was a frou frou boutique that I had heard great things about, and the woman looked at me from head to toe and said ” I don’t think we have your style here.” I just looked at her and walked out- could not think of a snappy come back. I went into another shop- and was told that there was nothing in my size that I may want to look in the “Fat Woman” Department. At this point I wanted to cry- I took my Size 16 New Mexican Cow Boy Boot Wearing Bum to the local Brew pub, flirted a little with the bar tender and walked back into the Mall Determined to find something- walked into Lane Bryant, had the most helpful person on the planet and walked out after spending about in one fell swoop- all I needed were shoes- so I went back to the snooty department store, where the shoe Department was directly across from the women’s department- I spent a lot more there, all under the watchful stink eye of the snooty sales woman. When the sales person asked if I needed anything else, I said I’d like to speak with the store’s manager. I explained the situation, how the shoe guy was very helpful but the women’s SA needed help. I was given a deep discount, a huge gift certificate and the snooty SA was last seen following the Store Manager up the escalator. The Frou Frou Boutique went out of business. Justice was served.

  22. crewbie August 18, 2008 at 3:46 pm #

    I’m fortunate in that I’ve never had a poor customer service encounter (at least not due to discrimination). I will say, however, that one place I ALWAYS have good help is at J.Crew. I’m a size L/14 in their clothes, which is usually at the very bottom of the pile, but ocasionally is missing. I’ve always found people really great, especially because if I look like I’m hunting they will almost always come and ask if I need them to find a size.

    It is also not uncommon for me to experience what I consider to be OUTSTNANDING service there. Even looking my grungiest, I’ve had super helpful salespeople (men and women) go out of their way to find sizes for me, help me compare styles, entertain me in the dressing room, and suggest items to go with whatever I’m trying on (usually their jeans, which I highly recommend if you have larger/athletic/whatever thighs, and a good set of hips). At one point I had a salesman bring me two shirts to try on with a pair of my favorite jeans, and he said, direct quote, “Now I brought you a couple of shirts that I LOVE with those jeans. They’re both darling…but I think this one is a better shirt for the money.”

    If you’re up to a 14/16 (the 16 only comes online, which I think is a bit silly), I recommend the outlets. Their jeans are usually nicely on sale, and some are great on a fuller figure. Plus the staff is almost always great!

  23. kalamari August 18, 2008 at 5:07 pm #

    “I’m not surprised that Victoria’s Secret would put down big customers. I’ve always wondered why they don’t do a plus line. I think they would get a good response. Big gals don’t want to wear “granny” underwear all the time.”

    I wonder this about nearly every store I walk past while shopping for clothes. What percent of the population is overweight? A lot; yet there are so few stores that have clothing to fit those people. They could make a killing!
    Argh!!!

  24. La BellaDonna August 18, 2008 at 6:57 pm #

    Cat(Different One), I will recommend to you what I recommend to other ladies who wish Victoria’s Secret (a) had sizes that fit them, and (b) were polite.

    Frederick’s of Hollywood, ladies. Yes, they may be a source of jokes, and of somewhat tawdry catalogues back in the 50s and 60s, but they have some beautiful bras and some decent panties. I bought a rack of panties in 2XL, and some really beautiful, supportive, embroidered lace bras. Red lace with silver flowers, black lace with lavendar flowers … pretty! And under $30, for heaven’s sake!

    I don’t think they go all the way up to some of the really larger sizes – I don’t know if they carry Js, because I wasn’t looking. But they certainly seem to expect and welcome larger-than-12s to come and shop. And I’d like to add that my $24/$26 Frederick’s bras were cut just like, and made just as well, as the La Mystere bra I plunked down $70 for. Give them a look!

    As for Vicky’s Seekrit, it seems to depend. I was in one, where I’d taken a friend to look for bras (yes, I have some that I’ve gotten there myself), and I was explaining sizing and fit to her, and the manager, who had been listening, offered me a job on the spot. On the other hand, in another store, the barely-nubile girl there was utterly indifferent to the fact that I had money to spend; apparently anyone over a C was not worth her time. Fortunately, her co-worker felt entirely different.

    So, I guess that often: It Depends.

  25. La BellaDonna August 18, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    Cat(Different One), I will recommend to you what I recommend to other ladies who wish Victoria’s Secret (a) had sizes that fit them, and (b) were polite.

    Frederick’s of Hollywood, ladies. Yes, they may be a source of jokes, and of somewhat tawdry catalogues back in the 50s and 60s, but they have some beautiful bras and some decent panties. I bought a rack of panties in 2XL, and some really beautiful, supportive, embroidered lace bras. Red lace with silver flowers, black lace with lavendar flowers … pretty! And under $30, for heaven’s sake!

    I don’t think they go all the way up to some of the really larger sizes – I don’t know if they carry Js, because I wasn’t looking. But they certainly seem to expect and welcome larger-than-12s to come and shop. And I’d like to add that my $24/$26 Frederick’s bras were cut just like, and made just as well, as the La Mystere bra I plunked down $70 for. Give them a look!

    As for Vicky’s Seekrit, it seems to depend. I was in one, where I’d taken a friend to look for bras (yes, I have some that I’ve gotten there myself), and I was explaining sizing and fit to her, and the manager, who had been listening, offered me a job on the spot. On the other hand, in another store, the barely-nubile girl there was utterly indifferent to the fact that I had money to spend; apparently anyone over a C was not worth her time. Fortunately, her co-worker felt entirely different.

    I did have the usual Bridal Store Horror Story: at a size 10, I was looking for a non-bridal gown, and was told, with a sneer, that they didn’t have anything that would fit me. Oh. Well.

    So, I guess that, often: It Depends.

  26. Z. August 18, 2008 at 7:27 pm #

    I have a friend who had a similar nasty experience with a Victoria’s Secret SA. I’ve never had one myself, because I am unable to buy bras there at all. They carry my band size – 38 – but their largest cup size is a DD, and that ain’t cuttin’ it. So I won’t buy panties there, either, on general principle. I will, however, buy jeans from the catalog, because they have good jeans…but you can’t purchase that stuff in the stores, as far as I know, and even then, they only go up to a 14.

    You’d think stores like these would catch on to the idea that people larger than a 14 also have money. If the intent of a retail establishment is to, y’know, sell stuff, you’d think they’d want to have as many things as possible that as many people as possible could purchase.

    It’s like they think that as soon as your waist passes a certain circumference, you are instantly rendered penniless and immediately relocate to a cardboard box somewhere, where you must then weave your garments from discarded newspapers, plastic bags, and twist ties, and barter your creations to the other over-14s in exchange for sammiches and shampoo.

    wtf, stores?

  27. J. P. Vonderhaar August 19, 2008 at 11:34 am #

    When I was shopping for a prom dress, I went to about 25 stores looking for a dress that was:
    -in my size (a 12-14 at the time)
    -bra-friendly or provided enough support that my DD-cup boobs could go braless
    -less than $150 because that was all I was willing to spend
    -easy enough to have shortened because I’m only 5’2″

    Gosh, I’m so unreasonably picky, aren’t I? I could not find a single dress that met more than two of those criteria. I asked the saleslady if they had anything closer to what I was looking for, and she pointed me to the Mother of the Bride section. In what universe are Mother of the Bride dresses appropriate for the Senior prom? I was at least 30 years too young for anything there!

    Thankfully, one of my best friends was about twice my size and her grandmother was a master seamstress. When I told them about my frustration, they said I should have told them sooner and helped me find a dress that made me look and feel like Jessica Rabbit.

    Also… Lovefifi.com has a pretty good selection of sexy large size bras (lots of DD and DDD stuff, some styles up to G), panties (up to 3X) and trashy lingerie at good prices, and their customer service is excellent.

  28. Bree August 19, 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    “You’d think stores like these would catch on to the idea that people larger than a 14 also have money. If the intent of a retail establishment is to, y’know, sell stuff, you’d think they’d want to have as many things as possible that as many people as possible could purchase.”

    You bring up a good point Z. It could be some of these stores that won’t offer clothing in sizes beyond a 14 and/or relegate larger customers to only online shopping don’t believe they can project an upscale, attractive image. So even middle and upper class people of size who can afford the clothes are SOL because they are lumped in with the stereotypical image of what society thinks a fat person looks like and behaves. They’re tying in fatness with myths about class and socioeconomic status and that’s wrong.

  29. leymoo August 20, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    Only one.

    In a US store (they only have about 2-3 stores in the UK, as far as I can remember).

    I asked what an XL was in UK sizes
    “oh, about a 12? Possibly a 14 at a stretch” (US 8 and 10, respectively).
    She didn’t seem to think that this meant I wouldn’t be able to fit into any clothing. This is fairly normal for me: I’m large framed so because people don’t see fat/podge they don’t think “fat”, but I am still plus size. When I explained it meant I’d have to put stuff back she gave me an awful look.

    *Never* had the problem anywhere else. I can only assume that I either have a look that doesn’t encourage it, or I’m lucky, or the UK has more enlightened attitudes to these things.

    H&M, although having a very difficult to find plus size section (main section goes up to US 16 or UK 20, plus size overlaps from UK 16 (US 12) to UK 32(US 28)), is wonderful. I’ve never had any problems with the staff, and I suppose it makes sense for their business: a huge amount of their money comes from accessories, which don’t have size restrictions.

    My experiences have generally been positive, apart from before the “bra sizing revolution” and constantly being told I’m a 44A without actually looking at the bra on my body. Now people fit by size, it’s a lot different: no more back pain :D

  30. Margo August 25, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    leymoo – H&M do +sizes? Knock me down with a feather. i’ve only been in the UK 1 month, & so far I’ve only got stuff at M&S and Dorothy Perkins – v. unimpressed with the latter’s trousers, which self-destructed on my first day of work, hem falling down and buttons a-poppin’, but I liked seeing Gok in the changing rooms.

  31. Searson August 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    cool picsxx