Rove would have a field day.

Posted by JSYL on Thursday, December 06, 2007
I started working in retail for the first time in my life, a few weeks ago.
I always thought people in retail were like the 'cool kids', where the store is a cafeteria and you, the consumer, are the geek momentarily given a free pass to interact as if, for the amount of time it takes you to be persuaded into trying on and then buying a $50 t-shirt or a $100 dress you'll never wear more than once, you are somehow one of them. But now I know better. More on that later. For now- the weirdest encounter ever experienced in all of my three weeks of employment in the retail world:

This couple is looking for jeans. The girl speaks less English than the guy, which is why (I presumed) he is talking to me at length about what kind of jeans she (not he) is looking for. He translates for her my explanations of the different types of jeans I'm offering her to try on, as i hand them to her in the change room. When she closes the door, we stand there, waiting for the verdict.

He says something slightly awkward: "She's short, and she has a big bum. So its hard for her to fit jeans." That, I can handle. I start talking about how a boot cut, or a higher waist might suit better, but he can't let me escape the awkwardness without dropping this blow, for which I am utterly unprepared: "...she's sort of like you" - he says, while looking down and staring at my ass. No, not glancing, like many a guy might subtly try to do from time to time. Stares. And while, continuing to stare, he makes a 'turn around so i can see' gesture. I am forced to pause mid-sentence about the mysterious ways of jeans to just stare at him as if to say "are you freaking kidding me?"

His eyes though, carry all the solemnity of a doctor who asks a nurse what blood type a recently deceased, potential organ donor has, in order to determine in a matter of seconds whether little Timmy might just have a new heart by Christmas rather than a perverted old man checking out the goods on Kings Cross before he hands over his twenty dollar note, and so, I spin around as quickly as humanly possible. WHAT THE?

I resented this 3 second exchange that felt more like an eternity before she emerged wearing a pair of Levi boot leg jeans, for three main reasons:

1. My ass is NOT big.
2. I spun around, and thus added new meaning to the term "retail whore"
3. This guy was not translating something she'd said about her figure, he was speaking for her, just as he did when I later asked her "do you like them" and he said "yes" before she had a chance to nod. If she'd heard/understood it, I'm sure she would've been uber embarassed/offended/felt like she was being patronised to the nth degree.

More tales of awkward moments to come. There are many of them.

P.S. She ended up buying a pair of skinny leg black levis. She was pretty excited about them. I wonder if part of the reason was because black is slimming, and wearing them would shut the guy up about how fat her ass is the next time they're at the counter of McDonalds waiting to buy a Big Mac. Can you imagine that? "Well she can't have double cheese because she has a huge ass, made more obvious by her height. Wanna see? Turn around for the bewildered and disturbed cashier hun. She's used to it, she sees fat asses all the time in her line of work."

And on that note, I think i'll go to sleep.



Try working 3 years in retail and counting. You will learn everything about the human race in your days in retail. It's not as bad as it sounds, though sometimes you will feel a profound urge to punch various customers in the head for their inability to treat the retail assistant as a human being. "Have a nice day!" LOL..

I can't believe you're leaving Reuters! What else are you doing besides retail whoring? And out of curiosity - how does one get a job at Reuters? *twiddles thumbs*

OH would you happen to be doing Tropfest this year..?

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