Clothes Shopping – A Rant
I need to rant for a bit. I try not to do so too often, but I’m just so frustrated and someone has to know.
I got a part time job. Nothing glamorous and it pays barely anything, but it’s something to bring in a few extra bucks while my husband is looking for a better job.
Anyway, I needed to get some appropriate clothing to wear for work, so I went shopping. I hate shopping. Especially clothing shopping. I don’t mind window shopping or some non-clothing shopping. It’s easier to bear if I’m with people – but sometimes that too can add to my stress. Malls are the worst for me. I like them for a short while. I like the small gift shops and fun trinkets all around, but I hate the non-stop social interaction. Clothing stores are the worst – sales people talking to me the minute I walk in. Ugh, I can’t take it! Go away, don’t talk to me. **Please,** people. I try not to make eye contact. I make wide arcs around every sales person, but they come after me anyway. Apparently Aspies aren’t the only ones who misses social queues :/. I can usually handle about three, maybe four (on a good day) clothing store interactions. After this, I tend to become visibly stressed. I am a passive person for the most part and don’t like to stir up trouble, but when I’m at my social-interaction limit, my responses can become curt and sometimes rude. I don’t mean to be rude. I’ve been known to return to a store before leaving the mall to apologize to anyone I might have been so with.
For some reason, malls give me the most trouble. I can put on the neurotypical act for a long time in many other settings. I have been praised for having the best customer service skills in most of my jobs. I’m not even kidding. I’ve had people ask for me by name because I’m the “friendly one.” Something about the mall just puts me on a borderline meltdown mode as soon as I walk in.
When my husband is with me, he keeps the sales people away whenever he can. However, he doesn’t mind being rude right away. He’s not a terribly friendly person to people outside his own circle. He is rude because he just doesn’t like people. The people aren’t my problem. I love people and I hate it when I do anything to offend someone I don’t know. I am not annoyed at the salespeople so much as stressed around them. I start panicking and I can easily get a headache within 15 minutes if pressured into too much conversation.
I prepare myself in advance for trips to the mall. I get plenty of rest the night before. I don’t do anything else stressful before leaving. On a good day, I can make it into all of the clothing shops provided the conversations are limited to a quick “hi, how are you?” If they keep talking after my “fine, thank you,” my anxiety sets in.
At the mall today, I went to Maurices first. The salesperson there wouldn’t leave me alone! It was the creepiest thing! She started with the customary “how are you?” and the conversation progresses as follows:
me: “I’m good, thanks”
her: “did you work to day?”
me: (I freeze up as I struggle to make sense of a question out of the usual context – does she think I work there?) I hesitantly answer, “no,” and try to ignore her.
her: “Oh, so you got the day off!?”
me: (feeling really out of my element. I didn’t practice for this. It’s not the usual small talk. what do I do??) I nod and give a half nervous smile. What business is it of hers anyway if I worked, if I even work at all? seriously, what was her deal???
her: “oh fun, so you are here to shop till you drop?!”
me: “uh, i guess. but I really don’t like shopping” she gives me a concerned “oh?” and I say, “I don’t like a lot of things that most people like, but I have to shop sometimes.” A stupid reply, really, but I had no idea what to say and I wanted to figure out how to get away from this situation without coming across as rude. I walk away from her again and avoid eye contact. She notices me look at a table of jeggings.
her: “so you’re here looking for something particular then?? some jeggings”
me: “no, I’m just looking,” I say as I hurry to the other end of the store. Another stupid reply considering my previous comment about not liking to shop – but again, what business is it of hers?
I stalled before most of my replies, really confused about how to answer. I’m pretty sure the panic was showing on my face by my final reply, but I made my way to the exit before she could say anything else.
So, wonderful, I was in the mall not even 10 minutes and already stressed. Fan-freaking-tastic.
Perhaps we should move on now to *why* I was even in the mall. There are other places to buy clothing. The mall isn’t even close by – it’s a 30min drive. It certainly wasn’t my first choice. My first choice was the Kohl’s that is a couple blocks away from me. A large, mostly quiet store, close to home – perfect! I don’t need anything fancy, just some black pants. Any black pants. All my black pants are jeggings. In that entire store, and trust me, I went through every single folded pile and rack of black pants, there was only ONE size 2 in the women’s section. ONE. Ugh, no surprise really. I shop in the juniors department a lot. I don’t mind most of the time, but at 33, I should really be able to shop with the rest of the grown-ups. I don’t like low rise jeans, and though I can usually find something that works for me in the juniors, it takes ~a lot~ of trying on because nothing is consistent in junior’s sizing. The pants might be made for people of my general size, but not for a fully grown woman’s hip and butt. Usually, if I can find size 2 in the adult women’s department, it will fit. More dependable, yet so much harder to find. And for heavens sake, I am an adult! Sometimes I want adult fashions, especially for work. Yes, I know there are young-adult shops for the early 20s crowd. That’s why I ended up going to the mall. But in the average department store, I can shop in the tween/teen section or not at all, pretty much. I didn’t go in there with a mind to be picky. Honestly, I was desperate enough to take ANYthing that fit. There was plenty of “my size” in the junior’s department, but the fit was off as it so often is unless I can find high rise pants. I found one nice pair of pants in the juniors department that I loved. Only one like it. Turns out it’s not a brand they sell. It was an erroneous return and I couldn’t keep it 😦
I went home with the only pair of size 2 for grown-ups in the entire store. A tacky pair of straight leg pants with a hem slightly too short for me. As I picked them up off the shelf, I gazed at the pictures above of adult women who are probably a size 0 modeling the pants that seem to begin, for the most part at sizes 4 or 8 in the store. What in the world is up with that? I remember some time ago being in a store and asking if a particular item came in size 2 and they said yes, but they don’t stock size 2, so it’s order-only.
So many of my more voluptuous acquaintances lament that I am so lucky because shopping must be easy. Oh people. The grass is not greener anywhere else. Really, it isn’t.
Well, so, I suffered a trip to the mall. I found plenty of skinny jeans and jeggings. Most non skinny black pants are either excessively dressy or don’t exist. Why do all the bootcut and flare style pants only come in blue denim these days? But, believe it or not, I found the most perfect pair of black flare bottom pants. I love them so much, you have NO idea. And, they were the only pair left in the store. I could have bought at least twenty size 4s and a store full of size 13s, but there was only one size 2. 😦 They were on clearance and the cashier said they are probably discontinued. I went online and found them, also on clearance, though not as cheap as in-store. It said “only a few left!” when I clicked on my size. I added four to my online cart and paid for them. Now I’m hoping I don’t get the dreaded “we cancelled your order” email I get when online inventory isn’t up to date. I really really hope I get my order. Please, everyone, hope for me too! I don’t want to go to the mall again . (´;︵;`)