I’ve noticed that nowadays, probably because most of them don’t work on commission any longer, department-store clerks have become much more honest…and blunt. This, depending on the situation, can be either a good thing or a bad thing.
For example, I was about to purchase a beige sweater one day when a clerk said to me, “Beige is too pale for your skin tone. It will wash you out. The mint green would look much better on you, especially with your green eyes.”
I grabbed the green sweater and held it up against me. The clerk was right. The color really brought out my eyes. Pleased, I bought it.
Another time, however, I was trying on a fitted dress and stepped out of the dressing room to look at myself in the three-way mirror. A salesclerk approached and stood silently staring at me, her hand on her chin.
“It looks good on you,” she finally said.
I smiled, ready to whip out my credit card.
“But may I suggest something to go with it?”
“Sure,” I said, wondering what it might be. A belt? A silk scarf? Pearls?
“Control-top pantyhose,” she said.
I put the dress back on the rack.
For some reason, when I’m trying on clothes, the one thing clerks always say to me that really irritates me is, “That outfit looks so slimming on you!” as if they believe they actually are giving me a compliment.
All I’m hearing is, “Hey, Chubs! You need to look slimmer! So buy something that creates the illusion that your Titanic hips are much smaller than their actual hugeness!”
I’ll never forget the day I was Christmas shopping at a mall and I wandered into a store that sold only petite clothing in sizes nine and smaller. The minute I set eyes on the diminutive clerks, I felt as if I were Gulliver entering the land of the Lilliputians.
“May I help you?” one of the clerks, a petite young thing in a mini skirt asked as her eyes made a critical sweep over me. I could read her mind just by looking at her expression…“Lady, nothing on you is a size nine or smaller, not even your shoes.”
“Thanks, just looking,” I said, heading toward a rack of jackets.
“You DO realize that we sell only petite sizes, don’t you?” she persisted, following me.
“Yes,” I answered, smiling sweetly. “I’m actually shopping for clothes for my Barbie doll.”
Still, honesty can be a good thing, I guess. I was shopping for a bra one day, and after looking at about 30 different styles, I finally found one I really liked. As I stood there, studying it on its hanger, a friendly looking, gray-haired clerk, who was standing nearby, said to me, “That one doesn’t have enough support for you…and it’s too pointy.”
She recommended another bra she thought would be perfect for my shape and size, and I tried it on. I also tried on the one I’d selected. The clerk was right. The one I’d chosen made me look as if I were smuggling two road-construction cones under my blouse. The one she’d recommended fit perfectly.
So I guess I really should prefer the brutally honest clerks, otherwise I’d be walking around in a beige sweater that makes my complexion look as if I’m embalmed, a dress that shows off my saddlebags, and a bra that could poke out someone’s eye.
Just don’t ever tell me that something looks “slimming” on me.
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