A Shoppers Guide to Shopping; The Do's and Don'ts

Well dear readers, as I sit here on a gray and rainy morning in my newly purchased "fluffy clothes" (my new, completely mis-matched set of pajama pants that are so wrong they're right, zipper robe and house slippers that are so fluffy they look like a small animal), one thing is certainly clear: the holiday season is upon us! It is now time to head out to your nearest coffee shop and grab peppermint-chocolate something, re-locate your favorite pair of gloves, and dig out your weather proof boots. Oh, and your wallet.


Because dear readers the holiday season also means that you are going to be performing copious amounts of shopping. Shopping for you, your best friend, your mother, your father, your sister, your brother (maybe), your boyfriend, your cousin, your co-worker who may or may not be plotting against you ( buy her a gift to throw her off), and then that cute boy who works next door. And then you. Again. In other words plenty of shopping, at plenty of stores. 

It is in this acknowledgement that I have decided to issue a public service announcement of sorts: A Shoppers Guide to Shopping; the Do's and Don'ts. Follow the shopping tips below (all of which come from personal experience and observation), and I can personally guarantee you an awesome holiday shopping experience.


Don't shop drunk.
Now, I know that you and your girlfriend haven't seen each other in a while, and you just wanted to "catch up". I also know that you skipped lunch at work in order to make up for the calories you planned on drinking with her: the fact that you're using the clothing racks to prop yourself up is a dead giveaway.  But here's the thing: when you ask the sales girl to get you that "amazing" pair of boots - again - and she has to point out that she already did, and that they are on your feet, you know it's time to call it a night. Also, just imagine how you're going to feel the next morning when you find your receipt: $400. And guess what? No returns.  Which leads me to...

Do know the shops policies before you buy.
Do they accept returns? If so, how many days do you have? Do the tags have to remain attached? If they do take returns are there any exceptions? If they don't take returns, is exchange or store credit an option? Always ask before you buy. Ignorance is never a winning policy.


Do look your sales person in the eye.
When the sales person approaches to ask you a question, take items from you, help you with a size - anything - make eye contact. I cannot stress this enough. Many people who are perfectly polite in their day to day lives seem to forget all basic manners when shopping. Your salesperson is just that - a person. Treat them like one. Make eye contact, say "please" and remember your "thank you"s.

Don't bring your entire group of girlfriends.
Why do you need all 17 of your girlfriends to voice their opinion on a pair of jeans that you like? It will take 20 minutes for them all to decide if they really like it, and they will all end up having the same question: "Well, what do you think?" And you know what will happen? You'll have Jane take a picture of your butt, and you'll send the picture to your boyfriend, and since he's always been bad with texting you back right away, you'll put the jeans on hold, and leave without them. Bottom line? Shop alone. Or, bring one or two girlfriends with you (at the very most).


Do place your items back on the hanger.
From the young age that a child first gains their dexterity, they are held responsible for putting things back in their proper place. You know who doesn't have dexterity? A newborn. Newborns also poop on themselves. The proper place for that dress you just tried on is the hanger, not the floor.

Do keep keep your proper under garments on.
When trying on anything that comes close to your crotch (which in this case is anything and everything), please for the love of all things holy, keep your underwear on. Saleswomen notice everything. That snail trail you left on the body suit? Yes, she noticed. She also told all of her coworkers, and there was an e-mail sent out about it too. Also, you've been blacklisted. It would be in your very best interest to avoid that store for the rest of your life. Folks, wear underwear.


Do leave your children at home.
Unless you are shopping for the child and you need to see how a will garment fit them, or it is a shopping trip for them, leave your children at home. The super trendy boutique that you love shopping at? They don't carry children's clothing. That was on purpose. Those small dressing rooms that don't fit a stroller? Yes, that was on purpose too. The saleswomen know that when you enter with your children, it will only be a matter of time before little Jimmy is playing with the rings, little Suzie is hiding in the clothing racks, and mom is pretending to be blissfully unaware, hiding in the dressing room

Don't make the salesperson play charades.

In other words, when you enter the store please put your cell phone away.


Don't be a last minute shopper.
It's 7 minutes before the store closes, and you just want to :
        A. shop the denim wall: you are the hunt for the perfect pair of jeans.
        B. Buy an outfit to your coworkers wedding. Which is tomorrow.
        C. Shop.
      D. See if they have that thing you've been wanting, by that brand, that kinda looks like that one thing that famous girl was wearing in that magazine last month. In blue. Or navy. You haven't decided yet.

Correct answer? None of the above.

If you just want a quick look around, if it's your first time seeing the store, or if you have finally found the boutique that your best friend has been talking about non-stop, than by all means, poke your head in. But if you are coming in to actually shop - don't. The only exception is if you know the exact item, it's location, color, and the size.


But wait - what if it's not the customer? What if it's the salesgirl?!
Oh We have all been there, haven't we? We enter a boutique, or a high end store and the saleswoman thinks she knows everything about us: and her conclusion is that we are not worth her time, or manners. If you're just there to browse, and not really intent on purchasing anything, don't worry about it. Sometimes working in a high-end retail environment can go to an employee's head.
However if the salesperson goes out of their way to be condescending or rude, take action: Quietly, in a calm and controlled manner, tell the sales person exactly what you are experiencing: their judgmental attitude, and their rude behavior. By being perfectly direct, and remaining emotionally in control, you will most likely have one very surprised, apologetic, and suddenly very helpful sales clerk on your hands.

And there you have it! So what you do you think? Any that I've forgotten?

Happy shopping!
Also read my 7 Ways to Shop like Kate Middleton for tips on how to politely behave yourself in stores!
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PS A nice warm welcome to my newest readers, Ani of The Fluorescence of Adolescence, and Ele! Thank you for becoming readers!

6 comments

Andressa C. said...

:)

Bienvenue chez French Girl in Seattle... said...

What an entertaining post, Amber. I could not agree with you more. Some people have no clue how to shop and can be pretty obnoxious to the sales staff. Shopping in France is such a different experience from shopping in the US! I would say it is easier to act spoiled in an American boutique than in a French one. I suspect you would get kicked out of a Parisian boutique if you did only half the things you have listed here ;-) -- Veronique

jassy said...

seriously THIS is what I love about your blog.........So informative jeez
Thanks girl I needed this. I was just thinking about shopping too. A great feeling and it should be fun when we do. But just like anything else, shopping needs etiquettes too

Barry said...

Very well thought out, and as someone who's worked in a retail clothing store I agree with all points.

"Snail trail", did she really just say that? You crack me up!

Oh man that Harrods photo brings back memories of my trip to Europe. Picture two young men in their early twenties, one (me) in full beard, plaid pullover and backpack. Talk about condescending looks from salespeople!

olivias-pizzaz said...

this was good, very entertaining! You always have the best posts!

Maaike & Evelien said...

Totally true what you tell in this post! I think it's really important to respect clothes, shops and salesgirls, because: What would we do without them? :)

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