Today's entry is surprisingly timely, seeing as while I was leaving work today, a coworker came up to me with a pile of clothing from the fitting rooms and said, "Guess what we just found?" (This question always precedes incredible discoveries.) She then lifted a pair of pants off the top of the stack to reveal a wad of gum that was holding a bikini top and some yoga pants together. Yes, someone decided not only to spit out their gum in the fitting room, but to put it on some clothes. And of course, since it was stuck to two things, we had to damage out both of those items. I literally cannot comprehend why someone would a.) spit their gum out in the fitting room and b.) stick it not on the carpet or the mirror or try to hide it under the dresser but stick it right on the nipple area of a bikini top like some sick joke. Who does that?
Right, so, aside from not putting your chewed gum on merchandise, here are some ways to avoid being a pain in the ass while in the fitting rooms.
- Nearly all fitting rooms have an item limit. If at all possible, try to abide by that limit. If you go in with an extra item or two, we're not going to yell at you. But smuggling in five extra things is really annoying because first off, we're going to think you're a shoplifter. Bringing in extra clothes and lying about how many clothes you have is sketchy as hell. We can hold your extras literally right outside the door and when you finish your first batch of items, we'll give them to you. Secondly, it's rude to the people who are waiting and confusing for us when we can't explain to someone in line why the room with apparently three items is taking so long to empty out.
- If we tell you it's one person per room, then don't sneak your mom or your friend or your sister in when I turn my back. It's extremely rude, and it's me that's going to get in trouble. Your companion can wait right outside the door and judge you all they want when you open the door, but please don't bring them in if it's not allowed.
- Today we had a mom bring her young children into her room with her. This (along with handicapped/otherwise impaired people who need assistance) is the only exception to the "more than one person per room" rule, because obviously we can't have a baby just sitting around without its mom. However, when the mom and children left, there was a huge mess in the room. Food crumbs and bits of who knows what else were all over the floor. So please, whether you have a kid with you or not, don't leave a mess on the floor. We're not maids. You need to be responsible for your messes.
- If you have an extra second, it really helps us if you will turn your clothes right side out and hang them up, or re-button them, or zip them, or basically just put them back to a similar state to the one in which you found them. This helps us get the clothes back out on the floor quicker, and it makes our lives so much easier!
- Please don't leave stuff behind if you can help it! At my store, the fitting room has to be cleaned out before we can let the next person in, so leaving behind clothes or hangers slows everything down, because we have to go in, grab the stuff, put it at the little go-back station, then go back to the room and let someone in. Again, we're not going to hate you if you forget a hanger on the hook, but if you take an extra two seconds to scan the room before you leave, it's considerate to both me and the next customer.
- If you are waiting in line, scowling at me isn't going to make anything go any faster. I do not control the rate at which people try on clothes, and I can't kick someone out of a fitting room just because you need one too.
- This one isn't necessary, but if you remember to do it, it makes my life so, so much better. If you are leaving your room and you are planning to purchase everything you tried on (i.e. don't need me to take any merchandise back from you), at the very least catch my eye before you leave so that I know your room is now empty. Countless times I've thought a fitting room was occupied because I never saw anyone leave and no one came to give me any clothes, when it turned out someone had just snuck out while I had my back turned. If you're feeling exceptionally nice, the best thing you can ever do in this situation is to either bring the sales associate the number tag from your door (if applicable) and approach them and say, "Hi, I just came out of that room [Gesture towards the room] and I'm going to keep these items, thanks!" Then we know which room was yours and get someone else in there.
- At my store, we have the unfortunate disadvantage of having fitting room doors that go from floor to ceiling. This means we can't peak underneath and look for feet. (Another reason why telling the fitting room attendant when you've left your room, and which room was yours.) We also have music playing. So if I knock on your door and you don't answer me, I'm going to assume that no one is in there, and I'll open the door. No matter what, I always knock several times and open the door really slowly just in case, but it really helps if you can yell back to me and say you're still doing fine in there.
- If the store is closing soon, please try not to come in with 20 things to try on. I explained this before, but basically, it slows the process of us closing down and oftentimes this means employees have to stay later because we couldn't start cleaning up as early as we intended.
With all that said, fitting rooms are actually one of my favorite places to be stationed, if not my favorite. I love getting to talk to all the customers, and it's always super fun when more than one person is shopping and one or more from the group doesn't need a fitting room and they chat with me. Today I got to talk with a really sweet mom from upstate New York while her daughter tried on clothes. It's fun talking with people, and it is undoubtedly the best way to pass the time on a slow day. I obviously don't mind if you don't want to talk with me seeing as I am a stranger and all, but sales associates are basically required to be nice (and most of us are nice people regardless; that's how we get hired), so it's entirely possible that you'll enjoy talking with us.
Funnily enough, nearly all horror stories in retail have to do with fitting rooms. Fitting rooms are where you find the creepiest, grossest things. (Like a bag of pee.) Fitting rooms are where people go to do sketchy things. (Like smoking a cigarette and leaving it on the floor.) Fitting rooms are where a great deal of shoplifting occurs. (We've found sensors that were cut apart with wire cutters.) But they really are fun, and you can help make them even more fun. (As much as we love scaring new employees with horror stories, please don't contribute to the tome of craziness if you can help it.)
I know that trying on clothes can be super tedious or stressful, but remember that the fitting room attendant is doing his or her best to help you, so helping us in return is very much appreciated.