Shopping 101: How not to be *that* customer

Yes, you’re right, it’s the salespeople’s job to make your shopping experience pleasant. But let’s be real here. They’re not miracle workers, and you have a large role to play both in your shopping experience and in that salesperson’s whole day. So here are some things you can do to make the whole thing more enjoyable for everyone.

1. Wait your turn. If there’s only one salesperson, and they’re busy with another customer, don’t yell at them from across the store. Don’t “Hel-lo, I’m ready to check out,” when you can see they’re unable to get to you right that moment.

2. Pick up after yourself. You wouldn’t leave clothes strewn all over the place in someone else’s home. Don’t do it in someone else’s workplace.

3. If you can’t get something back on the hanger the way it came off, it’s a lot better to hand it to someone who works there and say, “I couldn’t get this back the way it goes, can you help?” than to A. just leave it dumped somewhere or B. knowingly hang it up wrong and stick it back on the rack like you didn’t even notice.

4. No, just because it doesn’t scan doesn’t mean it’s free, and no, that’s not an original joke. Everyone who’s ever worked a single day in retail is sick to death of that joke. That, and “I just made that one” when they go to check a large bill. Obnoxious is not the same as clever.

5. Your salesperson may not actually be the school-dropout failure at life that you assume. You would be surprised to learn how many retail workers either hold degrees or are working on one. It’s a hard economy out there, and people who can’t find better jobs are taking the jobs they can get in the meantime. So no, when your kid asks “why is she ringing up my clothes,” the correct response is not “because she can’t find a real job.”

6. If you don’t want to be measured, that’s fine, but if you ask to be measured, and the number isn’t outlandish (say, within a couple of inches of your normal size), try it on. I promise you that any decent salesperson can tell you how their clothing sizes run. Sizing isn’t universal.

7. Yes, salespeople in many stores are required to ask for your email and/or phone number. You have the option of declining (unless you’re making a return, in which case, suck it up); if you’re going to exercise that right, please do so politely. Understand that if a salesperson asks you for personal info, it is not because they want to.

You’re going to get a lot better service if you’re not making your salesperson’s life miserable. Plus, you won’t look like a jerk in public, which is always a plus.


Product Road Test: Julep Nail Polish

My fashion resolution for this new year was to try to get better at keeping a manicure. I’ve seen the Julep subscription box advertised everywhere, so I finally decided to give it a try.

Signing up involved taking a style quiz with very dubious results. I have always considered my personal style to be more classic than anything, but they assigned me to the Bombshell category. That’s not a big deal, as customers can manually change their style profiles or order from different ones, but the colors selected for me as a result weren’t to my taste at all. Nancy, a frosted gunmetal gray, wasn’t so bad, but today, for the sake of giving a thorough review, I’m wearing Jessie, a nearly-black burgundy. After applying two coats, allowing them to dry properly, and applying the included Oxygen Performance top coat, my nails still have a streaky appearance that has me less than thrilled. The color isn’t great with my skin tone, either, though I do like that it says in the description that the polishes are cruelty-free and free of many of the toxic chemicals sometimes found in nail polishes.

My biggest issue with the polish is with how it wears. My cat caught the edge of his claw on my fingernail while playing, and instead of simply scuffing the polish, it actually peeled the polish off half the nail, taking the top layer of fingernail with it. Two other nails are also chipped in the three hours since I painted them. Honestly, I get better performance than this with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri for half the price. I’m really not impressed, and I’ve canceled my subscription. My verdict: Don’t waste your money.

Look who’s back!

So I took a few months off due to personal stuff, but I’m back. In the next few weeks, expect a field test of the latest reformulation of the classic Shalimar eau de parfum, some much-requested “how do I wear this?!” tips, and a special edition article for Valentine’s Day giving you an exclusive crash course on finding the perfect diamond and planning the perfect proposal. Stay tuned, Stylies!