When it comes to shopping for clothes, do you tend to second-guess your potential purchases? Do I look good in this? Is this too pricey? It’s always better to hear reassurance from another person like a friend or salesperson to boost your confidence. Unfortunately, that is not the case for everyone. Shoppers share the most absurd thing someone said to them in a clothing store.
Content has been edited for clarity
“This Was Guy Business”
“My now ex-wife and I were at an upper-end men’s clothing store. I was looking at a gorgeous charcoal grey pinstripe when a salesman came over. He was trying to maneuver me to a suit that cost considerably more.
Now my ex-wife always was a master shopper, I was frequently amazed at what she would come home with for she had paid. She would come home with 400 bucks designer labels for 100 bucks or less.
So in this situation, she pointed out the obvious price difference to the salesman. He replied to her that she should be seen and not heard. ‘This was guy business.’
Again my self-control saw an opportunity. I said, ‘Excuse me? I’m her husband and I don’t speak to her like that. So you sure as heck don’t get to.’
He started stammering and apologized.
That wasn’t good enough. I winked at my ex-wife.
I let the guy measure and chalk the suit. After I picked out a shirt and two ties, I went to the register to pay. The tab was right at 715 bucks. I counted out six 100 buck bills and the rest in smaller bills. I laid it out like playing cards.
As he went to pick it up, I put my hand down and said, ‘Wait a minute. You must have heard what your salesman said to my wife and said nothing. I don’t think I care for this place. Keep your rags.’
As we were walking out, my ex-wife was beaming at the salesman who was nervously nudging rack items and the owner was glaring at him.”
All She Wanted Was Help
“When I was a young teen, I wanted to buy a new bra. I was alone in the store and didn’t have a clue on how to start. My old bra had no size tag so I wasn’t 100 percent sure about my size.
I went up to the group of saleswomen who were chatting and told them what I wanted to buy. One of them asked for my size.
I replied, ‘I am not sure. I think my mother said I am 36C.’
The woman shrieked into laughter. Then she pointed at me, and roared to everyone who could hear, ‘She says she’s a 36C! Where, honey? In your back?’
The other saleswomen laughed along with her. I remember turning bright red and leaving the store.
To this day, decades later, I still loathe buying undergarments.”
Mom vs Mom
“I was in Hot Topic in Los Angeles with my 15-year-old daughter, my one-year-old, and I was seven months pregnant (I was also almost 30 years old). I had my baby in a single small stroller while my eldest daughter and I were looking at clothes. When I was pregnant, I never dressed in ‘maternity wear.’
Another pregnant woman, who appeared to be about nine months pregnant (and looked like she was in her early 40s) was shopping with her older daughter who appeared to be the same age as my own teenage daughter. Her daughter called out to her mother asking her to come look at something. The pregnant woman, who had been staring at me beforehand, looked me up and down with disdain, and said directly to me (although, she was answering her daughter), ‘I can’t, she is too big and blocking my way.’
I was not even in the same aisle!
Her own daughter was mortified and said, ‘Mom!’ in disbelief.
My older daughter heard what the woman said and came over to my side and said, ‘Let’s go, Mom’, while giving the woman a dirty look.
We had to pass right by the woman to exit the store. Normally, I would not have left a store because of some rude person, but it was a necessity to respond to her rudeness. Just as I passed by her, I turned to my daughter and casually exclaimed while looking at the woman, ‘Isn’t she a little old to be having a baby?'”
She Thought They Were Too Trashy For Her Store
“When I was around 15 years old, my much older cousin and I decided to go shopping in ‘town.’ At the time, we lived in a small Texas town, and the closest place to do any serious shopping was a 40-minute drive away to ‘town.’
I was excited to go to town with my cousin. She was pretty cool, and we were really as close as sisters at that time. Once we got dolled up in our town clothes and put on a little makeup, we then left.
When we got to town, we first ran some errands for my mom and then had lunch at a burger joint. After that, we decided to look for a birthday gift for my mom. At that time, she liked a perfume called Tabu, which was a little pricey for me. However, I was hoping I could find a teeny tiny bottle and then get her some flowers too. My cousin was all for shopping, and she remembered the name of a quaint little shop in an older part of town her friends frequented. She wanted to take a look to see if they had the perfume, so that was our first stop after lunch.
We found the place, it was situated in a little plaza with an ice cream shop next door. My cousin and I walked in, and a sales lady appeared as if by magic. She greeted us and asked if she could help us.
We said, ‘No thanks.’ We just wanted to browse around for a gift for my mom’s birthday.
She was sweet, so I asked her if she carried Tabu. She told me she did, and to follow her. We went up to a locked glass case, and she pointed out the Tabu, which she had in a few different sizes. Even the smallest bottle was too expensive for me, so I told her I wanted to look around for a bit. The sales lady’s demeanor changed instantly, her sweet smile disappeared into pursed lips. She nodded her head, closed the glass door, pulled out the key, and walked away. I remember thinking, ‘What the heck?’
So I walked over to my cousin and put my head near hers and whispered to her, ‘Let’s go.’
My cousin looked up at me with a big question mark all over her face. Before I could tell my cousin what just happened, the sales lady came striding over to us, where we were looking at a display of earrings.
‘Perhaps if you haven’t found anything satisfactory here at (name of the store), you might want to try the Walgreens down the street, or perhaps the Five and Dime,’ she said, snottily.
She didn’t even try to hide her disdain. My cousin and I were both taken aback, and pretty mortified too.
Sure, we shopped at both of those places too, but we were looking for something special for my mom’s gift. Neither of us said a word, but both of us were flushed red from indignation as we turned on our heels and walked out of the store.
The sales lady stood in the window and watched as we got into the car and backed out of the parking space. My cousin and I had found our voices by then and were both fussing and carrying on about how rude that sales lady was. How we felt that she had more than insinuated that we were too trashy for her store. Sure we were small-town girls, but we knew how to act right, and we weren’t trashy either.
That sales witch intimidated me so badly that I didn’t want to go into shops like hers anymore.”
High School Girls
“I was shopping for a dress with my friend for a school dance. We were trying dresses on at a department store. There weren’t many places to shop in our town, so it didn’t surprise us when a gaggle of the more affluent girls in the school came in.
We barely acknowledged each other, but there wasn’t any hostility. More of an ‘I know you, but we aren’t in the same group’ vibe.
I was getting frustrated at the store because nothing fit right. I was 4’10 and wore a ‘Whatever your smallest size is’ size. I was lucky when I found something that was 00 or extra small. Or, when the heavens wished to bestow blessings upon me, an extra, extra small.
I told my friend I was ready to go, but she wanted to stay. We lightly bickered about it back and forth and I said, ‘Okay, well nothing here comes close to fitting me so I guess I’ll just wait for you.’
That was when, out of nowhere, one of the girls from our school popped up behind me laughing and said, ‘Okay, well you’re, like, a midget with an eating disorder so obviously you’re not going to find anything. Try the kid’s section!’
I thought my brain short-circuited. I was insulted, sure, but also very confused as to why she would respond as though I had addressed her. And where did she pop up from? And why would she go out of her way to make a rude comment to me when we didn’t really know each other? It just didn’t make sense, socially.
I started laughing and told her that, I did not have an eating disorder nor was I a ‘midget’. Also, I was very aware that I was small and thanked her so much for her helpful comment.
I really wanted to retort with a Sasquatch joke, but I refrained.”
“You Have The Wrong Person”
“In the 1980s, I was in a retail clothing store in Ketchikan, Alaska I used to frequent. As I was looking at different clothes and picking things out to try, the owner abruptly came over to me in a very angry stance. Then said the rudest thing that was ever said to me in a retail store by an owner. She loudly said, ‘The last time you were in my store you stole something. Get out of here now!”
I’m an honest person, so I was shocked she accused me of stealing an item the last time I had been in her store! I didn’t know what to say except ‘You have the wrong person,’ then I left the store.
This freaked me out so much that I actually went home and looked through my clothing to see if I had stolen the item described. I thought maybe I had gone insane and became a thief without memory of it. But the item was anywhere in my home. I didn’t steal.
Because of this incident, I stopped shopping in stores and started to catalog shop. Instead of doing an investigation and being non-accusatory, the owner of the store decided to confront and attack me for no good reason.
The shame of this event goes very deep — and the worst part is that I could not exonerate myself to the owner, I was judged guilty with no ability to defend myself.”
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Store Owner
“My friends and I were vacationing in Morocco. We were out sightseeing, and were invited into every store and restaurant we passed by over-zealous store owners and staff. They really tried everything to drive traffic into their store or to get you to peruse their stall.
Outside one store sat two women grinding up seeds to produce argan oils. An enthusiastic owner must have noticed us watching and pounced, coaxing us into his store. He was incredibly friendly and polite, so we stepped inside. We saw row upon row of glorious potions containing argan oil suitable for every indication imaginable.
The sales pitch was laid down thickly, and we were happy to make a purchase due to the effort gone into the show he had put on. No pricing tickets were apparent, so we asked the price of particular items. That was when the owner’s whole demeanor completely changed.
I may be ignorant as to what was considered rude behavior in this fascinating culture, but by no means were we rude (we certainly didn’t intend to be) when we asked about the price. We were interested and would have bought something if it had been within our budget.
The owner turned into Mr. Hyde before he’d even replied, and became hostile. He was getting angry when we passed on purchasing an item because it was priced extremely high (a tiny 10-milliliter bottle of argan oil was priced the equivalent of 25-pounds which led to him telling us to leave.
I ended up purchasing a small tube of hair serum (around 22- pounds) but the owner was abrupt even then. I felt I should have left but I was hoping the Dr. Jekyll side would reappear. (It didn’t!)
I still cannot explain why he behaved the way he did.”
A Happy Moment Turned Sour Real Quick
“My younger daughter was recently engaged, so I began the search for a gown for her wedding. My husband came with me to look in some stores that carried formal dresses and gowns when a sales lady came up to us. She asked me if I knew what I was looking for. I described to her different things I particularly liked in gowns and other things I knew I would not want.
She brought me many gowns to try. She didn’t seem to have some of the things I was looking for in a gown, but I was willing to try on many styles in the hopes I would be pleasantly surprised. She kept checking in with me and I told her so far, I didn’t find anything that I really loved. I found that most of the dresses were not very flattering.
Then, this salesperson said possibly the stupidest words I’ve ever heard come out of someone’s mouth. She seemed hesitant and she spoke in a very sweet voice.
She actually had the audacity to say, ‘I don’t know how you’d feel about this, but would you consider losing weight for your daughter’s wedding?’
I was in shock! Not only would this question have been inappropriate if I were a very large woman, but you don’t say a judgmental statement like this to any woman about her body. Ever!
My response to her was, ‘ABSOLUTELY NOT! I would never buy a gown in the hopes that I would lose weight, and there is nothing wrong with my weight. That was a really inappropriate thing to say!’
Working in a clothing store that sells formal wear, she should have known better than to say something so insulting to her customers. What positive outcome could she have had by saying something so inappropriate and rude? I couldn’t get out of that store fast enough, and I knew that I would never return there again.”
“Style And You Are Miles Apart”
“As a new girl in the city, I was everything that spelled misfit. Most of my teen years were spent in my dad’s hometown that happens to be a small town with lots and lots of dos and don’ts. Mumbai was as different as one can possibly imagine, and I had to evolve to be able to survive.
My college attire was simple. Salwar-kameez (Indian dress) was comfortable as well as something I knew. I didn’t own any western outfits. I didn’t feel the need for them either. However, an inter-college event necessitated owning a pair of denim. So I went to a store for some.
I was scared and nervous to indulge in the purchase all by myself, and requested my cousin to help me out. She would be my guide as well as moral support is what I thought. My hopes were dashed at the store though.
I selected a pair, changed into them, and called her near the changing room. She told me to come out as she apparently couldn’t see me properly. I innocently did as asked.
She said, ‘Oh Gosh! You’re looking weird. Like an oaf. You are a dehati, di (villager, sister). Style and you are miles apart.’
Her words and laughter are embedded somewhere in the recesses of my memory. The shock, pain, humiliation, and hurt are there too. But the latter is just a memory, without the power to hurt me. I have grown up and left the moment behind as inconsequential.
At that moment though, my tears were more than willing to come forth.
Then out of the blue, I heard, ‘You look wonderful bete (child).’
These words were spoken by an elderly lady, a fellow shopper who had accompanied her granddaughter for a similar shopping spree.
I was overwhelmed by the kind words. They became my anchor when I was drowning in the rude expressions of someone who I had trusted. Even if it was warranted, there was no need for my public humiliation.
I bought the garment. And wore it with complete confidence. The rude words I had encountered were offset by someone’s kindness and I chose to treat the incident as a trampoline. To rise above pettiness?”
This Soon-To-Be- Bride Had Enough
“At the time of my first engagement, I was in my early 20’s. My then-fiance was in Naval flight school. Per his wishes, we decided on the traditional US Naval Officer wedding, where he would wear his uniform and sword. Everything was going to be extremely formal.
I am very much a minimalist and wanted a dress that was very simple. So while he was away at flight training, I went to a bridal store with a friend to try on dresses. I found a beautiful dress that was perfect. It included long sleeves, ivory duchess silk satin, and a small chapel train. What I didn’t know was there was a long train that attached over the existing train, and my veil would be the same length as the train. It was beyond anything I could have imagined.
My friend also agreed how beautiful the dress would look in the church, coming down the steps under the swords. As I looked at myself in the three-way mirror, I heard the salesperson say, ‘We’re going to cut the train down to about two feet.’
My friend and I looked at her confused. I asked, ‘Why ever would I want to do that? The dress is perfect! I love it!’
She said, ‘You’re just too small to carry off a full-length veil and train.’
I thought to myself, ‘I’m only 5’3 and was petite. This was not anything at all like Lady Diana’s dress.’
That was the final straw I had with this salesperson. Before we even began looking at dressesm she asked what type of wedding it would be. I told her the wedding details and my fiancé was away temporarily at flight school but knew he would love my ideal dress on our wedding day.’
She replied, ‘That is if he even finishes flight school.’
I wasn’t going to tolerate any more of her unwelcomed comments, so my friend and I walked out of the bridal store.
I was in tears that I had to leave my dream dress behind. My friend encouraged me to look at other places. She insisted we go into this rinky-dink-looking bridal store in another area far away. I didn’t even want to go inside. I didn’t think they’d have anything I’d like but I went anyway.
My friend said, ‘Annie, this looks a lot like the dress you tried on at the other bridal store.’
I agreed, so I tried on the display dress. I was told it was no longer made and that this was a sample display that hardly anyone noticed as it was so plain. I tried it on in front of the mirrors and decided I’d have to settle as I wasn’t going back to that rude saleslady.
As I was getting ready to step out of the crinoline and dress, this new salesperson said, ‘Wait, there’s another piece. I will go and get it.’
It was that train still packaged! It was the same dress! As the salesperson attached it, she told me how pretty I was and called me, ‘Tiny little bride.’
She also told me how she thought this would be perfect for the type of wedding we planned. But the best part was since it was a display model and discontinued, it was much less expensive than the other store. I had gotten my dress after all.”
Shopping Day Gone Wrong
“I had taken my wife clothes shopping for her birthday, and we’d been in the store for over an hour. We would browse and pick stuff out and head to the changing room. The three salesladies on that morning were fine with me sitting on the giant round sofa outside the changing room doors while my wife tried things on, and then we decided which things went into the buy pile. One customer even commented to my wife she wished her husband was like me and helped her shop for clothes.
Then the store manager showed up while my wife was trying things on and she approached me.
She said, ‘Excuse me, sir? You can’t just hang out back here by the changing rooms. It makes some ladies uncomfortable.’
As she was saying this, one of the salesladies tried to interrupt and explain my wife was trying stuff on, but the manager cut her off saying she was handling this. So I tried to explain to her my wife was trying stuff on and she ignored me and asked me to leave the changing area.
When my wife came out again, she came over to me and I explained what was going on. One of the salesladies even came over and apologized for her boss’s behavior. My wife was not a happy camper as we headed to the register where the manager spent several minutes ringing up the clothes we had decided to buy.
The manager looked up into my wife’s angry face and that was when my wife ripped into her.
She said, ‘Thank you for trying to ruin a lovely birthday gift that my husband was kind enough to give me. Not only is he paying for all this but he happily helped me pick out and decide on everything we’re purchasing today. You can be sure that the email, letter and phone calls I make to your corporate office about your treatment of us will reflect positively on your sales associates but very negatively on you and your behavior. Hopefully, your superiors will see to it that you get the proper training in retail sales that you so obviously lack. You could learn a lot from your sales associates!’
When the manager tried to say something in her own defense, my wife cut her off saying, ‘Please don’t try to justify your ignorant actions. Just finish the sale before I change my mind about buying anything here.’
The manager wordlessly finished the sale and we left.”