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Shopping in stores, feeling judged? Rant

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Old 07-06-2014, 10:22 AM   #1
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Red face Shopping in stores, feeling judged? Rant

So the last few days I went shopping. Huge sales, and I'm going on a vacation to Cuba with my husband in two weeks, and a lot of my cool weather clothes fit a 15-20 lbs lighter me. I found myself feeling very "judged" on Friday. I hate going to the mall anyway, because I usually don't find anything that fits. Ill look around, maybe see something cute, bring in 10 items and usually not even find 1 that I like on. I have a very curvy figure, so if I find something that fits my chest or my butt, it's usually very baggy on my waist, which makes me look bigger than I am (not going for that!)

Anyway, I felt by far the most judged at Banana Republic. The lady gave me this look that I really didn't appreciate (a why are you here look). Also, I was dressed for a day of walking around so I was wearing capris (that are way too big) a black tank and pink shirt on top, and my dansko emmy's (yay for comfy shoes!) So, I guess I didn't look like their normal shopper. The racks also didn't help. It went from tons on xxs, xs, small, and a couple mediums. I didn't see but maybe one or two larges in the whole store. And all those gorgeous dresses? Nothing higher than a 12 in most of them. I saw one 14. They didn't have a great line right now, so I went ahead and left after trying one dress, but I just really didn't appreciate her way of interacting with me. At least in other stores (like White House Black Market) they went out of their way to make me feel welcome and showed me different things, very friendly even though I didn't end up buying anything. I think for most of us, feeling like a leper shopping is a pretty common experience. I just feel like people look at me like I don't deserve to have pretty things, or at the very least, why would someone like you be shopping here? Even though I'm not at my ideal weight, I want to respect my body and have nice things to wear. I also would appreciate it if stores would carry clothes up to the average woman's size (which I think is 14/16?) and not automatically make most woman feel unwelcome by crowding their racks with sizes 0-6 which I haven't been even at my lowest weight.

I did manage to find a lot of great stuff at the Ann Taylor Loft outlet near where I live for a steal. I actually found a pair or size 16 pants that actually fit me well. shocking!

When I was on the phone with my friend sitting down a little girl walked past me and said "You look really pretty!" I appreciated that a lot considering the frustration of not fitting into a lot the last few days, so, I'm going to go with believing the little girl, and not the fashion industry.

For anyone who did get through that long thing, you have great patience! and thank you. Hope you all had a great 4th!
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:49 AM   #2
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\
I did manage to find a lot of great stuff at the Ann Taylor Loft outlet near where I live for a steal. I actually found a pair or size 16 pants that actually fit me well. shocking!

When I was on the phone with my friend sitting down a little girl walked past me and said "You look really pretty!" I appreciated that a lot considering the frustration of not fitting into a lot the last few days, so, I'm going to go with believing the little girl, and not the fashion industry.

For anyone who did get through that long thing, you have great patience! and thank you. Hope you all had a great 4th!
That little girl's comment would have made my year... it would be hard to take snarky looks from sales clerks too seriously after that.

Regardless of my size, I rarely find more than one or two items in any store that I want for myself. Even if the clothes fit me, they usually aren't flattering. Maybe my standards are too high, or maybe I just don't like current styles; I usually have more luck at thrift stores. I'm glad you were able to find nice outfits at some stores.

In any event, those clerks are being bad employees to make you feel unwelcome. I often go shopping for my daughter at stores that are a poor match for my age and sometimes I get looks. But my daughter is too busy to do a lot of shopping, so I often pick up basics for her and if I'm not welcome, they will miss out on a good customer.
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Old 07-06-2014, 01:24 PM   #3
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I'm not suggesting that anyone should hide and only shop on the computer, but I've actually come to enjoy online shopping at store like Kohl's and Macy's. There is a better selection of sizes and sometimes a better discount. Since you don't have to rely on a given store location, there is a lot better availability.

When Kohn's has one of their sales that includes Kohl's cash, if you didn't get the code for the 30% off in the mail, you can generally find the code online. A sale or clearance items with 30% off and then the Kohl's cash can be a bargain.

Sometimes I take a chance on items, but I can tell a lot from the picture, description and fabric content, I rely a lot on the reviews and references of how things fit.

If you stick with companies that have a store within a reasonable distance from you, you can return items that really aren't what you want. I've gotten a lot of items that I've purchased at deep discounts as inspiration outfits for shrinking into.

Don't let the sales people bother you. I just wouldn't shop at that store.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:10 AM   #4
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Don't give them the satisfaction. I give them the same look they give me. The question should be what are THEY doing there if they don't have any sense for customer service. Find a job in another field or treat people with respect.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:18 AM   #5
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There are any number of reasons the sales clerk was surly. She may have had a bad day, her boss may have yelled at her, she may have just gotten stood up for a date, she may have been mistreated by another customer etc. it is highly unlikely that your appearance is enough to have caused her to be rude to you. She may be like that with everyone. Considering the fact that you simply dot know why she acted like this it is absurd to place them blame on your weight.

When we are feeling vulnerable - as we often so while shopping - it's easy to ingest negative ideas. Out reaction is often defensive and angry "this store doesn't carry my size, therefore they think I'm fat and don't want me to shop here." It's an absurd negative thought that only manages to make you feel worse about how you look and feel in your own skin. Why take that on if its unecessary?

A long time ago when The Limited stopped carrying size 14 I took it personally. They don't want me in their store! Who knows what that was about but I'm willing to bet that it had more to do about their own bottom dollar than anything else... I know it wasn't a personal attack

When someone is angry, mean, rude or attacks in a personal manner I try to look past my own anger and try to find compassion for that person. After all their actions reveal more about them than they do about me. Just know that you did nothing wrong, you dot owe anyone an explanation of what you were wearing or what you were hoping to accomplish by walking into that store. Find stores that stay more stocked of your sizes like tjmaxx, kohls, Macy's and stay away from stores that continuously make you feel negative. For now.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:29 AM   #6
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There are any number of reasons the sales clerk was surly. She may have had a bad day, her boss may have yelled at her, she may have just gotten stood up for a date, she may have been mistreated by another customer etc. it is highly unlikely that your appearance is enough to have caused her to be rude to you. She may be like that with everyone. Considering the fact that you simply dot know why she acted like this it is absurd to place them blame on your weight.

When we are feeling vulnerable - as we often so while shopping - it's easy to ingest negative ideas. Out reaction is often defensive and angry "this store doesn't carry my size, therefore they think I'm fat and don't want me to shop here." It's an absurd negative thought that only manages to make you feel worse about how you look and feel in your own skin. Why take that on if its unecessary?

A long time ago when The Limited stopped carrying size 14 I took it personally. They don't want me in their store! Who knows what that was about but I'm willing to bet that it had more to do about their own bottom dollar than anything else... I know it wasn't a personal attack

When someone is angry, mean, rude or attacks in a personal manner I try to look past my own anger and try to find compassion for that person. After all their actions reveal more about them than they do about me. Just know that you did nothing wrong, you dot owe anyone an explanation of what you were wearing or what you were hoping to accomplish by walking into that store. Find stores that stay more stocked of your sizes like tjmaxx, kohls, Macy's and stay away from stores that continuously make you feel negative. For now.
You said exactly what I was going to say. I always try to remember the saying "We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do."
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:11 PM   #7
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I'm 6 foot one and a half inches. Even when I was skinny, I had to shop at specialty stores. My "healthy BMI" weight is 180. I can weight up to 165 and then go into the underweight category. 180 is a size 18 for me (33 to 34 inseam). 165 is still about size 14. So no matter what happens I will never see the inside of Dillards, The Limited or many other stores because I would have to get to the size (including height) that I was at 12 years old just to buy their larger sizes.

I guess I am saying this to say that a lot of the people (Men for instance) are going to "big and large" stores not because they are overweight, but because that is their size. I feel sad that many stores only sell to petite tiny women. I'd like to get some of those nice styles too. But there are some great plus stores (plus and tall for me) that I can go to now and continue to go to even when I have lost all the weight I need to lose.

And I totally agree. I do not even go into those stores because I know I will not find anything there and I will feel bad. Even at my skinniest, I would probably never find anything in there, so I go to the stores I know have the things I want in the sizes I need.

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Old 07-07-2014, 12:47 PM   #8
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Most of the judgement I have "experienced" similar to what claygirl mentioned has all been in my head. I project my insecurities and think that a salesperson is staring at me with distaste, when in reality I doubt that was the case. Claygirl, I can't say that was true for you, but just sharing my own realization.

I know it is frustrating to want to wear a certain brand of clothing and have your size not be available. We can moan about it but there's not much else we can do. Sure, for many of these stores it is about image, but it is also about cost. Once you get to a size 14+, the cuts of clothing vary a lot and require a much bigger expense because you can't just use the same pattern changed for sizing (in fact, we should be thankful when stores actually recognize our bigger bodies require a different cut!). I also highly doubt they have tons of certain sizes in the store because they want to make anyone feel bad They get a certain number of each size based on what sells best. I worked at Kohl's for about a year and thought it was so interesting - every time we got a shipment, it was the same thing...very few XS, some smalls, LOTS of mediums, lots of larges, few XLs.

Claygirl, it seems that girl gave you a compliment at the most perfect time. You must have felt like a million bucks! I love compliments from kids. They feel more honest
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:26 PM   #9
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You are all so right! Ive had some time to get my head on straight, and I know the likelihood of her attitude being about me is low. I agree that I think this is more about me and my feelings of insecurity. I just hate shopping when i'm overweight because I feel like every thing I try that doesn't fit attacks my self worth somehow. Again, that's something I'm working on because I know that attitude will continue no matter how thin I get if I let it affect me. I have found that this "weight loss" journey is much more of a loving and respecting myself journey. My mind has to be in gear to be successful first, not just my body. The little girl really did come by at just the right time. I love how honest and sweet children are. It helped to get me out of the funk I was in at the moment.

Thank you all for your responses!
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:07 PM   #10
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You are all so right! Ive had some time to get my head on straight, and I know the likelihood of her attitude being about me is low. I agree that I think this is more about me and my feelings of insecurity. I just hate shopping when i'm overweight because I feel like every thing I try that doesn't fit attacks my self worth somehow. Again, that's something I'm working on because I know that attitude will continue no matter how thin I get if I let it affect me. I have found that this "weight loss" journey is much more of a loving and respecting myself journey. My mind has to be in gear to be successful first, not just my body. The little girl really did come by at just the right time. I love how honest and sweet children are. It helped to get me out of the funk I was in at the moment.

Thank you all for your responses!
You have a good head on your shoulders . Self love, self acceptance and self compassion luckily come in all our sizes. Love yourself now, it will stick with you through your weightloss. Don't wait until the number reflects a number you have fixated on because that number does not guarantee self acceptance. If that was even true then thin people wouldn't have low self esteem or divorce or attitude problems merely because of how much they weigh.
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Old 07-08-2014, 05:56 AM   #11
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As a ten year survivor of working retail. I can tell you that 90% of clerks aren't judging you (except maybe Abercrombie and Fitch who hire horrible people like that and then encourage them to behave rudely to people who don't fit their image.)

At Macy's typically we give looks when we were hoping that we would have break from customers and then one walks in. YOU were probably just walking and that annoyed them! haha
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:40 PM   #12
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You know, she might have been miffed at store management because you were not a size 00, 0, or 2 and she knew it was pretty likely with the limited stock in the store there wasn't much of a chance she'd sell you anything (and thereby not contribute to her sales quota).

She may have been a snob and thought you looked too poor to afford BR clothes.

Who knows what she was thinking and frankly, it really doesn't matter because there was nothing in that particular store for you anyway. I wouldn't give it another thought.

P.S., I always really liked the clothes at AT Loft, but I find the salespeople at my local one hover too much. Maybe they think I will try to steal some clothes by shoving them down my pants. [See how silly it sounds from someone else?]
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Old 07-08-2014, 07:12 PM   #13
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I worked in retail - Kohl's and The Gap/Old Navy - during high school in the summer and all through college, and I can promise you, the clerks aren't judging you! I was a horrible assistant (I do not belong in retail, haha), but even I was most concerned with making sure you found a) whatever you needed, b) in a size that fits and c) in a style that made you look and feel fabulous. Nothing made our day like a woman coming in who declared herself to fat/ugly/whatever, only to leave realizing she was the beautiful person everyone else saw her as!

There were plenty of times where I was having a bad day, dealing with relationship problems, crazy family issues, schoolwork and an ******* boss, and it likely came through as judgmental and uncaring to some customers. But I never, in all my years of retail, thought a customer didn't belong or deserve to be there. No customer sticks out in my mind for being overweight; the ones that I can still remember, years later, are the entitled, bratty ones who thought they were the hottest thing to ever grace our presence. Those were the customers we silently made fun of.

Besides, children are notorious for speaking the truth, because they haven't learned to filter themselves yet. So if that little girl saw how beautiful you are, I guarantee everyone else around you did, too
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:42 PM   #14
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I totally get that shopping "can" suck.

But it does not have to.

Even though it seems like it mostly does.

First, know what you are looking for.

Second, don't be afraid to step out of your normal comfort zone.

Third, take some whacky friends/relatives with you!

I've ended up with some amazing outfits, that I would have never chosen, if I would not have taken my crazy sisters with me, and went out of my comfort zone!

And it ended up being FUN!

Plus, the more fun you make it, the more the "help" gets into it. Seriously, they need some fun to.
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Old 07-28-2014, 08:15 PM   #15
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Living in Brazil can be hard for people that are obese (like me). It's not common at all to find bigger sizes. I sometimes get the "we don't have your size" look and i feel some people are judgemental. Lately it's gotten easier to shop because many stores miraculously found out that they were missing a huge amount of clients by not ofering bigger sizes. I know it's kinda sad but i tend to buy a lot of shoes and jewelry to make up for the hard time i have buying clothes! Lol....
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