A reader from Illinois wrote to suggest a retail subject that strikes fear in the hearts of every female who ever shopped for clothes: dressing rooms.
Oh the dread. Oh the humiliation. Oh the disappointment.
Ask any woman what she hates about dressing rooms, and here is what she will tell you:
The lighting is worse than horrible. Every blemish and dimple on your body shows up in garish realism. Rather than prompt you to buy the outfit you are considering, fitting room lighting causes you to want to go home, put on your frumpiest, biggest, sloppiest sweat pants and never leave home again.
There’s no place to put anything. Either you must wad up the clothes you came in wearing and toss them on the floor so that the clothes you are trying on may be hung on the one inadequate hook provided, or you can throw the clothes you are considering on the floor (which is always nasty) and hang up your own clothes. Frequently, the hook is about to fall off the wall anyway, so it doesn’t matter which option you choose because everything probably will end up on the floor no matter what you do.
There is no one to help you. Younger readers will doubt this, but there was a time — in my growing up years — when you went into a dressing room, and very shortly a friendly clerk would appear to ask if you needed a different size or if she could get some of the items your were rejecting out of your way. Sometimes this helpful person would show you how to add an accessory to the outfit you were trying on to make it look fabulous. Sometimes she would bring you outfits you had missed as you browsed through the rack, or she would bring something from the back room that hadn’t yet made it to the front of the store. Amazing but true.
Nowadays, of course, you have to promise your first-born child if you dare to take more than three items into a dressing room at one time. If you would like to try on, say, 10 items, then you must re-dress every time you want to go return three rejects and replace them with three more items.
Oh, and heaven forbid if you return to the unfriendly dressing room policewoman without the large plastic number she gave you as you went in balancing your pocketbook on one shoulder, your three allowed items on that arm and the 15 items that you must leave with the dressing room police because they are not allowed to go into the dressing room with you. If dirty looks could haul you into the pokey, then I would have been there many times.
I have only just begun here, but you get the point. Dressing rooms are deterrents to buying clothes.