It's that time of year that most of my gender is eager to shop for their summer wardrobe. I seem to be one of
the few that is reluctant to get out and revamp my winter duds with lighter, brighter, funner (yes, I realize that isn't a real word) summer duds. I hate shopping in general but I especially hate "hunting for bargains". Oh, don't get me wrong. It's not the saving money part, I detest. I love saving money. It's the fact that the stores that seem to offer the deepest discounts, also offer the greatest measure of security. It's more like dealing with the TSA than a retailer. The big difference, of course, is the pat-down would be on the WAY OUT not the way in.
Thought Number One: As a Consumer, You're Not Making Me Feel Welcome
I understand the stores have to protect themselves from all the sticky-fingered shoplifter that walk off with millions of dollars worth of goods for the shear sport of it. It is hard to explain why people like Lindsay Lohan feels the need to snag merchandise on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that leaves the honest shoppers under heightened security as well.
The very worst, in my opinion, was Loehmanns. Back in the 1980's when there were 77 Loehmanns and I was way more more "game-on" to fight the fight for a bargain, I would occasionally make my way into their stores to secure an unbelievable bargain. Usually this required me to also, fight my way into their communal dressing room.
Yes...COMMUNAL...one big room with a few mirrors and a throng of women throwing heaps of clothing around while in various stages of undress. Meanwhile there were store employees that looked very much like the lady in the title picture picture that glared at you to make sure you understood that they were keeping tabs on you. Seemingly, those that loved Loehmanns spun this as camaraderie. The perfect place to get honest opinions as to the age-old question. "Does this make my ass look big?" I always went with the attitude that perhaps a total stranger with her butt squished up to mine, is just wanting me to buy the "whatever had captured my eye" and get out of her way. I, for one, think that probably a number of women that shopped there, went on to have horrific body image issues.
|Trying on swimsuits at Loehmann's never goes well.|
As for Loehmann's atmosphere of "we don't like our customers as much as we love their money," the problem, as far as I am concerned, took care of itself. There are no stores left in the middle of the country, thereby negating the possibility of me going in search of a deep-discount during a temporary lapse in my sanity. There are less than 12 in the U.S. I am not sure if they are anywhere else in the world as their corporate office is in Dubai.
While, I am picking on Loehmanns as being an extreme example of a company's quest to keep tabs on their goods walking out the door, there are still plenty of examples of stores security methods that leave one feeling like they should offer to take a polygraph on the way out.
I am OK with the metal detectors, and the detectors that scan for the infamous electronic tracker that has permanently poked a hole in your new garment...right up until the point the alarm sounds because the clerk missed removing one. I try to remain polite but internally, I am not happy.
I am mildly comfortable with all the security cameras around the perimeter of the store. I am not a fan of the security cameras in the dressing rooms. Don't let any one tell you we are all made alike. We aren't and I know this because I have shopped at Loehmanns.
Another practice that leaves me cold is when the clerk takes my cash, marks it with a marker and proceeds to hold it up to the light. I always go with the assumption my money is good and I would like them to go with that assumption as well...or at least until they get me checked out.
Thought Number Two: By All Means...Stop Me
The reason, I even got on this subject was that yesterday at the gym, one of the woman had read an article in the local paper about a shoplifter being found that had walked out of the store with her Easter ham between her legs. The gym group was debating how one walks with a ham in such a precarious position. Evidently that person didn't have it down to a science as they did get caught. However, my husband worked in retail a number of years and has told TONS of stories of tricky thieves that have walked out with goods in the most astonishing places. Some get caught... but knowing that billions of dollars of goods are missing from retail stores each year should make me more sympathetic.
Or not...depending if an alarm is sounding because the anti-theft device was overlooked. OR the ham fell...just kidding!!!
|There may or may not be a ham leaving the store right now.|
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