Friday, August 19, 2011

Not all help is helping

I pass by a little boutique close to Piata Romana. The window catches my eye, so I decide to enter. I start browsing through the surprisingly large collection of dresses – they all have something out of the ordinary, in color, fabric or cut. There are smooth textures, ribbons, daring prints, glass buttons and whatnot, definitely not the usual mass market retailer putting out the same boring model in three different ugly shades. I am really starting to browse, screw the vow I made not to buy anything I don’t need this month, do I not deserve a little treat for all the hard work I do??, plus a woman can never have too many dresses, etc.

I stop for a second looking at one particular dress – do I like it? I don’t get to decide, a smiling lady (the manager? the owner?) approaches and solves my dilemma: ‘Oh, that one is beautiful, you should really try it on’. I’m actually bothered by the comment and her watching me so closely, my shopping flow has been brutally jammed. I’m sure she wants to be helpful, but she is not. I put on my shopping smile. ‘It is beautiful, I’m just not sure that it’s my style’. I leave that dress and move to the next section, my back turned to the shop lady, in what I hope to be a clear nonverbal way of saying ‘please leave me alone for a few minutes and let me enjoy this’. I am saddened to find out that body language is not all it’s said to be. She follows me like a Siamese twin and a minute later she is once again ecstatic about my potential choosing: ‘Oh, that one is beautiful, it would look great on you! Would you like to try it on?’ No, I wouldn’t, that cut is really unflattering for my figure. The shop lady continues to pay close attention to my every move, and adds mechanically, every minute or so, ‘Oh, that one is beautiful!’. I get it, she really likes the dresses in her store. I realize the lady doesn’t give a rat's ass about what fits me or what I like, she is saying that to every visitor, for every dress. I suddenly feel like a wallet with feet waiting to pop open, the dresses look kind of cheap to me now. I leave the store, but not before reassuring smilingly the disappointed woman that all the dresses in the store are really, really beautiful.

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