It's been a long time since I've written about the myriad of weirdos who come into my store, and I felt, after yesterday's customer-service melee, that there was no way I could deny you any longer. So without further ado, allow me to profile several of my strangest shoppers, and please let me know if you can make any more sense of them than I've been able to:
Customer Profile One: The Self-Proclaimed Expert
This customer can be male or female, but in my case, is a youngish, dark-haired male. He comes in every once in a while, usually with a female companion (never the same one thus far) and although my boutique is (and always has been) exclusively a WOMEN'S shop, he likes to take a careful inventory of my selection anyway.
Self-Proclaimed Expert, looking at a rack of jeans: Ohh, these are NICE. We carry a spin-off of this brand. You know, at the Buckle. That's where I work. (ed note: he has told me that he works at the Buckle about a million times)
Me: Yeah. That's a good denim line for us.
SPE: The thing to remember is that you have to have at least one line for all the high-school chicks who want nothing but skin-tight jeans, and another line for your new mommy types who haven't exactly gotten their thang back, you know?
Me: Their thang?
SPE: Yeah, I know! Haha! Oh wow, look at this strapless number, now this one's not for the small-breasted girls, is it?
Me: Um! Actually - see that smocking in the back? That kind of -
SPE, interrupting me: Oh, so that pulls it tighter, I get it. I mean, I just didn't SEE that before, because if I would've seen the smocking, I'd have known it would work no matter what size boobs you've got. See, I help the girl customers at the Buckle, where I work...you know, I sort of made it a personal challenge, to see if I could help the girls...and now I totally rock it, so I keep helping 'em. But the thing you have to remember is that if you let some chick with little boobs in the dressing room, and she's got all this stuff that only looks good on the chicks with BIG boobs, well, she's gonna get depressed.
SPE: Let me ask you something: this dress, it's like, $400. And I can TOTALLY tell why, I mean, it's obviously very high quality and well-made. I mean, it seems durable.
Me, looking at the airy silk and chiffon dress that would probably snag on a splinter and hanging around to hear what his question is: Durable, yes...
SPE, glancing at me sideways and looking annoyed that I am still standing there: Okay, yes, thank you.
In case it doesn't come through in written format, the "thank you" at the end is a very clear dismissal ("yes, you can go now"), that, while certainly not the RUDEST thing a customer could do, is a personal pet peeve of mine on par with snapping your fingers at a waiter.
Customer Profile Two: The Customer Who Hates You And Your Store
This customer is nearly always female, because most men don't have the talent of maintaining an unreasonable emotional stance for long periods of time. She can be any age, but will most likely be on the older side. In my case, the CWHYAYS is stereotypical: a female in or around her 50's, hell-bent on letting me and my employees know that she DOES NOT LIKE US.
CWHYAYS, entering the store with a disgruntled look: Sigh.
Me: Hi, how are you? Can I help you find anything?
CWHYAYS: NO. I'm just looking, but I don't even know why I bother. There's never anything in here that fits my taste.
Me: Okay... we just got in a shipment of jewelry, and it's all there on the front table. We also got some new purses, and the most recent tops are at that rack right near the door; they've been selling really well.
CWHYAYS: Well, I can't imagine who is buying them, unless it's all young girls. I've told you I don't like to show my arms, but you don't have anything in here with sleeves. (ed note: it's September, and I think I MIGHT have one rack that still has sleeveless/tanks. Everything else in the entire store has sleeves)
Me, still laboring under the delusion that if I show her tops with sleeves, she'll see that we do, in fact, have them: Oh, okay, with sleeves...we have some really nice blouses right here that we just got in, and over on this rack are some wraps that are very versatile, you can tie them in front, or just let them hang loose, or even -
CWHYAYS, interrupting: No, no, no. I don't wear wrappy things like that. They aren't flattering at all. Sigh. Do you have any capris?
Me: Just the denim ones you see right there.
CWHYAYS: I obviously meant khaki capris; where would I ever wear denim pants like that? I work for a law firm!
Me: Sorry, it looks like we're striking out today.
CWHYAYS, grabbing a skin-tight pencil skirt that she would NEVER wear and one of the three sleeveless tops in the store: I guess I'll put a few things on hold, then.
Me, internally: WHY?????? YOU CLEARLY HATE IT ALL! Now I won't be able to sell it to anyone else and we'll end up putting it back out after the two-day hold period only to have you come back in and get mad at us for not keeping it back for you.
Me, externally: Sure, just let me get a hang-tag for you.
Customer Profile Three: The Insane Neurosurgery Patient
While I'll be the first to admit that not everyone will have this specific type of customer (but of course we do! lucky me!)*, I would feel remiss if I didn't briefly touch on what can easily be a very complicated situation. This customer has a tentative grasp on reality, and you'll find that it's extremely difficult to differentiate between what is fact and what is fiction with the INP. The customer will often request special favors from you, and, even when you kindly say no, you'll find that the very next day the customer is back, expecting you to deliver on the very favor you declined.
Insane Neurosurgery Patient: Wow, this dress is amazing. Is it on sale?
Me: No, we just got it in five minutes ago. In fact, that's why it's still in a box. You'll notice the box there, the one you just pulled the dress out of?
INP: Can I try it on?
Me: Well, it's not steamed, but I guess you can...
INP, modeling dress that is FAR too small in the top: My, my, my, this is a saucy little number! Do you think I could just wear a black bra with this?
Me, gaping at the enormous amount of cleavage shown in what was formerly a demure wrap dress: Um, well, I'd probably put a cami or something underneath that, just to...you know...Cover?
INP: Is it on sale?
Me: Well, no, I mean - remember how I just got it in? It hasn't even gone out on the floor yet.
INP: Okay, okay. I just love it though; I may have to get it either way, sale or not! (ed note: she never buys anything that isn't on sale, so this will never happen) By the way, have you thought any more about that candle party I want you to do here?
Me, holding brochure for candles INP is hawking: Yes, and I'd love to do it (ed note: LIE) but as I mentioned to you last time, I'm not allowed to sell tax-free items in this retail space according to my Texas State Resale License.
INP: Oh, those bastards, they'd never catch you! Haha! You should just do it to spite 'em! Did I tell you what they did to me when I fell in that hallway and had to have brain surgery?
Me, wondering what the Texas Comptroller's office could possibly have to say about that: I'll be right back, I need to start a dressing room for that customer over there.
INP, whispering conspiratorially to my employee at the cash register: I just love this dress, can you ring it up really quick? Elise said she'll give me half off.
Employee: She did? Are you sure? We just got this dress in...it's not even priced, actually. Let me ask her.
INP: Don't do that! Haha! I'm just kidding. I mean, a girl's gotta try, right?
Employee, grimacing: Yeah, uh huh.
*Before you think I'm a horrible person, heartlessly making fun of someone with a legitimate medical condition, let me explain that A) we aren't even sure if she's actually had brain surgery or if she's making it up and B) she talks ALL THE TIME about how she wants another surgery of ANY type so that she can continue to receive her disability checks. And she's even gone as far as to ask MY advice on what type of surgery "looks best for that type of thing". You know, because as a boutique owner I'd be qualified to dispense surgical advice on how to screw the system.