Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We Apologize for the Convenience: adventures in customer service

  Welcome back to the retail-related section of this blog!
   Due to an outstanding amount (see: two) of requests for a post on this topic, today's lesson will be: Dressing for Success or, How to Not Make People Cringe.

   - On a completely unrelated note, I now have enough followers that you don't all fit in the box! They had to put a "more" button in! How freakin elated am I? Outlandishly. Thank you so much!

 Back to business: It has been brought to my attention (mostly against my will and at the expense of my innocence) that many people (ie: roughly 75% of the population) are unaware of the unspoken dress codes that should, but apparently do not, come naturally to anyone who is visiting a retail location.* Because of this I have put together a list of guidelines addressing dress-code violations that I have personally witnessed.

   *I also have a complete list of guidelines for dressing in private, because even though others don't have to look at you, you're bound to catch glimpses of yourself in a mirror and I know that can have a severe effect on one's psyche. However for the sake of taking things one step at a time we'll stick to public appearances for now.

      To answer the first question that I'm sure just popped into your head: "But what's public? How do I know when these rules should be followed?" 
   If you are ever unsure if you are in a situation where these rules should be utilized, stop and answer these qualifying questions:

               - Are you shopping for anything at all?
                          -If not, are you somewhere where things (ie: food, clothing, a new shower-head) are meant to be purchased?
              - Are you inside a building that is not your house?
                - Can you see other people?
                           -If no, take a few steps to your left, re-evaluate.

             - Can other people see you?
                           - note: this also includes hypothetical people, ie: if a person were to walk down this aisle or come around that corner to your right, would they catch an unfortunate glimpse of something on your body?

               - Are there any electronic devices in the area that could capture your image?
                        - ie: security cameras, video recorders, cell phones

    If you answered yes to any of these questions you are in a public location, most commonly a store.

  "So the second I walk out of my house I'm in public? That's a lot of the time!"

     It certainly is, imaginary person hanging on my every word, which is why it's especially important to understand social and cultural expectations concerning clothing whilst fondling peaches at the grocery store. Let's start with the basics. I hope to go more in-depth in the future, but there is so much to cover and I don't want it to take you an hour to read one post.

         - Underwear
                - Must be worn at all times by all individuals.
                -Absolutely no exceptions ever.

            - Bras
                - Bras are not meant to be optional. It is not a necklace. I don't care what your magazine told you, regardless of the size, shape, or elasticity of the parts in question, you cannot just opt out of this garment. If Jennifer Aniston couldn't pull it off neither can you. Here are the only instances in which it is okay to not wear a bra:
            -If you are a man.
            - See: above.

 "But Baylee, what about when I'm out shopping and want to wear my formal backless ball gown?"
     Remember that swimsuit modeling scene in Miss Congeniality? I don't care if you have to paste, tape, and put together a pulley system, there should be no nippleage ever under any circumstances. Just because someone showed theirs at a movie premier once does not make it okay.

            Fact: Memory foam makes an excellent mattress topper but makes and even better bra-liner. 

            - Nipples make all people uncomfortable. They make men awkward, women self-conscious, and children curious. All of these things lead to bad places.

         Additional notes on undergarments: While these are required at all times, they should also be hidden at all times. I'm speaking to you, robust 60 year-old lady wearing a mesh top with a hot pink bra underneath- That was cool for three days in 1987 on girls between the ages of 18 and 24 and was still trashy. 
    Moving onward and outward:

         - Shirts
               - Shirts come in a variety of shapes and sizes! Remember this when you put on a shirt and things that are not your arms are coming out of the top, bottom, or sides.
               - A little cleavage now and then is alright. Cleavage does not include the underside of your breast, the side of your breast, or the entire top half of your breasts.
              - That flap of skin between your breasts that wasn't there in your twenty's is a result of aging- that's nothing to be embarrassed about- but should also NEVER BE SEEN.
               - Happy Bunny* shirts are not okay for everyone. Here is a list of people who can wear Happy Bunny shirts in public:
                   -Socially awkward teenage girls.
                  - Socially awkward gay teens.
                  - Effeminate emo kids (see: closeted gays)**

                                *If you don't know what a Happy Bunny shirt is, be content with the knowledge that you probably don't have one.
                                                ** These three groups of people have distressingly similar wardrobes. We can only watch them attempt to mature and hope they grow out of it. And if your kid is gay, take him to Express not Hot Topic. Hot Topic is a minefield for homosexual people, male or female.
          - Shirts should never be see-through unless you are wearing another shirt underneath. I don't care if the mannequin was wearing it like that.
              - Mesh shirts were designed by the devil. If you ever wear one, regardless of your age, weight, gender, or job, you will be sent to the seventh circle of hell, which is actually surprisingly frigid, and you get to wear the mesh top. The upside is you will get to hang with a lot of washed-up 80's rockstars!
                - There should never be words on your butt. I am well aware of the plethora of sweatpants available with words such as "juicy" or "sexy" plastered across what is for most of us not our most attractive body part. This is a travesty, but I'm going to tell you the hard truth: Just because it exists doesn't make it okay.
                 -Avoid displaying crevasses of any kind.
                - It is not okay for anything so be hanging out of the bottom of your shorts/skirt that is not your legs. There is a very distinct line between your butt and thigh.  In the event that you have trouble finding this line I have provided this handy diagram:

    I have much more to say about bottoms in general. Another time perhaps, for now lets move on to:
                      - Like undergarments, shoes are not optional while shopping. 
                      - Sandals should only be worn by people with normal feet. If you are unsure if you have normal feet, ask anyone that is not your mother. They have most likely been trying to find away to tell you anyway and giving them an excuse to point out your fungus, or you horrendously long yellow toenail, will lift a burden from their shoulders.
                                          - In the event that your feet are not normal for biological reasons (say, an extra toe) get a second opinion.

                      - Crocs are wrong.This is not opinion, this is fact. There is also a circle or hell for croc wearers, and they only serve boiled Croc there. Not the animal, the shoe- because ya, everyone knows they're freaking edible. So is cardboard, but you don't see me wearing the box my toaster-oven came in as a pair of shorts do you?*
                              *The only edible thing that should ever be worn are candy necklaces.** Those are cool unless you are a man over the age of 25 in which case it makes you look like a pedophile.
                                           ** Ring-pops are tricky. Good rule to go by- if it doesn't fit on your finger you are probably too old.

             - Accessories
                     - Animals are not an accessory. Many people seem to confuse live creatures with jewelry so I'll be more specific.
                                - Just because that dog fits in your purse doesn't mean it should.
                                - The python draped around your shoulders makes other people uncomfortable and has a habit of trying to consume small children while you are tinkering with the blender display.
                                - When the parrot on your shoulder causes someone to have an allergic reaction or poops on a 400 dollar duvet cover, no one is going to care that he can apologize.
                                - Rodents are meant to be in cages, not hanging out in your shirt pocket while you browse for toilet-seat covers. When it hops out and gets stepped on, no one is going to mourn but you, and the employee who has to scrape it off the floor will not give it a proper burial. Your beloved pet will get to reenact the trash compactor scene from Star Wars.

               - Make-up is not an anything goes area. For example: Bubblegum-pink lipstick is not acceptable for everyone, and yet I have seen it on more middle-aged women than I can count. Here is a list of when it is okay to wear this shade of lipstick:
                                        - If you are a 12 year-old girl.
   I know there is so much more to discuss concerning dressing in public. Frankly it is a bottomless pit of denim and velour related tragedies. Crimes are being committed against humanity every day by large women wielding be-dazzlers. I intend to cover each and every one of these calamities in due time. For now please take these very basic guidelines and try to follow them, for everyone else's sake.



  1. There is so much amazingness in this post I don't know where to start. Also, nice butt/leg diagram. It clarified a lot of things that I've been wondering about...

  2. I just posted a list of things I hate to see people wear to Mass over on my blog. There are more overlaps than one might think. It makes the Baby Jesus cry. :)

  3. I also feel compelled to tell you that the "captcha" I had to type in to post that was VAMPR.

  4. This is my favorite part:

    "It certainly is, imaginary person hanging on my every word"

  5. Paige: I understand your compulsion.

  6. One time I was working in a grocery store on the ONLY day it snowed in TN when girl came in, over tanned, wearing short VS shorts with PINK across her a**, a tank top that accentuated her over-achieving bra, and Uggs. I had to simultaneously fight the urge to throw up and smack every guy that was gawking at her silk-screened rear.