Grody to the Maxx

October 9, 2008 at 10:37 am 11 comments

Remember that phrase? If you’re near my age, you probably uttered it sometime in 2nd grade, right before pretending to stick your finger down your throat. The 80s were a strange time.

Anyway.

I tried to go shopping last night for some clothes to accommodate the gestational spread I’ve got going on here – “tried” being the operative word. Pregnancy is making my proportions even wackier than they usually are, and I spent about 3 hours of my evening in dressing rooms thinking, “Sure, they kind of fit NOW, but what about in two weeks at 3pm after a day of inhaling string cheese and wheat thins?! WHAT THEN?!”

I’m just not quite ready to make the jump to maternity clothing. First of all, I’m having a hard time justifying buying any when I can still fit into (and hide behind) regular clothes, especially with the roomier styles these days. Secondly, my sister (who’s due December 1) took one for the team and bought a small collection of really nice maternity clothes that she’s going to turn over to me once she’s through with them. I’m totally excited about that; my sister has always had really nice taste in clothes and doesn’t suffer from the crippling “I’d rather buy something cheap for $20 that only lasts 5 months than put $50 into something of higher quality that will last for years” disease that has plagued me my entire life.

Translation: I AM CHEAP.

I’m thinking of hitting up some thrift stores around town when I’ve got some more time, but last night I decided to spend a few hours at my old stand-bys: TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I always find stuff there, no matter what I’m looking for, and the prices are usually friendly enough that I don’t spend the next several hours lashing myself with a cat-o-nine-tails over the guilt.

Self-flagellation: hurts so good!

Last night, however, was a challenge. I tried to pick tops with empire waists & generous cuts, but the problem there is that I have kind of small shoulders and a small chest (although right now, at a solid B-cup, they feel HUGE to me, which is pathetic), so mostly everything I picked in that style ended up looking kind of…

…like this.

But when I tried to go for something a little more form-fitting, I ended up looking kind of…

…like this.

I’m showing a little bit now, but it’s the kind of showing that could be easily achieved by shoving a nearly-flat 20-year-old throw pillow up one’s shirt. Which is to say: just kind of lumpy.

Pregnancy, you sure know how to make a girl feel pretty!

Clothing issues aside, the most interesting part of my evening was BY FAR the incredibly defensive fitting room attendant at TJ Maxx. You know how on TV (and in real life, I imagine), when there’s some medical emergency scene being played out, and the freaked out family members of the victim are going apeshit and getting in the doctors’ and nurses’ way and making it very hard for them to do their job? And eventually, one of the nurses says, “YOU CANNOT BE IN HERE RIGHT NOW, MA’AM, SO STEP ASIDE AND LET US DO OUR JOBS BECAUSE WE ARE PROFESSIONALS,” in the snippiest tone imaginable? That’s what this fitting room attendant was like. She was territorial. She was defensive. She was TRYING TO DO A JOB HERE, dammit, and she was not about to take any of my crap.

I need four pants hangers – STAT!

On my first trip to the fitting room, I noticed that I had 9 items instead of 8, which meant I’d have to leave something behind. No big deal, but I wanted to ask where I could leave the extra item so that it would still be there when I came out. The exchange went as follows:

ME: Hi. I have one too many here, can I just leave the…

HER: PUT THE CLOTHES UP ON THE RACK SO I CAN COUNT THEM, MA’AM.

ME: Oh, OK…(puts them up on rack).

HER: I NEED TO COUNT THEM, MA’AM.

ME: Uh…(confused all to fuck, because the clothes are now fully on the rack, ready and willing to be counted)

HER: YOU HAVE 9 ITEMS, MA’AM. YOU CAN ONLY TAKE 8.

ME: OK, is there somewhere I can leave the extra one so…

HER: YOU CAN JUST TAKE THEM ALL IN, MA’AM.

ME: (thinking this is a trap). Oh. Thanks?

So I tried on all 9 items, slightly unnerved by that bizarre little exchange, but I soon became preoccupied with my squishy belly. After determining that none of the clothes would be going home with me (except one really awesome long black sweater that I totally didn’t need because I have approximately 48,983 black sweaters), I went back out to face Mein Attendant.

ME: (Still on my way from the dressing room to her station.)

HER: JUST GIVE THOSE TO ME, MA’AM.

ME: OK. (Gives them to her.)

HER: I’LL TAKE THESE.

ME: …?

Why? Why so defensive? She already had the clothes! I didn’t hesitate, I handed them right over! Why is this poor woman so convinced I am trying to come between her and her job?

The second time I went into the dressing room was EVEN BETTER, if you can imagine:

ME: (Approaches dressing room silently, trying my best not to offend. Puts clothes on rack without needing to be told.)

HER: JUST PUT THEM ON THE RACK SO I CAN COUNT THEM, MA’AM.

ME: (Internally: WHAT THE FUCK?! THAT’S WHAT I’M FUCKING DOING! Externally:) OK.

(Then – horror of horrors! My sleeve got caught on one of the hangers, so I had to take a moment to untangle myself, meaning that MY HANDS WERE NEAR THE CLOTHES for about two milliseconds longer than planned. You can imagine how well this went over.)

HER: (Incredibly offended) LET ME COUNT THE CLOTHES, MA’AM!

ME: (Frees sleeve, gives up trying to please this woman.)

Having been thoroughly scolded by the attendant for clearly overstepping my boundaries (the nerve!), I went back to try on the second round of ill-fitting clothes. That’s when I got to overhear a GEM of a conversation between her and someone she knew who happened to be in the store:

HER: How are you doing? How’s your sister?

CUSTOMER: She’s great. Her little girl is going through the terrible twos now.

HER: How old is her little girl?

CUSTOMER: Uh…two?

HER: Well, tell her she needs to come in here. I haven’t seen her in forever.

CUSTOMER: Oh, she comes in here all the time.

HER: NO SHE DOESN’T. I NEVER SEE HER.

CUSTOMER: Uh…well, she was just in here the other day.

HER: NO SHE WASN’T. I HAVEN’T SEEN HER IN AT LEAST TWO YEARS.

CUSTOMER: (laughing nervously) Wellllll…are you sure? Because I know she comes here…

HER: NO. SHE HAS NOT BEEN IN HERE FOR TWO YEARS.

CUSTOMER: (Giving up, like so many before her) OK, then. I’ll tell her to stop by.

Wow. I mean…wow. Can you imagine working with this woman? Or being in a relationship with this woman? Or being this woman’s child? Damn! I am not at all lying when I say that I left for Marshall’s right after my second trip to the fitting room, my spirit broken, because really, it wasn’t worth the struggle.

Hear that, TJ Maxx? Your fitting room Nazi is turning your customers away! To Marshall’s! Another store that…you own. Nevermind.

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Entry filed under: Gobble-gobble.

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kdiddy  |  October 9, 2008 at 10:51 am

    I hear Gabriel Bros. is THE place for maternity duds. I didn’t really do maternity clothes. I was knocked up before Target started carrying that cute Liz Lange line so I just bought two pairs of jeans and a few shirts from JC Penney and then supplemented that with my husband’s clothing.

    Pregnancy: I win!

    Reply
  • 2. DiaryofWhy  |  October 9, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Yes, I’ve noticed that the fitting room attendant position at places like T.J. Maxx and Filene’s Basement, etc. tend to be reserved for a special sort of people. She sounds special-er than most. They probably stuck her back there to keep her away from the cash registers. Can you imagine? JUST GIVE ME THE MONEY, MA’AM.

    Eek!

    Reply
  • 3. jiveturkey  |  October 9, 2008 at 11:04 am

    kdiddy: I am a long-time Gabriel’s shopper. I don’t get there too often (and I have to make sure I have at least 2 hours to devote to the experience), but the one on McKnight Rd. is pretty sweet. I will definitely check it out. And yes, I think you definitely win pregnancy.

    DiaryofWhy: I bet she was totally demoted from the cash registers. I can only imagine how she deals with someone who is ACTUALLY trying to challenge her authority.

    Reply
  • 4. kristin  |  October 9, 2008 at 11:57 am

    You should have just run past her without letting her count the clothes. She probably would have tackled you at the knees. And then you could sue T.J. Maxx because they employed someone who’s crazy as a shithouse rat and tackled a PREGNANT LADY. Do you see the dollar signs? Then you could afford whatever clothes you want.

    What can I say? I’m a problem solver.

    Reply
  • 5. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  October 9, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    “Crazy as a shithouse rat” – HEE!!

    I think that woman’s sister was the check-in clerk at the airport the other day when we were trying to check in 26 Chinese passengers. Get over yourself!

    Is the black sweater in the Flickr photo the new one that you totally didn’t need?

    Reply
  • 6. jiveturkey  |  October 9, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    kristin: BRILLIANT. I need to take you shopping with me next time.

    4th: Nah, that’s one of my other 48,983 black sweaters. See? I have too many! I cannot resist! Also, the fitting room attendant totally reminded me of an airline counter worker: “THAT FLIGHT IS FULL, MA’AM.”

    Reply
  • 7. Sara  |  October 10, 2008 at 9:52 am

    My first thought upon reading this: I saw that picture of Flanders and combined it with your cheapness, and my brain thought of that episode of The Simpsons where Homer wanted to get those expensive sneakers that Flanders had, and he had a thought bubble with Flanders in it saying, “Sometimes you’ve got to spoil yourself, spoil yourself, spoil yourself. Simpson, I order you to buy those shoes!” Then I thought, boy, I hope I got that quote right. Then I thought, wow, I’m lame.

    Then I saw the photo of George Clooney. And my heart exploded.

    Reply
  • 8. MLE  |  October 10, 2008 at 11:01 am

    I find it best not to talk to those Fitting Room Attendant Nazis. The same one has been working at the local TJ Maxx for at least the last 5 years and, while I go in infrequently, I cringe whenever I head for the fitting room because I know she’s going to be there lurking, the evil troll lady.

    Reply
  • 9. Carrie  |  October 10, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Yeah, I’ve had some run-ins with the TJ Maxx employees, too, which is why I only go there for handbags and shoes. Or things I can try on over my shirt.

    And now our TJ Maxx is connected to the Home Goods store, so I just spend a lot of time looking at discount bundt pans or searching for another Le Creuset French Oven that I saw there once and didn’t buy and now I kick myself every time I go in.

    Reply
  • 10. shelli  |  October 12, 2008 at 12:50 am

    dude! I SO had the same attendant one day.

    Maybe it’s on the job application:

    -Can you talk in incomplete sentences, where you don’t listen to a single thing the other person is saying? check? OK! You’re hired!

    Reply
  • 11. Leah  |  October 13, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    I think she was a robot. A malfunctioning one.

    Reply

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