Grody to the Maxx
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.
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…
But when I tried to go for something a little more form-fitting, I ended up looking kind of…
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.
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?
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.
Entry filed under: Gobble-gobble.