This week’s question: What was the most embarrassing or unusual experience you had while shopping?
Book reviewer Larry Cox
A number of years ago I went shopping for a new suit at a major department store. It was a Saturday afternoon and the store was crowded. I finally found a suit I liked and took it into the dressing room. I pulled on the pants but somehow got my feet tangled and I fell against the door tumbling out into the store in my underwear with the legs of the pants still twisted around my knees. As I looked up helplessly, one of the clerks (a woman) asked if I needed help. I said no, I could make a jackass of myself without any help from others. I left the store as soon as possible with no suit but a rather red face.
Events coordinator Elsa Nidia Barrett
Some of the more embarrassing moments happened not when I was shopping, but when I was helping people with their shopping. I was one of the unfortunate ones working for Dillard’s at El Con when it closed in 1999. During the final weeks nice, polite customers became “out of control animals.” It wasn’t just the sale items they were quarreling about; it was those darn fitting rooms. Fights broke out every day.
Many customers took out their frustrations about the long lines by letting their young ones use the fitting rooms as bathrooms. Others took the faster approach: they gathered all their clothes in a huge pile (3-4 feet) and just dressed and undressed themselves and their kids without a care in the world. Those were some of the saddest and embarrassing moments I had ever experienced in the retail world.
Calendar editor Rogelio Yubeta Olivas
I was going to write about how when I was a little kid, I used to shoplift Jesus statues from the local TG&Y.
But then I remembered a more recent experience. When I was visiting friends in Missouri two years ago, we went to a three-story hat store. I was in heaven – until the weird sales guy with the (literally) wandering eye approached me. I just picked up a creepy vibe from him. He was checking me out and was a little too familiar. After helping me try on a couple of hats, he asks me – out of the blue – if he can have the tennis shoes I’m wearing. I say no. Then he asks for my UA windbreaker. I don’t know why he wanted my clothes. I didn’t give him anything. The whole time my friends were just sitting near the window, laughing and enjoying the show. They said it was like watching a David Lynch movie. Totally bizarro.
Metromix editor Polly Higgins
Does gassing up the car count as shopping? Several years ago I was filling up the tank at a Circle K on South Sixth Avenue when I hear “how much?” We all know what that refers to. So I ignored the gruff voice, kept about my business. Again: “How much?” It was early, and I just wanted to get to work, so I responded with an annoyed, “You know . . .” Turns out it was my friend Liza. Ha!
Calendar designer Kristina Dunham
One day, two summers ago, I spent several hours in the pool at a house where I was house-sitting, and then I headed to the mall to go shopping, despite some slight discomfort from getting sunburned. I started to feel worse as I tried on clothes, so I quickly picked out what I wanted and headed to the counter. As I stood in line, I started to feel queasy, and when I finally got to the counter, I felt very ill and tried to tell the woman I would have to come back later. Apparently my words came out as gibberish though, and within seconds I fainted! I don’t think I actually lost consciousness because I remember that everyone behind the counter and several customers rushed to my side to help me up from the floor. I insisted I was fine and that it was just because I had too much sun, but they wouldn’t let me leave the store without lying down on a bench behind the counter. I wasn’t in a position to argue, so I reluctantly lay on the bench, which was against the glass wall looking out into the mall. A woman brought me a bottle of water, and soon I felt better enough to get up, pay and leave, but I was thoroughly mortified. I still cringe when I walk by the bench in the window, and I can’t bring myself to go back inside that store.
NEXT WEEK’S QUESTION
If you had to pick a dish from a local restaurant for your last meal, what would it be and why?
> Readers, we’d love for you to play along. Please e-mail your response by noon Monday to firstname.lastname@example.org (email@example.com). Please include your name, age, occupation and phone number.