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#46348 - 07/24/01 10:49 PM Rudeness in stores
sheba Offline

Registered: 08/20/00
Posts: 118
Loc: Minneapolis, MN USA
I came away from Madrid with mostly a bad feeling because of several things, but the one thing that really stuck out was the way in which four seperate female employees at four seperate stores told me that I was too big to try on some or all of their clothes.

Has this happened to anyone else? I mean, I'm not size 6, but it's not exactly as if I'm trying on that size anyway. I'm trying on a size L or something that stretches greatly (I'm size 12--which is L, just so you know) and SEVERAL women stop me and let me know that I shouldn't try these SIZE L clothes on because I will rip them.

What kind of crap is that?

I tell this to a friend of mine in Madrid and they can't believe it, but then another adds that this kind of stuff happened to her friend in Italy. The friend just walked outside and starting crying.

I didn't cry. I just looked at them like, YOU B..... and tried them on anyway and actually bought many of the things that fit just fine.

Now I know that someone is going to say that there is a serious concern on the part of these employees that clothes will be ripped and they will be blamed, but then, why stop there? Why not stop people who smell badly? Or those who have lipstick on yet insist on trying on white or pale things and leaving lipstick marks?

I know this sounds absurd, but how humiliating and just plain sad that they felt the need to do this. And what a horrible image to come away from a country with.

#46349 - 07/24/01 11:03 PM Re: Rudeness in stores
GranadaGirl Offline

Registered: 01/24/01
Posts: 348
Loc: Maryland via Connecticut, USA ...
Hi there-

I can relate to your frustration. Although I am now a size 8 and can normally find clothes there, I still at times feel like a big girl when trying things on in Spain! When I studied there I was somewhere around a size 12 or 14, no skinny mini but not obese either, and I basically gave up trying to find anything decent to purchase, since nothing ever fit me!! (I was never told not to try anything on, but when I did, most of the time they didn't fit!)

I wouldn't take how they talked to you personally, though. This is one of the BIG cultural differences between Spain/Europe and the US. I'm not sure how familiar you are, if this was your 1st or 101st trip there, but if you didn't notice, the Spanish don't tend to sugar coat things. They don't mean or even think they're being rude, and aren't considered rude there, they're just stating a fact as they see it. "Is your sister fat too?" (implying that YOU are!), "Oh he's so ugly!". We're more used to the sugar coated "She's got a pretty face." or "He's unique looking." I think it's just one more difference in our cultures and viewpoints.

GG (Who is still getting over the pair of Spanish shoes that actually fit her but she didn't buy in 1988!) rolleyes
"Vivir con miedo es como vivir a medias."

#46350 - 07/25/01 02:20 AM Re: Rudeness in stores
Nicole Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 07/24/00
Posts: 583
Loc: Los Angeles
That SUCKS!! Yeah. Europeans aren't as worried about hurting your feelings. Thank god for "political correctness" and protecting my vulnerable ego. I once had a saleswoman in Italy flat out ask me if I was really sure that I could afford the shoes I wanted to buy, while she looked me up and down like I was a stinking carcass. I was wearing typical backpacker gear, but found the comment quite stinging - felt like I do in those weird dreams where you are standing naked in front of your junior high class...

One of my French friends, Anne, and I were talking about that one day. She told me after years of living in the States, she had grown "tender"/sensitive. She went into a store in France to buy her mother (a typically skinny French woman) a necklace. As she was trying it on, the saleswoman told her that with Anne's "neck like a bull" the necklace really totally unsuitable. lovely. She had a few more stories like that.

Anyway, I don't think I ever dared to try on pants in Spain - thank you Gap - but whenever the saleswomen would get snooty with me at Zara's I would feel just fine looking at them with the 3-shades-darker-than-their-neck make up and freaky exagerated Cleopatra eyeliner and prance my natural (and voluptuous) *ss around the store anyway.

#46351 - 07/25/01 05:18 AM Re: Rudeness in stores
Miguelito Offline

Registered: 01/23/01
Posts: 603
I'm very sorry about that.
I guess that maybe they would have had some bad experiences in that way, as here have been on fashion the cloths too "small" between teenagers. Some girls who weren't too tiny couldn't find some kind of clothes. Even the government negotiated with cloths makers to change the sizes trying to minimize the anorexia problems...
I think this rude way to say things could be more common in big stores for teenagers like Zara, Mango...although thre is also kind people in those places...

#46352 - 07/25/01 12:51 PM Re: Rudeness in stores
karenwishart Offline

Registered: 12/23/00
Posts: 280
Loc: York,PA,USA
I agree with Miguelito. These are pretty rude people described but I feel you can't judge the retail world by them. I accompanied several teens shopping recently in Spain and though they were frustrated by the sizing(2 of them are quite tall and voluptuous) the sales people were generally patient, maybe not overly optomistic they would find anything, but they were not rude.I wear an 8 or 10 and when a male sales person pulled out an XL I was a little insulted..but it fit! American teen style clothes are also pretty impossible for alot of girls!

#46353 - 07/25/01 03:18 PM Re: Rudeness in stores
Wolf Offline

Registered: 01/25/01
Posts: 1235
Loc: Rockford, IL/Milton, WI, USA
It's unfortunate that these things happen, but it's one of the reasons I don't try to find clothes for myself in Spain. I'm a big guy, with big feet, and rest assured, I haven't seen anything except a tent that would fit me... rolleyes In fact, I had the unpleasant experience of being told that I couldn't ride horses at a ranch we visited. I never intended to, but told the guy that I brought a skateboard along, and we could strap it under the horse's belly so it wouldn't drag on the ground. He nearly passed out... smile I'm not certain if he thought I was serious or wanted to avoid laughing.

The same applies to my wife. If she buys anything, it's XXL over there, and that may be a bit more squeeze than she likes. eek

Wolf (Who has looked through the Spanish Yellow pages for Omar the Tent Maker, to buy clothes.) laugh

#46354 - 07/25/01 06:30 PM Re: Rudeness in stores
SuePycroft Offline

Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 138
Loc: United Kingdom
I am sorry to read all your comments about the bad shopping experiences you have had in Spain. I have not had any "run-ins" with assistants so far and have found them to be very curteous. Wolf, your comment about the horse really made me chuckle, I can picture the scenario in my mind, would make a great cartoon! laugh laugh

#46355 - 07/25/01 08:43 PM Re: Rudeness in stores
Majesty318 Offline

Registered: 12/16/00
Posts: 233
Loc: New Jersey, USA
Whoa sheba that is stunning. I am about your size and although no salespeople ever told me I could not try on the clothes, I had a similar difficult time getting things that fit. My favorite store was ProMod, I have lots of tops from there, and a highlight from this trip was when I actually could buy a skirt (reflection of the weight loss from a year away from eating way too much Spanish food, not to mention drinking!). The rudeness I did experience was in Zara when I was told very not-nicely, on several occasions, to not unfold the clothes because it made a mess. Well, how I was supposed to determine the size without unfolding them is a mystery. I totally sympathize with you, I would have started crying.

#46356 - 07/25/01 08:57 PM Re: Rudeness in stores
laduque Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 10/02/00
Posts: 596
Loc: San Diego, CA, USA
I have encountered the exact same situations there as well, I know better now to even attempt to try anything on, much less look, that I now only stick to buying shoes in Spain, at least I know I will find some!!!
I have been learning the hard way about the sugar coating cultural difference thing...My mother-in-law has sent me to tears a few times with her comments, but as time passes, she has learned to lessen the blows (I mean comments) and I have learned to take it in stride... mad

#46357 - 07/25/01 09:44 PM Re: Rudeness in stores
la maestra Offline
Executive Member

Registered: 03/03/01
Posts: 373
Loc: Tucson, Arizona
My shopping experiences in Spain have not been wonderful, but not for any of the reasons mentioned! My first time in Spain I was too broke to buy clothes and made one first bikini. It was a lovely thing, scandalous in Franco times (matronly today) with a bra that could have doubled as a matching pair of ice cream dishes. My next visit I was pregnant and not really in the mood for shopping. More recently I have taken my toned size 6 body over there only to have sales clerks roll their eyes as I show interest in putting those clingy little tops on my 55 year old frame eek . The size may be right, but believe me, those spray-on numbers just don't look the same on chassis with my kind of mileage! They keep pointing at racks of polyester blouses with buttons up to the neck and tasteful below-the-knee skirts. And those of you who have the unmitigated GALL to tell me about cute strappy sandals...I wear an 8EE and the only thing clerks found that they thought MIGHT fit were some hot pink boxes the shoes came in. They DID offer to fit them with velcro, but I didn't think my orthodics would work with the cut of the box.

I do have a wonderful collection of T-shirts, though smile

[ 07-26-2001: Message edited by: la maestra ]

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