Monday, November 29, 2010

Where Has All the Customer Service Gone?

Over the weekend, I went shopping at the Levi's Outlet, where I was sure I would find a great pair of jeans. After all, I had found some Levi's at Kohl's the week before that were *almost* perfect (except that they were too big). When I walked in the door, a young sales clerk asked what I was looking for and steered me in the correct direction. Her name was Tyler and she seemed friendly and helpful. No complaints there. I started looking for jeans in a size smaller than I had found at Kohl's. There weren't too many options, but I tried on what I could find in both boot cut and straight leg. I wasn't happy with the way any of my first choices fit, so I tried again, and again, and again.

After becoming a bit frustrated, I took the best pair of jeans I had found to another sales clerk, Kim, (older than the first) and asked if they came in a smaller size. She told me that they didn't, and that the store didn't carry a lot of jeans in that size. She then found me three pairs of the another style of jean and sent me to the fitting room. When she came to check back with me, I wasn't thrilled with how these jeans were fitting. The "straight leg" seemed tapered to me, and my personal opinion is that skinny jeans do not look particularly good on anyone, not even on me, and I have been called "skinny" for as long as I can remember. Plus, there was a considerable gap in the back and the rise was lower than I prefer. When I mentioned the problem with the gap to her, she said, "Have you considered wearing a belt?" I told her that I usually do, but I still didn't think that would solve the gap issue. Her response was, "Have you considered buying different underwear with a lower rise?" She insisted that the jeans looked cute on me. I left the fitting room to look some more because despite what the sales clerk seemed to think, the jeans were not cute and they did not fit well. And it really annoyed me that she thought they would be fine if I just wore different underwear!

When I went back out to the store, I met Tyler again, and explained the dilemma. I thought the boot cut jeans were more flattering than the straight leg, but I was having a hard time finding a small enough size. She seemed to understand, so she showed me a different area than I had looked in before and suggested junior's sizes. I was skeptical, but decided to try the junior's jeans because they might actually fit, and I really just hoped to come away with one decent-fitting pair of jeans. As I feared, junior's sizes are not the way to go. The cut is completely different, which is what I suspected, and not meant to accommodate a grown woman's figure, not matter how petite it may be. I do not recommend trying on junior's jeans unless you are young enough to actually shop in the junior's department!

By now I was not only frustrated but also feeling like there was little hope in finding a pair of Levi's that actually fit my petite (not junior) frame. However, I had made a special trip to Birch Run specifically to go to the Levi's Outlet, so I really didn't want to leave until I had accomplished that task. So, I decided to search for jeans without the assistance of a sales clerk. While looking, I overheard a middle-aged lady complain, "I don't want jeans that are frayed or have a pearl button, and that if that makes me a difficult customer, then I guess I'm a difficult customer!" I nodded in agreement because I had passed up a pair of boot cut jeans in the proper size because they had holes in them. Call me picky, but I was not going to pay for holy jeans. I don't think a respectable looking mom should go out in public in holy jeans. I grabbed one last pair to try on and headed to the fitting room. By now, the attendant recognized me and told me that my room should still be open.

That last pair of jeans seemed a tad long, but I decided to make them work. They might shrink a little in the wash, I rationalized, or worse case scenario, I could have them shortened by a tailor. Feeling more defeated than proud, I took my *almost* perfect jeans to the cash register. When the cashier asked if anyone had helped me, I told her that both Tyler and Kim had helped me. I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying that they really weren't all that helpful, and ultimately, I had found the jeans on my own. And I didn't even "need" to buy new underwear for them to look right! What ever happened to, "The customer is always right?"

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