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Submitted Shopping Experience Stories

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Title: My Shopping

I've been buying clothes for myself for over 20 years, and I've never had a clerk say anything negative. But I've almost never said anything to let them know it was for me.
About 6 months ago I was in a very small lingerie shop and worked up the courage to ask if I could try something on. I received a very warm smile from the clerk who said "of course you can honey!"

I've not had the courage to try it again until this week. I was traveling out of town and concluded that I could stop at a town where no one knew me and look for some things. I decided to wear my Lane Bryant jeans and some ladies shoes (fairly androgenouus looking). I also had on panties and a ladies teeshirt under my shirt.

I arrived at the mall at opening time. I started at JC Penney and started looking in the women's department. A clerk in her 60's asked if I needed any help. I told her I was just looking and she said she'd be over near the checkout area if I needed anything. I looked around and found a pair of bootcut tan slacks I liked. I took them over to the clerk and asked politely "would it be alright if I took these to the men's department and tried them on?" "Of course!" she replied. I tried them on, came back to the clerk and paid for them. As she gave me the bag she told me to enjoy my afternoon.

Next stop was Lane Bryant. I was the only customer when I entered the store. One of the two clerks asked if I needed any help and I said I was just looking. I took my time looking at the merchandise in the store and she asked me a couple more times if I needed any help. Finally I picked out a pair of stretch bootcut jeans and asked politely "would it be possible for me to try these on?" She said of course, and opened a dressing room for me. The jeans fit great. As I left the dressing room the clerk took the jeans and told me I could look some more if I wanted to.

I headed back to the lingerie area and started to look at the bras. The clerks said "all of our bras are 20ff, if you'd like to try one". I wasn't expecting that, but decided I'd take a look. Now I've probably got as many bras as my wife, but I walked over to her and asked very hesitantly "can you tell me how to find the right size? Is it like the same as a men's suit size?" She asked if I'd like her to get a tape measure and of course I said yes. She came back with the tape and called over to the other clerk, could you please do this for me. She looked at me and explained she was new there and the other clerk had more experience.

The second clerk measured my ribcage and said I was between a 42 and 44, and suggested I try a 44. She asked what type of bra I wanted and I said "probably something sexy." She led me around the lingerie area showing me different bras in different colors, some with lace and some smooth and helped me look for size 44. Finally she showed me a smoothe black bra with airbags in it. She told me it was adjustable to change the way the straps crossed in the back.

On the way to the dressing room I saw a sweater I liked in size 18 and took it in the dressing room with me. I slipped on the bra and the sweater and looked at myself in the mirror. The clerk called in to me "how are those working for you?" I told her I needed to try the sweater in a size smaller. She handed me the smaller size over the dressing room door. I tried it and decided on the 16. I paid for the purchases and she smiled and told me to enjoy my day.

I left the mall and drove over to Fashion Bug. By this time it was about 11:30 and there were a number of other customers in the store. As I entered the store a clerk smiled and asked if she could help me find anything specific. I told her no I just wanted to look around. She pointed to a few racks of merchandise that were on clearance. She said they were 50ff the marked price (which ended up being quite a bargain if you found something you liked.) I looked around for a few minutes and found some real bargains which I took off the rack and carried with me. As the clerk approached again with a smile I asked "would it be possible for me to try something on?" She said "of course, I'll start a dressing room for you. Oh, and these suits over here are buy one, get one for 50ff. I looked a bit longer, found a silky turquoise blouse at regular price and headed back toward the dressing rooms. The clerk asked me if I was ready and told me she'd put my items in the fourth dressing room. I assumed it would be at the end of the line of dressing rooms, to keep me away from the other customers, but it was actually near the middle.

It was such a thrill to know that I was in the dressing room area at the same time some women were. There were women in three of the other dressing rooms. I was so excited by the way she had treated me that I had a hard time concentrating on how the clothing fit. I tried them all on and I decided I'd buy all the items I'd found. I exited the dressing room, and found that both clerks were busy checking out other customers. I waited near the checkout stand until my clerk was free. She took my items, scanned them and folded them nicely. As she did that she pointed me toward the jewelry in the case below the checkout counter and on some other racks, telling me that it was 40ff. I was tempted, but decided not to look at them. As she concluded the sale, she smiled and told me to come back again.

Next stop was another Lane Bryant store in the same town. A very similar experience. I found another pair of jeans I liked, asked politely if I could try them on and got another "of course!" response. I bought them too. The clerk also wished me well as we ended the purchase. I decided to ask her if they had very many men buying things for themselves. "Some, but not alot," she replied. "When I worked at one of our other stores we used to have one guy come in quite often."

Last stop was a Payless Shoe store. I've got wide feet and typically need a size 12 or 13 wide in ladies shoes. I hit the jackpot. They had the biggest selection of large size shoes of any Payless I've ever been in. And they were having a closeout on their sandals. I found one pair in turquoise and lime green (just the thing to go with some of my blouses and skirts or shorts) one pair in black and one in white. 3 pair for $20 total! All with cute 2 to 3 inch heels. I just LOVE all 3 of them! I carried all three pair up to the counter with the boxes open. While I didn't tell the clerk they were for me, I'm very sure she knew it. She even asked if I needed any socks or anything else today.

All in all, it was a wonderful day. After 30 years of being ashamed of my dressing and hiding it from every one except my wife, if was such a positive experience to have all these clerks be so accepting of me. None of them seemed to have the least bit of apprehension about me trying on ladies clothing in their stores, much less me just buying it. And this was in St. Joseph, missouri-- not exactly what I would think would be a free-thinking location.

It's scary, but you can do it. Just go somewhere no one knows you, be polite, and enjoy!


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