16 November 2011

Party time and nothing to wear

My Guy and I have been invited out on Saturday. Our neighbours are reaching the 70 mark at the same time so one of the daughters has arranged a joint ‘surprise’ party. This has put me in a right dilemma, as in ‘what to wear’.

Since giving up the high life of WI … joking of course … I’ve stopped buying the sort of gear that’s suitable for big events. Not to worry, I think, I’ve still got a load of outfits that serve for this kind of function.

So yesterday I examined the stock. Now you remember last year I told you that I’d lost a lot of weight ... yes, you guessed it, everything is TOO BIG. Panic! Now what? I can hardly go to an evening dinner and stuff in jumper and jeans. I tried everything on just in case but the sad fact remained that I had nothing to wear.

So bright and early this morning I tootled off to House of Fraser, the store where the assistants either turn in late or not at all, and when they do arrive they go missing from the sales floor so that customers have to hang around until they appear. I hate that. Even the tills are unmanned (should I say unwomaned?) as if they don’t even want to take your money. Many’s the time I’ve wandered round, holding up an item I wish to purchase and looking for someone to take my cash. I wonder what the reaction would be if I walked out without paying? I’ve complained about it before but what can you do when THAT store has the monopoly.

There are two floors that sell women’s wear but appropriate gear was nowhere to be seen. Oh there was plenty of stuff for the younger generation but not for yours truly. I went to my favourite Jacques Vert section, which of course had no assistant to help. Oh she was in the store all right but she was busy chatting on different floors. She knows me and her face was a picture of guilt whenever she saw me. I had a good look round but all I could see was winter coats. No everyday outfits or stuff for mother-of-the-bride, no flowing skirts or fancy tops. Nothing!

Another customer started to complain about the service and the lack of things for the ‘older’ lady. ‘It’s all designer stuff for kids,’ she said in a very disgusted voice. ‘And have you tried looking for your own size?’ Well, yes, I had, and could never find it. Apparently she had the same trouble. On most sections there were sizes 8-10-12-14-18-20-22 … hope you noticed the missing number … that’s right, no size 16 (this is UK size, by the way). So, what’s wrong with being 16 apart from the fact that the manufacturers seem to have stopped making it?

If only there was someone we could ask!

I went off for another wander round the store, bumped into the aforementioned gossiping assistant three times (she must have been visiting all her friends), and tried on a couple of dresses. One was so tight I reckon a girl had to be willow slim to squeeze into it. It was in a stretchy material and clung where it touched. Absolutely not for me, not at my age! It actually squashed the boobs flat and that wouldn’t do at all, would it?

I did spot a red top that would go nicely with my red jacket, and they had it in my size. It started life at 95 euros or £60 in real terms but was reduced by 30%. By the time they’d knocked off my £20 loyalty vouchers I only had to fork out £22. That put a smile on my face.

I decided to call it a day and go home to cook dinner.

On the way out I got talking to an assistant that I knew, and she did nothing but moan about House of Fraser and the attitude of the staff. She was mostly blaming the staff for coming in late and not working when they got there but I pointed out that it was a management problem for letting them get away with it.

‘All they think about is money,’ she said.

In my view they should think about the customers while they still have them.

I’m going back tomorrow because I had a brainwave. The outfits once worn for functions are lovely garments, tops and skirts mostly. Well, the skirts fit beautifully, it’s the tops that hang from the shoulders like bits of rag. I am exaggerating, but they certainly don’t look good. Why not buy different tops, I thought. Something lacy and cream would look good…. so, as I said, I’m going back tomorrow.

I shall pray for tolerance in case I bump into old chatterbox again.


  1. Very frustrating experience for you I'm sure. Or worse yet, and attendant will zero in on you when you enter, and then hover at your elbow for fear you might put the 5 finger discount to something. Don't know which is worse.

  2. ha. hopefully you find what you are looking for...i wish more did care for their customers...there seems to be a certain detachment at times...

  3. Valerie, I LOVED reading this post because it reminded me of the store I work in - the service, the management, and the selection are HORRIBLE!

    It's like working in a flea market - HA!

    This made me howl....

    "Even the tills are unmanned (should I say unwomaned?) as if they don’t even want to take your money."

    LOVED it!

    It amazes me what retail and customer service has turned into. It's all about what they can GET from the customer, rather than what they GIVE to the customer.

    ‘All they think about is money,’ she said. In my view they should think about the customers while they still have them."


    I really like your idea about buying a different top to go with the bottom. I mean why not? Who says you can't mix and match, right?

    I'll be anxious to hear what you come up with!

    Have a lovely day, dear lady!


  4. Oh I agree Val. I am size 16 and that's the size which sells out first. I mentioned to customer services, why do they not order extra size 16's? Surely the shops are missing a trick when size 16 customers are leaving empty handed?

  5. Mona, like you I don't know which is worse, an attendant who hassles or one or isn't there...grins.

    Brian, it's a relief to know it's not just our country that is so lax.

    Ron, Fancy, I imagined your store was the tops. Can management SEE that if they don't look after the customers the customers will disappear? Can't they SEE that? The trouble is though that customers will put up with it... I'm all for an out and out strike hahaha.

    Kath, I had to go back to the store today. I asked an assistant why there were no 16s and she said '16 is the average size, we run out of it very quickly.' So order MORE!

  6. How frustrating! I hope you manage to get something to suit.

  7. Hi Pearl. I did find something to suit ... eventually.

  8. Whatever you wear, have a fine time celebrating!
    We have soooo many stores within a short drive from me that if one has lousy service and no good size selections there are plenty of others to try.
    I dread trying on clothes though since I'm at my heaviest and nothing seems to fit or look quite right. I do usually find something but shopping isn't as enjoyable as it once was. Darn carbs! ;)

  9. a little retail therapy is a good
    thing, if the chatterbox is missing.

  10. CrystalChick. I'm so with you about trying on clothes. It's all so INCONVENIENT these days. Shopping bags or simple purse, coat to hang (if there's a handy hook), shoes to kick off and clothes to strip off, are all things that irritate me enough so that I don't ever want to 'try on' in store.

  11. Ughhhhhh

    Shopping is not my deal. Especially clothes shopping.

    Which reminds me--I have a function I have to attend which requires I end up in a clothing store.


    I'm NOT going twice! LOL But I'll hope that your second trip brought you great rewards in the 'top' department.


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