Tag Archives: Retail

Dear Maternity Retailers


This is an important message for retailers that sell maternity products.

WHAT THE EFF IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?

Here’s the thing.  Pregnancy is a temporary condition, okay?  I know you’re selling “specialty products” which means you should be able to ask more.  And if what you sold was worth the price you charged, I would be on board 100%.  But quite frankly, a majority of your crap is not worth the price and you are all severely lacking in products that I considered no-brainers despite this being my first rodeo.

If you look on Pinterest, you will find an incredible collection of useful blogs built upon DIY pregnancy projects.  Why?  Because no one wants to spend $40 on an infinity scarf/nursing cover when literally 5 min on a sewing machine with scrap jersey knit gives you the same results.  And is there anything worse than shelling out a ton of money (more than $20) on jeans that you KNOW will only be worn while pregnant?  I won’t deny that my maternity jeans were the most comfortable to wear the last 2 months and made me feel the most normal.  A giant jersey band holding your pants up will do that for you.  However, if they hadn’t been a gift from my most generous and considerate MIL, I would not have bothered getting a pair.  One pair, on sale, cost $20.  And at the thrift store, I bought 4 pairs of jeans for $5 a pop in larger sizes that were easily adapted to maternity use via elastic hair bands at the buttons and a belly band ($9 at Target) to cover my sins.  No, it wasn’t ideal.  Yes, I did have to spend an inordinate amount of time pulling up my pants and adjusting the belly band to cover up the fact that I hadn’t done up a zipper in 4 months.  But with the looming costs of actually having a baby resting firmly in the back of my head, 4 pairs of jeans for the price of 1 was easy Math.  Also, those thrift store jeans had pockets.  The maternity jeans, for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, had NO FRONT POCKETS.

I have seen jeans with false back pockets.  Even the cutest pair, regardless of how well it fits, will hit the reject pile for false back pockets.  False front pockets are simply an insult.

I don’t know if retailers actually look at social media or if they just dump their ads and run, but if they did they might notice that the entirety of the female population WANTS POCKETS.  In pants, in dresses, in leggings, in bras.  EVERYWHERE.  Now, I know what you’re thinking, retailers.  “If we give them pockets, they won’t buy purses!”  WRONG, MOFO.  We love our purses.  We will never stop buying purses.  You never know when you’re going to need a book, a back-up book, three skeins of yarn, 4 tampons, an inflatable pillow, and a screwdriver.  YOU JUST DON’T KNOW.  Unless cargo pants come back into style, your purse revenues are safe.  You know what I do know for sure?  There is no place for keys in a purse.  Outside pockets, inside pockets, hanging off a bejeweled hook, they always end up in a black hole somewhere just out of reach, especially if it is dark, cold, and I’m alone in parking lot trying to get into my car.  Also, purses are not affixed to our persons.  I have work keys.  When I don’t have pockets, I have to put those keys in my purse.  And every time I had to open a cabinet at work, I would drag myself up, waddle over to the cabinet, remember that my keys were in my purse on the ground, waddle back, *deep breath* BEND OVER *groan, retrieve purse, retrieve keys, forget what I was going to the cabinet for, realize it didn’t matter since I had to pee and the bathroom is at the other end of the store, speed waddle to the bathroom, and sit on the toilet for five minutes reassessing my life choices.  Why would you add extra stress to someone already struggling under emotional, psychological, hormonal, and physical distress?  HOW COULD YOU BE SO RECKLESS?!?

My point is, all it takes to be a hero is pockets.

Here are some things I was baffled by in the maternity departments/stores.

Maternity Skinny Jeans.  I get skinny jeans, in theory.  They don’t really work for me, but clearly lots of people dig them and I’m not here to judge.  Skinny jeans when I am feeling like a manatee already, I don’t know.

Maternity Holey Jeans.  This is actually just a pet peeve of mine with all jeans.  I do not want jeans that have been artificially worn thin.  If my jeans have holes in them, I want them to be made by years of wear and tear, not for aesthetics.  And considering how much some retailers charge for this particular fashion choice, I feel like I’m being charged twice as much for denim that will only last half as long.

Body-Shaping Hosiery. Because Gawd FORBID I walk around growing a human being and have any sign of jiggly thighs.  Now, some of that hosiery claims to have built-in belly support, which is admittedly very important for most kinds of pregnancy.  I carried high, so the I didn’t need the support belts or anything similar to protect my lower back.  It was my ribs that suffered and strangely enough, none of the “support” apparel focus on controlling the boobs (more on this later).

Lacey Nursing Bras. Again, I don’t get lacey bras to begin with.  Adding lingerie touches to a bra and charging $40 for it without also offering ANY kind of economic alternative for the person who can’t afford to drop 3 bills to replace at least a week’s worth of normal bras with nipple accessible bras, well that’s just a bit cruel.  And I guarantee that my little guys couldn’t give two figs about how cute/sexy my bra is as long as it gives him access to the almighty boob.

Here are some things I think should be sold in maternity departments/stores.

Compression Socks.  Poor circulation is a common problem in the 3rd trimester: ankles and feet swollen and sore so that walking around feels like strolling on bruises.  You look down at your feet and despite having them elevated for hours they still look like someone attached a bicycle pump to your heel and didn’t turn off the air.  It is uncomfortable and worrying to look at.  So why is it in a store dedicated to pregnancy apparel, with it’s plethora of cute dresses and lacy nursing bras I couldn’t find a single pair of compression socks?  I had to get mine from Walgreens.  They are functional, but ugly and make me wary of getting too close to any of the many retirement communities around here just in case someone tries to pick me up.  Would cute compression socks be weird?  Weirder than skinny maternity jeans?

Bra/Underwear Subscriptions.  Within the first month of pregnancy, I had out-grown my bras.  So I bought some larger conventional bras that seemed supportive enough and didn’t have under wires, as I was already dealing with rib discomfort.  Then I grew out of those.  And the next set.  I eventually switched to sports bras, first mediums, then larges.  The same thing happened with underwear, by the way. I stocked up on one size larger and then barely a week later had to stock the next size up.   And I don’t know about everyone else, but I can’t just buy 2 bras.  I’m proud that I limited myself to a dozen sports bras (6 med, 6 lg) since I normally prefer at least enough undergarments for 2 weeks.  And that’s just the regular bras.  You can’t buy nursing bras before your milk comes in.  That would be stupid.  Not to mention how much of a jinx that would feel.  There is no stage of pregnancy wherein you are “in the clear.”  Bad stuff happens and I certainly didn’t want to tempt fate by stocking up on nursing bras, even if I could predict how big the boobs would get.  What I didn’t see in any maternity store was 10-packs of sleeping bras, sports bras, extra elastic underwear, or any kind of economic option so that I didn’t feel like I was stealing from my unborn child just to relieve chronic pain and the inevitable expansion of my booty.  If we can’t offer mega packs of underwear that can be guiltlessly bought and discarded during pregnancy, how about a subscription so I can exchange bras as the mams grow?

Breast Support.  And if we’re going to offer “shapewear” for my thighs and belly, how about something for breasts that isn’t focused on making them look sexier.  I don’t care if your product makes them look perkier or pushes them into unnatural shapes.  I wanted a product that was supportive enough that I could sleep on my side (as is medically recommended) without feeling like I was detaching a rib from my spine.  I did try sleeping with sports bras and the elastic band around my rib cage actually exacerbated the problem.  This product, if it existed, would ideally be tank-top-shaped with support bands running around the sides of the breasts, along the sides of the ribs and under the belly.  Or something.  I’m not an expert.

So to recap, how about instead of only offering cute products, we look at the practical side of pregnancy.  Because I guarantee I’m not the only woman who saw the impending costs of a newborn and started looking immediately on how she could curtail her spending by hitting thrift stores and making her own “maternity” clothing.  I actually swore I wouldn’t be wasting any money on “maternity” clothes and the only exception was the bulk purchases of cheap maternity tanks from Target that are longer than my normal camis and will be used until they fall completely apart, pregger or not. I mean, it’s great that you all want to gouge customers for impractical vanity products, but could you maybe consider that you could make a killing selling products specifically created to alleviate the discomfort of pregnancy?  You know, besides the $60 body pillows and serious looking belly support braces?

Any other practical suggestions from my pregger peeps?

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Ramblings, Rants

Declawing Cats


I should not be writing right now for a few reasons.  First, I have had two very full glasses of wine (I am a lightweight).  Second, it is very late, and while I have the day off tomorrow I don’t like indulging this particular bad habit.  Third, I have been holding in a lot of anger.  And by holding in, I mean ranting to my husband and friends, but not writing it down.

I write for a lot of reasons, I think.  Sometimes things just don’t make sense in my head until I make them solid on paper/screen.  Other times, I can’t sleep because my brain won’t stop talking about something.  Rarely, I am genuinely inspired by the Muse of Fiction.  I’ve written to fulfill New Years Resolutions and personal vows and school requirements.  I write because I am a writer.  I am also a baker and a hooker (crochet) and a napper.  To that end, I bake food I shouldn’t eat and stuff it in the faces of people I know to validate my own irreplaceability in their lives.  I crochet projects that interest/challenge me to stave off boredom and half-heartedly sell them (or rather don’t sell them) on the internet.  I nap.  This is my life when I’m not working.

I think I’m averaging three times a day that someone remarks on the fact that my name is Jo and I work at Joann’s.  It blows their minds when I tell them my middle name is Ann.  I say the same jokes over and over again.  “It’s probably why they hired me.”  “My mom must have KNOWN.”  “I’m Undercover-Bossing it.”  They all love my St. Pat’s apron, which I made as Irish as possible without resorting to using potatoes.  I am either the best person with the brightest personality and the most charming customer service or I’m the rude girl who merely pointed to the part of the store you needed without holding your hand to take you there.  I try to be the former because a narcissist needs everyone to love them and I NEED YOU TO LOVE ME.  I’m sorry if I was rude.  I hope there was a reason and not just that I was tired from standing for 5 hours because Americans don’t believe you can work and sit at the same time.  Or that I hadn’t eaten all afternoon because I decided we were too busy for me to take my 15 min corporate-obligated break.  Or I’m dehydrated because I left my water at the register and the past 5 times I went up to grab it, someone needed my help.  But thank goodness I have a cute apron and a bubbly personality and gave you the coupon you didn’t have or the discount you misread because losing money is less important than losing customers but more important than staffing the store well enough to properly serve customers.

To be clear, I do like my job.  I meet amazing people.  I get to help people be creative, which is kind of what I want to do with my life anyway, just with books.  I am inspired everyday to buy more yarn and fabric and stretch the boundaries of my skills.  I want to learn to do everything and I want to teach people to do those skills which will while away the hours of the Zompac.

Here is very important advice for casual conversation with retail workers.  It doesn’t happen frequently at work, but among new friends and associates and strangers at parties, the conversation gets around to, “And what do you do?”  Often this is after conversations about education or crazy college stories, but here’s a template of one conversation I had a bit too frequently over the last few weeks.

“Yes, I have a Bachelors in English with a minor in Medieval/Renaissance Studies.”

“And what are you doing with that?”

“I work retail.”

“Why?”

“I needed a job.”

Anything you say after that which isn’t along the lines of, “Oh, okay, the economy, blah, blah, blah, change the subject,” is going to lead down a dark road.

What can I say?  I am registered on several job search sites.  I get multiple daily emails about jobs available in my area (within an hour commute).  Most are crap.  Many are not even related to the field I’m interested in.  I realize that Barnes & Noble sells books, but the Starbucks barista job has absolutely no relation to publishing.  Nor does a managerial position at Food Lion count as a writing position.  Or I could take one of the many jobs selling magazine subscriptions to strangers.  A few, a very few are worth applying to.  Some fall under the “I need a job” category.  Like, okay, I’m not sure this is the type of job I want, but it does involve writing, a salary, and a full-time position.  Just bite the bullet, send in your resume, and wait for them to never, ever respond.  Not even to say you aren’t qualified or we went with someone else.

So when asked why I’m not working in the field I want, there is a little voice that starts screaming.  I don’t know.  I don’t know why they don’t want me.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I’m not good enough when EVERYONE who has ever taught me has said that I am above average.  What am I doing wrong?  Why don’t they want me?  And the only answer I always seems to come up with is that I’m not trying hard enough.  I can’t possibly be trying hard enough because in this country, if you work hard and stay positive and pull on your bootstraps or whatever, the opportunities just pour down.

It’s probably true.  I don’t walk my resume into publishing houses nor do I plan to move to LA or NYC in order to get an unpaid internship that could easily be done via email.  I don’t write constantly and send submissions in everywhere.  I don’t email 10 resumes a day to different employers.  Would that help?  Maybe.  Should I pay someone to look over my resume?  Because 6.5 years in the Army and a Bachelors degree aren’t evidence enough that I’m worth an interview?  Or even a rejection email?

This is why I don’t blog as much.  What shall I write about?  There was some woman who expected us to open up nearly an hour after we closed so she could buy something because we were the only place that had it and she needed it that night.  Or the woman who waved me down like I was a taxi.  Or the questions about whether or not I have anyone to help me with the line, which imply that I simply love keeping people waiting while my coworkers lounge in the break room or something.  No, I’m alone here.  I called for help and no one can come because everyone else is busy helping other people.  Or asking me to find a fabric you saw 2 months ago but don’t have a number or even a picture of, but you just loooooved it so much.  Is that all your buttons?  Why don’t you sell this obscure thing I’m looking for?  What are your hours that I could easily find with a quick internet search?  Do you have this yarn I bought six months ago with this lot number?  Do you have a senior discount (after I have asked if they have military or teacher discounts, because I would absolutely not mention senior after saying those)?  That person wasn’t chipper enough ringing me up, I want to complain.  I don’t understand why I can’t get cash back for a return, even when I don’t have the receipt.  Why didn’t I get full price back for stuff I returned six months after I bought it?  Where does it say 90 days (on the big sign right above your head and on the receipt)?  Why do you have to handle my fabric (because you were trying to smuggle out $30 in remnants folded in your fleece)?  What do you mean you don’t have it?  It’s on your website.  Oh, it says online only.

And that is only the nasty 1% of our customers.  Everyone else is either a joy and a pleasure to see or they’re new and just need some hand-holding.

For new people:

  1. Please be patient.  There are a lot of draws on our attention (other customers, because stocking the store and cleaning up the messes inconsiderate people leave always come after customer service).  We will help as much as we can, HOWEVER, we are not personal shoppers and should not neglect the rest of the store unnecessarily.  We will because we want your positive experience to bring you back, but other customers will suffer.
  2. Please be prepared.  Know your measurements.  There is no average size for anything, not chairs, not showers, not blankets, not clothes, not ANYTHING.  We will help you, but without correct measurements the best we can do is make guesses which can lead to you buying the wrong amount of supplies.  This will unnecessarily complicate your project and make you less likely to take on another.
  3. No questions are stupid or silly or unusual.  Within six months of working there, I had already heard all the weirdest projects (#1 was a reusable feminine pad) and cut the most fabric (2 1/2 hours cutting 50 1.5-yd pieces of fleece).  Do not be embarrassed to ask me anything.  Dumb questions are things that could be directed to Google before stepping in the store.  If Google can’t help you, ask away.  Even if Google could help you but you don’t want to ask a faceless search engine, ASK AWAY.  I will answer with a smile and if I can’t answer your question, I will ask my colleagues.  And yes, if desperate, Google it.

For Regulars:

  1. We love seeing you because you understand how long it can take to cut fabric.  Your patience and understanding are a Godsend, especially when we are slammed and understaffed.
  2. When we aren’t busy, we want to see pictures of your projects because in a little way they are our projects, too.  We also want to talk about your families and upcoming events, but not politics.  When we are busy, we still want to see pictures but we may have to be walking and stocking at the same time.
  3. Have your coupons loaded before you get to the register.  If you need help, as all phones can be tricky even to the most experienced, just ask.  If there is a long line at the register, I’ve noticed my regulars engaging other customers in conversation.  I love you for that.  It makes the line less threatening to me AND less annoying for others.
  4. Please, please, please, go to the website and fill out customer reviews.  A lot of people will take the time to fill out a review for a bad experience (and yes, I want those too, because how else will I learn?).  Most won’t bother if they had a good experience.  Every once in a while, I want to hear someone say we did a good job.  I know we do a good job and I know we aren’t perfect.  When all you hear are the negative reviews even though all I hear in person is how wonderful I am, it’s very confusing.

I didn’t mean for this to be about work or about my failing job hunt or how much retail can suck.  I was going to make some nasty remarks about declawing cats and maybe something political.  But since I’ve been listening to audiobooks in the car, I haven’t felt the boiling need to spew about stuff that doesn’t affect me on the daily because I am white, cis-gender, military spouse with health care through the military, and no children (yet) for which the future death of the planet holds any threat.  For the time being, I can selfishly ignore the toxic waste that festers a mere 3 hours away, plotting to drain the swamp through the effective means of increasing the white supremacist alligator population.  And honestly, what more is there to say that hasn’t been ignored or called fake news by the people I most need to hear me?  The people who will listen already agree with me.  The people who will call me a bitch and a snowflake and naïve are rooting for a creature who lies to their faces on a daily basis, or has his flying monkeys do it for him.

Bottom line, don’t declaw your cats, except in cases of medical necessity (for the cat).  Declawing can actually increase aggression in cats, causing them to lash out by biting rather than scratching.  A cat bite is far more likely to send you to the emergency room than a scratch.  It is better to treat the cat for aggression, either by finding healthy outlets (play and personal territory), behavioral medication, or rehoming if you are unable to give them the attention they need.  Declawing a cat because you don’t want it to scratch your furniture/carpets/curtains is animal cruelty.  It’s not like removing fingernails.  It’s cutting off the top knuckle of their hands.  It is the equivalent of binding women’s feet (Google that if you don’t know what I’m talking about).  I will never care more about my carpets than I do about the living creatures I agreed to care for.

 

And now you know why I don’t drink and blog.

2 Comments

Filed under Ramblings, Rants