Monday, January 7, 2008

Apparel shopping for the horizontally challenged!

After repeated vain attempts at trying to buy clothes of my size in most retail establishments, I have become a very discerning shopper. I usually window shop and if I really like something, I have a covert process of size identification. I start with a study of the lay of the shop. With some casual glances, I can make out whether the store is truly customer friendly or is just out to make money.

One of the best ways to figure that out, is to see if sizes about 40 waist size are available. You see, capitalistic money minded business types will figure out the fact it is a waste of shelf space to place clothes of large sizes. The general trend I guess, is to figure out a bell curve of the demand of the sizes and then cut off the upper and lower ends, so as to maintain a constant demand
across SKUs. Bleeding buggers. Bleeding money minded buggers.

The good stores, the ones that feel they need to cater to all sizes of human beings and doesn’t discriminate against the lesser than Adonis shaped are to be praised, even if they might take a hit on inventory especially for the large sizes.

So, an initial analysis of the shop usually turns up the following info. Usually, they place pieces in ascending order of sizes. So, looking from the bottom up usually provides the best way to figure out the size availablilty. But it can also be possible for larger sizes not to be placed in the main rack as their demand is less. So, then I casually enquire about the available sizes to the nearest sales guy, making it appear like, its more out of curiosity than a immediate desire to buy it.

Another way of figuring out a good shop is the way the sales guys respond to you. In the Penny Pinchers United places, you can be sure that they would size u up and not waste too much time with you. But in the All Are Welcome establishments, the salespeople are more genuinely friendly and helping.

Then again even within the friendly and helping type of salespeople, there are different categories of helpful staff. Take two examples.

Me: (holding onto a amazing looking and rather largish pair of cargoes) So, these look like a new style for x brand, right? Are these comfortable?
Dull salesguy: Yes, sir. Very nice, very comfortable. John Abraham looked awesome in this in Goal. You want to try it on?
Me:(thinking) Goal? There are other people who were unfortunate enough to see that sad movie?
Me:(out loud) Oh no.. no.. I am just looking. So is this available in all sizes?
DS:all the way upto 36 sir.
Me:(thinking) All the way? What does he mean all the way when that’s just like 3 sizes? Its not even interesting. Boring cargoes.. who wears them anyway?
Me:(out loud) oh! Wow! I’ll come back later. Thanks

On the other hand, a smarter salesguy might be a little bit more enterprising

Me: (desperately wishing this pair of amazing trousers would fit) What all sizes do u have of these trousers?
Smarter sales guy: Sir, these don’t have extra large sizes. What we can do, is take thelargest size, and increase the width by about two inches. Why don’t u try this on, and see how much difference is there?
Me: heh,..heh… no, no I am just browsing. Maybe I’ll come back later. But how much is it?
SSG: Only the cost of an arm and a leg.
Me: Only? Wow! Let me try it on then!
Me: (struggling to fit into it inside the fitting room) Damn this infernal metabolism. I wish I was like those guys who eat everything and don’t gain weight….
Me: (outside the fitting room) No, this doesn’t feel correct. Also, I bought two pants last week. I was just trying it out. Thanks, man!
SSG: Sir, we can increase the width if u want.
Me: No, No.. its not that. I didn’t like the fit at all…
SSG: Ok sir… we also have some track pants which are very elastic if u like.
Me: (Thinking) Next he’ll be telling me he’s got good maternity wear....

And after all this, the joy of actually being able to get a piece that fits in really amazing. Of course the joy is usually short lived and the remaining desperate times of unavailability are usually characterized by a desire to just get stuff stiched!

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