There's nothing like wasting gas driving around on a weekend looking to buy clothes, specifically pants, yet finding nothing to wear. I don't mean that there are clothes to buy but I don't like the styles (which is partially true) but rather, the refusal of stores to have clothes which are my size.
When I shop, I'm ready to spend money. Maybe not thousands of dollars in one shot but certainly enough to dent the bank account. I try to do this several times a year so over the course of one year, the amount of money I would be willing to spend is not inconsequential.
Yet apparently the new rule is that stores will only cater to hippos and not those of us who are fit and trim. I've never been a big guy and so have always had difficulty finding clothes to wear. Of late though, it seems that stores have made the conscious decision to only serve the typical fat American.
I have written to several well known department stores and one or two retailers about their lack of selection to no avail. Granted, I did use the words 'stupid' and 'incompetent' to describe the buyers for these stores, which probably isn't the best way to elicit change, but there isn't really any other way to describe the mentality of those who refuse to listen to the customer. The typical responses I got back include:
"We are sorry to learn that you have had difficulty finding your size in our stores. As we transition to (name withheld to protect the guilty) the clothing selection may differ somewhat from merchandise previously carried by (name withheld to protect the guilty) and may better suit your needs."
"We have forwarded your message to the buyers of Men's clothing for their review and consideration. We are in the process of making changes in all of our stores. We will be offering new and exciting apparel in all of our clothing departments."
After visiting these same stores for the last few months, including during the supposedly important Christmas shopping season, nothing has changed. Well, that's not entirely true. One store did have four pairs of pants in my size, all the same color, so I was able to purchase one pair of new pants but on the whole, nada. The same crappy selection of sizes. If you have a beer gut, no problem, they have your size. If you take care of yourself and can't gain weight no matter how many cows you eat, you're out of luck.
Think I'm kidding? I have seen waist sizes for pants which have the length I need (29 inches) go from 31 to 44. What happened to the 29 and 30 inch waists? Apparently people like me don't exist. We're freaks of nature.
What is even more disconcerting is that the women's department in stores have entire areas devoted to the petite size but there is no corresponding attempt to cater to men who don't look like they're about to give birth. Saks Fifth Avenue even had to put back their petite women's section due to the uproar from women who couldn't wear the clothes in the "normal" sizes.
I know what you're thinking. Suck it up. It must be horrible to have a thin waist and not gain weight. Well think again. While it is nice to be able to eat as much as one wants and not gain weight, it is quite another thing to constantly shuffle from store to store, begging and pleading with the hired help to get clothes in that you can wear only to be told they do occasionally get in one or two pieces in the size you are looking for but they sell out quickly.
Gee thanks. One or two pieces. Logic would dictate that if a store has an item that sells out immediately, that store should get more of that product on the shelves to be sold. Apparently logic has no place in the retail clothes industry as I stop in at every store I pass by and all have the same range of sizes to be had.
However, the fact that stores refuse to carry pants in sizes that I can wear has made my purchasing decisions that much easier since there is no longer a reason to shop at these stores. In fact, the following stores are now on my list of stores not to bother shopping at:
The Bon Ton
There are others who are close to being on my list but for now, those listed folks have lost my business forever. I have no doubt that my business will not be missed and my words will not be heeded by anyone who has the capacity to affect change in the buying habits of these stores but what I have said, needs to be said.
The days of listening to ones customers and providing the goods and services that people want are long gone. Rare is the moment that someone does what is necessary to keep the customer happy and this attitude of indifference is exactly why the only way for businesses to grow is to raise prices, not sell more product.
The next time you're in one of the above stores, take a look at the size selection, you'll see what I mean. If you work for one of the above stores, don't bother writing and telling me that my words have been heeded and your size selection expanded. You've had your chance. Many chances. You chose to ignore your customer's simple wishes and now that the truth of your incompetence is being brought to light, you are trying to cover your asses.
Too bad, so sad. There are still a few places that the fit and trim can find clothes to buy and I will continue to seek out new ones. To those I have left behind, have no fear. The next generation of hippos is coming along nicely.