Hobbs has a fantastic on sale so I had to go in. I’m being followed by a blond sales assistant who compliments every single dress I put my hands on. Then insists to take a dark blue floaty number to the dressing room for me to try. I begin dodgging her around the shop when another sales assistant has me cornered. I give her a skirt to take to the dressing room. She still lurks around looking at white shirts.
Just wanted to see what this skirt might go with, she says.
I know exactly what it goes with, I think, and it’s at home in my closet!
I give her a white top to take upstairs. No harm trying it on, I figure. She returns almost immediately. I hand her a couple more dresses just to get her out of my face. I contemplate a pair of slip-on sandals. I try them on and they hug my foot like a handsome lover. They are gorgeous. As soon as I decide the black pair is the better choice, my shaddow reappears and suggests the brown one goes with my nail polish! I tell her I prefer the black. As I put my black boots back on and trying to hide my holed sport socks, she proceeds to ask about how my day is and all I want is to punch her to shut up. I can’t make conversation when I’m thinking whether I should get the sandals or the skirt because I can’t afford both. I sigh and go upstairs to the changing room instead. I see the first dress (that the blonde had brought – damn, I had forgotten about the blonde) in another cubicle and I take it in to try as well. While I try to push it down my thighs, I hear the two shop assistants arguing on the other side of my curtain. I pull it open to let them know they have both helped me and I have all the clothes I wanted to try. The blond won’t give up and I really want to punch someone now.
Come here, the light is better, she says ushering me to a large scale mirror once I finally manage to occupy the dress with all the parts of my body that needed to go in.
Yeah, all right, I look good in the dress. If only I had some royal wedding to go to!
Look, you can wear it with a scarf, she says and puts a floral (granny-might-wear) silk scarf on my shoulder.
Yeah, I know what I can wear it with, I snap and rush back into the cubicle before I slap her.
I try the skirt. It looks bloody fantastic. I think I’m gonna get it, I say to myself.
Do you need some help with the zipper? says the blonde again.
What I really need is to push you down the stairs now, I think. I’m not a rich woman who likes to be fussed over and I happen to know what looks good on me and what doesn’t – in fact I have a styling diploma at home in a drawer gathering dust – and I sure as hell don’t need your opinion.
I’m fine all by myself, thank you, I say instead.
By now I’m fuming. If the bloody skirt didn’t look so bloody amazing on me I’d make a run for it. I take a peek out to make sure she’s gone and quickly make my way to the till to pay for the skirt and get the hell out.
The blonde gives me a disappointed look. I take my bag and glance at the sandals one last time. I spot the first shop assistant who had the decency to leave me alone in the end and thanked her for her help before I dash out of Hobbs.
Somehow, I feel weirdly violated by the experience. I get it that Hobbs shop assistants are trained American-style and probably make their commission based on the items that they help sell, but any good salesman, just like a good waiter, should know when they are needed and when to… make an understatement.
Now, about those sandals…