I was a shop assistant for a long time.
I spent the better part of my late teens and early twenties working everywhere from ice-cream shops, to high-end retail. I wore little paper hats and collared uniforms and plastic aprons and expensive dresses that we had to sneak back onto the shop floor after wearing.
But none of these jobs lasted very long, because I was usually fired for either eating in front of customers, or sleeping in the changerooms on my lunch break.
But even during those long years where my days were split into shifts, and food courts became my second home; I never bonded with my fellow sales assistants. In fact, for as long as I can remember, I’ve disliked shop assistants of any kind; a burning, unjustified, undeserved fury for any man or woman who dare approach me whilst I am shopping.
And I am not alone.
Women become vicious creatures when shopping (particularly if the item in question is a bikini). We are often on a strict time limit and an even stricter budget; hunting down an item so specific that we can almost SEE it before we know what it looks like.
As an example, the last shopping adventure I went on was in search of a long, striped, jumpsuit with a wide leg and slightly inappropriate neckline. You know what I walked out with? A long, striped, jumpsuit with a wide leg and slightly inappropriate neckline.
And it took me 20 minutes.
It is my utmost belief, you see, that the success of a shopping trip exists in direct correlation with the involvement of the sales assistants.
Take boutique #1.
The 23-year-old Media/Comms student who is working there is desperately trying to make her day’s budget so she can slam that staff discount down on the $950 Miu Miu stilettoes she’s been eyeing off since the start of semester. And you? You’re nothing but a little hamster in her wheel.
Your first mistake is making eye contact. She can smell your fear.
Your second mistake is getting into the changeroom. You’re trapped.
And then the routine begins: how does the medium feel? Can I grab you another size? We have a top that’s really similar. What is it you’re looking for? Is it for a special occasion? Did you have something in mind? Don’t you just love deconstructed Jean Paul Gaultier?
By this point, you’re trapped in a one metre square cube without a mirror, pulling desperately at a satin cami in the wrong size down over your boobs and sweating so profusely that you can almost detect notes of last Wednesday night’s pinot binge.