There are so many reasons why I hate shopping, and being disrespected at a store tops the list.
Last week, a friend and I browsed University Boulevard for a gift for my mom. Having heard that Grand Central Clothing only looks overpriced and misplaced from the exterior, I stepped into the store and immediately began my search for a present.
Everything about Grand Central Clothing looks like it belongs in Beverly Hills, hence the misplacement of being in Tucson, Arizona, a considerably less superficial, materialistic city (I still love L.A., believe it or not). There are tons of pastel-colored sun dresses by the large glass doors. The top 40 billboard songs blast throughout the store and trickle out to the nearby Espresso Art coffee shop. Even one of the tall, thin girls behind the counter is from upscale Orange County, California.
I knew this particular employee. She was best friends and Delta Gamma sorority sisters with my freshman roommate. The two of us caught up before I decided to look at candles with my friend.
“Can I help you find anything?” asked the other worker.
“No, thank you,” I replied, having already picked out a French Vanilla candle.
Once that was out of the way, my friend and I migrated over to the jewelry counter, where we looked at necklaces. There was no reason to go straight to the cash register if we wanted to look around more.
But my friend and I didn’t get the most welcoming vibe. We were talking about serious issues, trying to ignore the fact that this other employee was staring us down as we leafed through the jewelry on display.
“Why don’t I put that candle behind the counter for you?” asked the employee who’d been watching us.
Call us crazy, but my friend and I felt insulted by this gesture. The other worker knew me, so I’d have to be a huge moron to take something so indiscreetly in front of an acquaintance. Having never stolen anything in my life, I felt violated and disrespected to be even considered a suspect. There was no reason to be so suspicious of two customers just wanting to look through a store.
Maybe there’s a specific dress code required to enter Grand Central Clothing. Both of the workers wore long, colorful skirts while I had on a red ZONA ZOO t-shirt, American Eagle shorts, and a really messy pony tail. Sorry I forgot to wear my Jimmy Choo’s and bring my Louis Vuitton purse before intruding into the store.
You can argue that the employee was simply trying to help or follow store policy, but judging by the way she watched every step we made throughout the store, she didn’t seem to trust us, for whatever reason. I bought the candle, but I won’t go back to a shop that mistreats customers. I would have stayed longer had I not felt insulted.
Many of the stores on University try to look out for youthful thieves, but not so unfairly and arbitrarily. All the workers at Pitaya are friendly, funny, helpful, and non-discriminatory. They don’t stalk or assume the worst about customers. They only ask that big bags and backpacks stay out of the dressing rooms. Urban Outfitters employees leave all shoppers alone entirely. American Apparel employees greet everyone at the door and offer to start dressing rooms. All clothing boutiques have to take necessary precautions, but Grand Central Clothing is the only accusatory one.
Grand Central Clothing has cute summer attire and a classy atmosphere, but I won’t support a store that distrusts harmless consumers.