Clothes Shopping: Doing What I Don’t Like To Do And Telling You All About It

The Facts.  I went clothes shopping yesterday afternoon.  I dislike shopping for clothes.  Yet I forced myself to get out there and buy something to wear this fall.

I wore: Josef Seibel sandals (from Dillard’s), Diane Von Furstenberg capris (from Kohl’s), Lands End t-shirt (from Sears) + simple jewelry (from Tiffany’s*).  I was carrying a Baggallini cloth purse (purchased online) which is lightweight and expandable.  For me, this is a typical shopping for clothes outfit;  I wear clothes that I can get in & out of easily.  But in this case I didn’t have on even one piece of clothing from the stores I was going to.  This was probably an oversight on my part.

I went to a lifestyle center where I could park my car in one spot, then walk along outside to these four women’s clothing stores that are almost side-by-side.


•  First I went to Talbots.  This is not my most favorite store, but I admit that they do have clothes that are well-made and age-appropriate in decent colors.  Usually.

A sales woman dressed in black [isn’t that out of fashion?] greeted me when I walked into the store.  She then took one look at me, turned around and went to the back of the store.  After I picked up a few items to try on a young guy came over to me and offered to put my items in a dressing room.  I never saw him again.

After trying on a number of clothes, I decided to buy a few things.  So I folded what I wanted, took my purchases to the cash register counter and waited for the one employee at the register to ring up all the customers standing in line.  During my wait the first woman appeared, looked at all of us waiting to buy items, turned around and went back to wherever she was hiding.

It was a disappointing shopping experience.  I give Talbots a C-.

•  Next I went to Ann Taylor.  I love the style of clothes in this store.

A sales woman working behind the cash register counter enthusiastically greeted me when I walked into the store.  She explained the deals to me & smiled at me.  I looked around the store, but saw nothing that I needed now.  This made me sad because I wanted to buy something there.  So I said “thank you” and went on my way.  The sales woman said “good-bye” and told me to stop back again.  She was still smiling.

It was a lovely shopping experience.  I give Ann Taylor a B+.

•  Next I went to Chico’s.  I have a love-hate relationship with this store.  My style is not glittery and flow-y, but the clothes are well-made & the accessories are great. So I go in there when I’m near one just to see what they’ve got going on.

A  sales woman greeted me immediately as I entered the store.  She told me about the deals.  After I began to collect items to try on a different sales woman came over, took my items to a dressing room and then checked back as I was trying on clothes to see what I might need to resize.  She was helpful.

When I went to buy some items I did not wait in line because three employees were running cash registers.  The store was hopping and the vibe was fun which made me happy.

It was a wonderful shopping experience.  I give Chico’s an A.

•  Last I went to Coldwater Creek.  This store is popular around here and I like some of their clothes, some of the time, when the colors are not muddied and the textures are not too nubbly.

No one said a word to me when I walked into the store.  I wandered around, collecting items to try on– while carrying two large shopping bags from other stores.  No one offered to take my clothes to a dressing room for me.  No one offered to grab a blouse off the higher rack for me.  No one noticed that I existed.

I found myself a dressing room, tried on some clothes, re-dressed myself, went back out onto the sales floor carrying my two large shopping bags from other stores, found what I needed, returned to the same dressing room, and tried on some more clothes.  I then decided to buy a few items which I took to the cash register desk.

Here I found two employees at the cash registers ringing up customers while both employees carried on an involved [grandma one-upmanship] conversation with three other women who were [supposedly] shopping in the store.  I felt like an intruder within their [60-something] clique, but I have to admit that as the employee handed me my purchases she did manage to say “thank you.”  So there’s that.

It was a frustrating shopping experience.  I give Coldwater Creek a D+.


The Conclusion.  I really have no insightful conclusion to this story.  Yes, I got some clothes.  Yes, I had a tolerable time clothes shopping.  I guess.

But what could have been one of the best afternoons of fall– filled with lots of new clothes & warm memories– was, as usual, a trial.  A struggle to find something that fit.  A struggle to find a sales employee who was attentive.  A struggle.

And I just don’t think that is how clothes shopping should be.  But it is.


* Upon hearing this story, Zen-Den took it personally that my jewelry from Tiffany’s did not help me get noticed or good service in two of these stores.  From his POV, this shopping trip did not offer the predicted ROI that he was expecting from sinking his monies into platinum & diamonds!  He’s so sweet.

[Well hello there FTC!  It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?  But today, because I’m talking about specific stores, I want to let you know that I was in no way compensated for my opinions about what happened to me when I went clothes shopping.  We’re good, FTC.  Right?]

What We Didn’t Do Over The Weekend

The weather was supposed to be clear and warm over the weekend.  THAT’S WHAT THEY SAID.  So I planned accordingly.  I thought that we’d take the weekend off from our usual home improvement projects and goof-off instead… but that was not to be.


I thought that we’d go to a rural county park on the other side of the city.  We go there a couple of times a year.  We like to walk the trails which take you through groves of wildflowers + into farmlands + beside horse paths + near a stream.  But we didn’t do that.

Then on Saturday night I thought that we’d have a cookout for the two of us with burgers + grilled veggies, cold beer and perfectly toasted marshmallows courtesy of moi.  I figured that we’d kick back and enjoy our deck for a few hours.  But we didn’t do that.

On Sunday morning I thought that we’d go to an outdoor antique show (which is more flea market than an antique show) at a county fair grounds.  We like going there because it’s filled with all sorts of old stuff and costs only $3.00 per person.  It’s a fun way to get lost in time.  But we didn’t do that.

Then on Sunday afternoon I thought that we’d spend some time sitting down in The Spoon [the lowest level of our terraced forest backyard].  I figured that we could just do nothing or read our books or play some backgammon or whatever.  But we didn’t do that.


All of which leads me to the real point of this post that: PLANS CHANGE OFTEN.  And that instead of grumbling about this truth, I’d do well to remember the following Rules of Life by Robin Patricia Williams that I keep on a sticky note on my desktop because, well— they are the rules of life.  And because, clearly, I need to refer to them often.


As some of you have figured out already, I’ve had quite a bit of difficulty getting the following to show up here on this post.  I’m going to try it one. more. time.   Then if it doesn’t work, I’m going to go drown my sorrows in a cold adult beverage.  Of course, if it does work, there’s a good chance that I’m going to go celebrate my victory with a cold adult beverage.  From my point of view, this last attempt at posting The [Revised] Rules of Life is a no-lose proposition.



We Caved

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Remember two weeks ago when I told you that I had absolutely nothing planned for the week?  That I was going to spend my days in quiet contemplation with a book or writing or just being?  I was in a very good mood when I wrote that.  Possibility awaited me.

Well, that didn’t happen.  Practicality showed up instead.

You see, without any advanced warning, workers from the sprinkler installation company arrived– and began installing a sprinkler system in our front  & back yards.  A sprinkler system that we’ve tried to do without for all 13 years that we’ve lived here.  A sprinkler system that we reluctantly decided to buy.

A sprinkler system that says to the world: yes, we’ve been assimilated.  We are… suburban.

I remember when we first moved to this area we surprised our friends & relatives by voluntarily living like this.  Suburban, that is.  We’d always lived within walking distances of restaurants and grocery stores and parks.  We’d been in high-rise apartment buildings and historic preservation districts and old-fashioned city suburbs.  But never in exurbia, outside the ebb & flow of a city.

However, be that as it may, for the most part this has been a good way to live.  I’ll admit that.  Having space within your home and quiet outside your house is delightful.  And Z-D loves to come back home from his workplace in the city to an area that is nothing like the city.

So if having a sprinkler system is part and parcel of this choice, then I guess I need to accept that caving on this subject might not be the worst idea ever.  In fact, I suspect that come mid-August I’m going to think that a sprinkler system is the most brilliant thing that we’ve ever done around here.

Having come to the mature realization that: Resistance was futile.

My Weekend Summarized Into Two Sentences

 When asked what color they stained their deck, she replied:

“It’s a color called– NOT THE ONE I PICKED OUT.”

 While in the process of staining the deck when asked by her husband where she was going, she replied:

“I’ll be back.  I just need to change my clothes– BECAUSE I HAVE TOO MANY SPLINTERS IN MY BUTT.” 

… So how was everyone else’s weekend.  Did we have fun?

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{Photos added 05.22.12 for Margaret… because she asked.}

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{Please Note: the deck color that you see here is a warm pearl gray instead of a light golden oak as originally planned.  Fortunately our bricks have a gray undertone in them + our siding is SW Agreeable Gray so this “NOT THE ONE I PICKED OUT” color coordinates just fine.  No harm done, really.  In fact, Z-D really likes it so maybe it was meant to be.}

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Yes, Yes, But NO!


•  Yes, it is wonderful that the home accessories & furniture that we purchased from Pottery Barn & L.L.Bean arrived on time or 4 days early.  And that all items were packed PERFECTLY… allowing for the inexplicable delivery incompetence that followed.

•  Yes, it is wonderful to know that $800.00 worth of merchandise can sit in our driveway in front of our garage door ALL NIGHT IN THE POURING RAIN without anyone or anything in our neighborhood stealing or destroying it.

•  But NO!, it is not wonderful to find out that UPS thought it was acceptable to leave said merchandise in our driveway without telling us that it was there.


In what is yet another example of the subtle irony that infuses my life, confuses my mind and exasperates my soul, Zen-Den got home from work some time before 6:00 p.m. last night.  [Rather unusual, but he knew that I was making scallops + orzo for dinner– and that boy is a nut for scallops.]  If he had come home later, as is his wont, then he would have stumbled over the boxes in front of the garage.  But, of course, that is not what happened.

I’ve had merchandise left in the driveway before, but in those situations the delivery person: 1) rang the bell;  2) knocked on the door;  &/or 3) left a post-it note attached to the sidelights around the front door so that it would be noticed from inside the house.  NONE of those things happened last night.

Instead, here’s what happened.  UPS delivered the merchandise some time after Z-D got home.  We know not when.  Both of us can testify that no one came to the door to alert us to the fact that our stuff was here.  Plus, being the reasonably prudent people that we are, we even opened the front door before going to bed to make sure that our new stuff wasn’t sitting on our front stoop or that there was a note stuck to our front door.


We were lucky that when we found the water-drenched corrugated cardboard boxes this morning at 7:00 a.m., they had held tight so that our two lamps + lamp shades AND three side tables DIDN’T suffer any irreparable damage.  However, I’m NOT HAPPY that my stuff was left out in the rain all night.  Would you be?

All of which brings me to the point of this rant.  UPS CAN DO BETTER.

And that, my friends, is all I have to say.  Thank you for listening.


[Photo on the left from Pottery Barn: Sutter Adjustable Lever Lamp + Linen Tapered Drum Lamp Shade]

[Photo on the right from L.L.Bean: Black Painted Cottage 2 Shelf Side Table]

[Well hello there FTC!  Very long time no see.  I haven’t been specific in my posts of late so there’s been no need for me to add this sort of disclaimer.  But today’s post is different, so let me assure you that I was in no way compensated for my opinions about the above items & situation.  We good?  Take care then.  See you later, no doubt.]

The State Of Our “To Do” List

I am glad that it’s the beginning of a new week.  All our doing last week just about did me in.  It was stressful.

On the upside, we finished 3 projects.  The mail box post, which we repaired & painted, is now sporting a new shiny black mailbox.  The inside molding around the new [non-leaky] window in the bathroom is caulked & painted.  And the dingy old sheer panels on the home study’s French doors are tea-dyed a lovely shade of tan, ironed & back in place.

On the other hand, we started about a dozen more projects that for one reason or another we couldn’t finish.  I really wanted to have more projects completed by now, but everywhere we turned we encountered obstacles.  Weather.  Indecisiveness.  Lack of supplies.  Whatever we wanted not available.  No-shows by tradesmen.  Hours spent online trying to find furniture/accessories that will fit into our small room dimensions.  And on & on it went.

Four years ago when we decided to stay in this house & remodel/update it, I had no idea that we’d still be working on it today.  I thought that 1 year– maybe 2 years, tops— would be all the time that we’d need to re-do the house.  Not that I thought that everything in the house would be completely finished, mind you;  I just figured that we’d be where we should be for people living in a thirteen year old house.

However, despite my above grumbling, I will say that the progress we made last week is wonderful & encouraging.  I’d even venture to say that with one more week like this last one, we’ll have all the bones of our house in place.  Then there will be photos for you, my gentle readers– & a long-awaited sense of completion & belonging for me.

Until then, ever onward go I.

{An observation: this situation reminds me of when I got my Master’s degree.  I planned for it to take me 3 years, but for one reason or another it took my 6 1/2 years to complete.  Near the end of my studies, I didn’t care what courses I took.  I just wanted the whole process finished so I could move on with my life.  Same feeling here & now.}

Pretty Flowers, Itchy Eyes

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I’m feeling tired this week.

No energy for writing posts– or doing much of anything else.

While I admit that it is pretty outside now, there’s too much pollen in the air for my liking.

My eyes itch.  My sinuses hurt.  And I’m grumpy.

So I’ll be taking some allergy meds to manage my symptoms and lying low for the next week or two.

Take care everyone.  See ‘ya later.

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