Sunday, September 9, 2012

843. J.Crucial

Today I went to my local J.Crew store to stock up on a few necessary wardrobe items.  I instantly fell in love with everything in the store.  All those rich autumn colors, all that glorious wool and cashmere and tweed … it’s like the mannequins were calling my name.  Before I knew it, my arms were overloaded with shiny essentials.  The friendly clerk—I named him Johnny Crew in my head—asked if he could start a fitting room for me. 

“Sure,” I gushed, “that would be awesome.”  I may no longer be the appropriate age of the J.Crew desired demographic, but I am at least within a decade (or three).  I knew that “awesome” was still the right word to use.    
Johnny Crew walked me back to the dressing room area, which was surrounded by full-length mirrors.  I immediately noticed that I looked about six feet tall and a size 2 in these mirrors. 

“Johnny?” I said, noticing how he did not flinch when I called him that even though his nametag read Wyatt, “Johnny, what is the deal with these mirrors?” 
“So glad you noticed!” Johnny-Wyatt enthused.  “The new slimming mirrors have, like, tripled our sales since they were installed.” 

I stood there gazing adoringly at myself in my attractive black sweatpants and faded Target t-shirt, red flip-flops, fraying baseball hat, and still-wet hair.  I looked good.  These sweatpants did not even have a hole in them (that I could see from the front anyway).     
Johnny had hung up all the Fall essentials on the narrow metal rods lining my dressing room.  Just this morning when I was back at home, I had looked at my pathetic wardrobe and decided something needed to be done.  With that in mind, I now glanced at my (typed) list to make sure I had not forgotten anything: 

·         Khaki pants
·         Jeans
·         Black pants
·         Basic black skirt
·         Leather belt
·         Tan skirt
·         White blouse
·         Tweed jacket
·         Silk top
·         Black sweater (pull-over)
·         Red cardigan sweater
·         Striped t-shirt
·         Black ballet flats
·         Gray tights
·         New socks

I had mentioned to The Husband that I would be going to J.Crew to stock up.  He replied predictably, “Well, now that you finally have a job, I really don’t care what you waste your own money on.”  That meant I could buy whatever I wanted!   
Luckily, everything I tried on fit and looked great (thanks to the new mirrors, which I was internally vowing to have installed all over my house the minute I got home).  I went to the cash register to pay for all my goodies. 

“Wow,” said a different clerk (I had named her Jane Crew in my head), “you are being so smart to buy everything mix and match so it will all coordinate.  These are perfect neutral basics.” 
I smiled at Jane.  She was right about me and my smart shopping skills. 

She totaled up the prices of the clothes and started to get out some tissue paper so the delicate sweaters could safely make the difficult trek home in my car to my house a full five miles away.
Then she turned to me and said something really, really mean.  Something I could not believe a salesperson would be allowed to say to a shopper without getting fired. 

“That will be $3497.65, please.” 
“Wait, how much?”  I was shocked.  This is apparently what I get for not looking at the price tags when I shop, a somewhat new habit I had adopted half an hour ago. 

She cleared her throat, like a stage actress.  “I said, $3497.65.” 
I looked in my walled at the four crisp twenty dollar bills I had just taken out of the ATM for this specific shopping excursion. 

“Umm, well, I think I went a tad over budget,” I mumbled.  “Please remove, uh, can you take the socks off?” 
Jane re-scanned the socks and set them behind her on a shelf.  There, I knew that would make all the difference! 

“Okay, ma’am, then your new total is $3411.42.” 
Whew, that had helped, but not as much as I needed. 

“Please subtract the black sweater, I think I might have one already that would work.” 

“Your new total is $3218.09.” 
This went on for quite some time until the people in line behind me were shuffling around impatiently and whispering to each other.  Yeah, like they had never gone over budget by $3000! 

Finally, we were left with just the khaki pants. 
Jane squinted at the register total.  “This can’t be right,” she said.  “I have a negative $266.  That means I owe YOU $266 plus the khaki pants.” 

I was not about to argue with her, as she clearly knew what she was doing. 
“Okay, Jane, that sounds good.  And I would prefer my refund all in fifties if it is not too much trouble.” 



  1. hee hee hee...I wish I could consider the money I save by being a fashion ignoramus, but for the good of my daughter, I should really get a clue...but somewhere other than the Crew perhaps!

    1. maybe they should change the name to J.Cash?

  2. I blame the distracting mirrors. How could you be expected to pay attention to the price tags when you looked so darn amazing in those mirrors. Please do let me know when you find those on sale. I surely need some in my house too.

    1. I have solved that problem (where to buy the mirrors). I am just moving into the J.Crew store. It will be easier, plus I really like the sofa next to their dressing rooms.

  3. I used to shop at J Crew in college and early work days (late 90's early '00's) but had to stop because their prices got RIDICULOUS! I honestly haven't looked at a catalog or the website since. I know they still have cute clothes but really!!

    1. I know! I mean, $185 for a TANK TOP????? wha?? $400 for a plain little dress? A sweater is $360? I guess I can maybe afford a sleeve..........

  4. I love your tactics - you confused her so much, she owed you money. I'm shopping with you from now on ha ha ha

  5. Wow! That was a serious shopping trip. :-) I'm often amazed at the prices of clothes in certain stores. I don't quite understand where they come up with those numbers.

  6. This takes me back to my first "real" job in college, when I worked at J.Crew and blew the majority of my paychecks on clothes. Ah, those were the days. Unfortunately, I was not smart like you and would inevitably splurge on the wackiest, boldest colors we had in stock. Every time, I'd be telling myself, "Earth tones! Grays! Black! Neutrals!" But then I'd set eyes on a pair of tangerine capris, and it would all be over. Unsurprisingly, very few of those clothes still live in my closet.

    I kind of want to blog about my poor wardrobe choices now. Thanks for the idea! ;)

  7. Thank goodness I have never been to (or heard of) J. Crew. I have been shopping on ebay lately and scoring some great deals...whoop whoop!

  8. I loved this story! Sounds like something I would so do if I ever allowed myself to shop outside of Target :) Fun to read and congrats--you have to be the first person in history to actually make $ at J Crew!

  9. I'm kind of torn. I hate shopping, trying on clothes, and spending money. But on the other hand I do love a good mirror.

  10. I added up one page of Talbots' catalogue. Over $1500. WOW. I don't spend that kind of $ on anything

  11. In college I knew someone who would go into stores and there would be no second glance at prices. Her Dad was very well off. I on the other hand trolled thrift stores and would sneak food out of the lunchroom in case I got hungry later. I think a dream come true would be to go into a store and buy whatever I can dream! Great post!
    Blessings, Joanne


When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)