J.CrucialToday 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 Target t-shirt, red flip-flops, 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 glanced at my (typed) list:· Khaki pants
· 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 as well). 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.”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.
“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 over budget a tad,” 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.”Beep!
“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.”