Adventures in Acquiring Lacquer: Suits & Shoplifters

I go to law school in small town in North Florida. Our local beauty shops are pitiful so most colors I either buy blind or based on online swatches. Even the chain beauty shops are severely lacking so there’s really no hope for seeing new collections in person. This is one of the reasons I was so excited to return to my native South Florida to do my summer internship for the State Attorney’s Office. South Florida is like the nail polish promised land, really.

I stayed with my parents this summer. My mother has come to accept and, even, take pride in my nail polish collecting so she would on occasion humor me by stopping at malls on the way home from work (we carpooled). Most of the time she would go run other errands and let me traipse through beauty shops on my own. For me, beauty shops that carry nail polish are like magical wonderlands, I can easily occupy myself for hours literally – this ability, I’m sure, seems really suspicious to shop attendants. And that’s where the story that prompted this post begins.

Like I said, my mom would drop me off at these beauty shops on our way home from work and since I worked for the State, I wore a suit and a yellow very ‘official’ looking name tag. If anyone had bothered to look closer, they would have seen that my title was “volunteer”. But no one did, so I just walked around looking like someone important. In my suit, I could browse beauty shops forever unimpeded. I rarely buy anything, only because I pretty much refuse to pay full retail for nail polish with few exceptions. But I definitely do buy when there is sale so I like to visit beauty shops often. Most of the time, shop attendants would either be annoyingly attempt to be over-helpful (which is silly, of course, not to sound like an jerk, but beauty shop sales associates are NOTORIOUSLY uninformed  when it comes to nail polish and well… uh… I’m disgustingly well-informed) or they would just smile and leave me to my own devices.

One particular shop, which also happened to be the shop that had the most nail polish and required the most browsing, was attended by a small boy with a wispy mustache and red highlighted hair that dangled over his eyes. Think: beauty shop emo.

The first time I went to the store in a suit, he smiled and let me browse. The next time, he asked me, “What do you do for a living?” I replied, “Actually, I’m just a student now, I’m interning with the State Attorney’s Office.” He didn’t know what the State Attorney’s Office was or what they did. Despite my best efforts to explain that State Attorneys prosecute crimes, I don’t think he really understood the purpose of the office or my role at the office. He asked, “Okay, I get that you want to be a lawyer but, like, what do you do right now?” I explained that I interned for the homicide and major crimes division and that my boss was responsible for trying high profile homicides in our area. Shocked, he said, “So uh, you have to look at pictures of dead bodies and stuff?” I said, “Well, yea, crime scenes and autopsies.” Then I looked away back to nail polish.

I wasn’t so much annoyed by the exchange as I was interested in discontinuing the communication in order to further pursue my nail polish browsing. I didn’t really understand why he was talking to me, I figured that he was bored, and that was fine, but my mom would be back soon – the clock was ticking on my browsing time. Then he said, “You know, I could never do that… .” “Do what” I thought as I looked back at him. He said, “Oh no, looking at dead bodies, no no no.” He looked around, then he whispered in an ‘I see dead people’ sort of way… “I’m a… a… sensitive.” My inner monologue was as follows: “You’re a WHAT? – Where is this conversation going? Oh, for Pete’s… geez, really? I just want to look at nail polish – why does something like this ALWAYS happen.” So I let him tell me about his ‘gift’ and I politely listened. He was harmless enough and I told myself I could just come back on another day to browse some more.

And I did, this time, not in a suit because it was a weekend. My mom and I were shopping for sensible work shoes because the ultra high heeled ball-crushers I had been wearing were only cool for about a minute. It took just one walk from the court house to the office to convince me that something less fierce would be more pragmatic. I was wearing my typical weekend type stuff, jeans, shirt, sweater, sneakers, etc. My mother wore something similar. I didn’t look like a complete ragamuffin but it wasn’t one of my more fashionable days. The minute, and I really mean, the exact minute we walked into the store the same attendant moved from behind the counter, where he had stood for the entire duration of our previous exchange. My mother and I made our way to the OPI kiosk and he quickly made his way over to us and began to hover. I worked retail all throughout high-school and part of college so I knew exactly what he was doing – he thought we were shoplifters.

This was offensive to me on so many levels. First of all, I was with my Mother. MY MOTHER. Who on Earth would steal cosmetics in the presence of their MOTHER. Especially my poor dear wonderful Mother, the hardest worker known to man, so innocent in her existence that she gets upset with me when I blaspheme even though we’re not religious. Second, I’m a nail polish is my hobby – why would I ever steal nail polish? Third and most importantly, he hadn’t treated me this way when I was wearing an expensive suit, heels and a fancy yellow name tag. So what the hell?

It occurred to me that he might have reacted that way because of my race – maybe he couldn’t get passed my dark skin unless I was wearing a suit. I attempted to dissuade him by explaining that I like to compare colors because I own so many and I smiled. He gave me an eat-shit-and-die look and continued to hover. Well, at that point he wasn’t hovering anymore, he was just standing over us, staring at us. I understand that guarding against merchandise shrinkage is part of his job. After all, in the past, it had been my job. However, his demeanor was so incredibly offensive and rude that it actually made us feel uncomfortable. I felt like I was doing something wrong. I left the store, feeling almost ashamed of my existence.

Later, I told my Supervising Attorney about the experience, and explained that I’d had a similar experience at a Chanel counter even though I was actually making a purchase. I told him that I felt that if I were white, I wouldn’t be treated that way. He didn’t think it was a race issue – “When you’re in your suit, high heels, and those Gucci sunglasses you have, you’ll never be treated that way even though you’re Latin.” “I know” I said, “that’s because social class trumps race.”

Image from Second City Style.


38 Responses to “Adventures in Acquiring Lacquer: Suits & Shoplifters”

  1. Katee Says:

    Ohhh that makes me mad! I know exactly what you are talking about and that drives me nuts. Not the race thing (that drives me nuts for you but not from personal experience if you know what I mean), because I am as white as can be, but the whole dress up/dress down thing. I frequent high end dept. stores like Saks and Neiman’s to peruse the make up counters, etc. and I notice that I am treated differently when I am dress up vs. dress down. It makes me want to SCREAM and shake the dumb chicks that work there and say “HELLO I am sure that I make more money that you, why do you think it is OK to treat me like that? Because you work at Saks??!!” Give me a break! Pisses me off.

  2. Amanda Says:

    And THAT is exactly why I like shopping online. As a freelance designer my usual getup is jeans, t-shirt and converse but occasionally I’ll do a Friday night shop before an evening out, the difference in the treatment is, well irritating actually. I still make more money than they do and I probably like my job more, so I get by by feeling smug about that and knowing that working retail is the pits and they probably cop abuse by more outspoken people than me.

  3. Jordan Says:

    You know the sad part about this, is that I’m so used to it, that its almost like second nature. I dont spend my money in stores that treat me differently deepending on the way I dress etc. It happens all the time with me and because I tend to look very young in some instances, I get “those” stares also in stores. I just dont even think about it anymore. I’ll just leave and go on my way. :o/

  4. Steph (Nail Juice) Says:

    That made very good reading. I hate going into chemists and they just stand there next to you, not trying to engage in conversation. Just watching you like a hawk. I remember one time when I was at the counter buying a polish, a group of coloured girls came in all happy and suddenly the hair on the necks of all of the people who worked at the chemist stood up. They even said “who’s going to watch them” one worker scurried over there acting like they’re trying to sell them Chanel perfume. Not something that the girls were even looking at. My town disgraces me. It really does.

  5. ocelot1 Says:

    hey girl-i totally know what u mean-im latina too :) to most ‘americans’-im foreign. and when i go visit my family in the “mother” country, im treated as foreign. so its like im not from here, nor there. and i definetly agree with the dressing nice & dressed regular. i went into a beauty supply dressed in business cas and had my badge on (im a contract county employee working with a law enforcement dept) and the lady was so nice to me, even gave me a polish for free cuz it was the last one! the next time i went in, she accused me of trying on polish! i was like do you see this color on my nails? are any of these polish swipes on the cabinet wet? I DONT THINK SO! what a freakin hag. ive never had a convo like that with her tho so i was like whatever ur store is weak anyways. but i cant believe that guy didnt recognize you! i wouldve been like -”hey remember me we talked about…” i totally feel you on the ethnicity/race thing and on the dress nice/dress down part. Ugh! people need to piss off.

  6. Abby Says:

    I work at a day care center and have a uniform and sometimes before of after work I browse the 3 drug stores near my job for nail polish and more often than not I leave empty handed. When I am wearing my uniform I never get any weird looks because I know what they are thinking… she’s on her break and she’s bored. But whenever I go to look at polish when I’m not working and I stand in front of a display for minutes on end I do get the weird looks. I know my story is way different than yours but I guess these kind of things are all part of the life of a nail polish addict.

  7. Geraldine Says:

    Oddly enough, I have been told by people who go to the uber high end Vuittons and Prada boutiques that sales staff are specifically trained not to practice such discrimination.

    I regret to inform I, having worked at front of house, have adopted a similar stance. I used to provide such personalised and happy smiles to the well-heeled, showing them to their seats while the more raggy peeps just got verbal directions. :(

    THat was a long while in the past and I’m now working behind a desk where everyone gets my grouchy face whether or not you are wearing heels!

  8. rachel Says:

    i absolutely can relate. there is a “beauty supply store” near where i used to have an apartment – basically the heart of the shopping district in downtown Toronto- that i used to frequent. it got to a point where me and my girlfriend boycotted the place because the **hovering** was RIDICULOUS. we would go in dressed in sweats and parkas (obvioulsy- cold weather) and were treated like juvenile delinquents with criminal records taped to our foreheads…. and we were just browsing for a good conditioner!!!!!!!

    i totally understand your jump to see it as a racial-profiling thing… and it may very well be, in the world we live in… but i can tell you as a blonde White woman, i have experienced the same type of thing.
    and to Katee: i feel the same way in upscale department stores. i almost feel shamed to enter, if my trackpants have dog paw-prints on them or my hair is messy, i know i will be ignored or worse…

  9. Mariah Says:

    OMG, I hate that crap! Seriously, though, I’m as white as it gets, and I get the same shitty treatment when I’m wearing just jeans and a t-shirt. Especially when I go to high end stores. You can just FEEL their eyes on you. But then you wear nice clothes, and then they’re all over you too, because they think you have money and they might get you to buy something.

    I think the funniest part of your story though is the whole “I’m a sensitive” thing!! ROTFL!! WTF? What does that mean? Seeing dead bodies makes him sick? Or does he mean he thinks he’s psychic or something? LOL.

    Sorry that happened to you!

  10. Jennifer Says:

    It definitely can happen simply on the basis of what you wear, as I’ve experienced before. I’m as white as it gets, and I’ve run into this. And then sometimes, you have the ones that defy prediction – one place I was at one time with my very well dressed GRANDMA was following our every footstep, and not because they thought they’d be making a sale, either.

    I’m sure that there is something to be said for profiling, or it wouldn’t be done to the extent that it is. However, you can keep an extra eye out without being offensive. The vast majority of people are honest!

    But this whole issue is something my husband and I have talked about because we have a (very young) biracial son. How do we explain to him that his best defense against a traffic ticket isn’t charm and politeness, it’s not getting stopped in the first place? And that at some point, the odds are decent that he’ll get stopped for something he didn’t even do, especially if he’s in a nice or wealthy area? My area isn’t particularly racist, but let’s face it, that’s a relative thing and it does still exist.

  11. Brooke Says:

    “that’s because social class trumps race.”
    Truer words have never been spoken. I think the fact that he spoke to you one day and then treated you like a criminal another is really the part that smacks you in the face. Me and my bf were living in a small suburb of Oklahoma City, where there aren’t many black people. There was a little gas station close to the house that he would always go to for gas and cigarettes (disgusting, I know). And the little guy that owned the store and was there everyday got to know my bf. I guess he felt comfortable enough with him, because one day he said to my bf “hey your one of the good kind” bf was like huh? and he gave him the thumbs up and said you know, not like them, one of the good kind. Believe that was the last time the bf stepped foot in that gas station. People are discriminated against everyday in so many ways. What a world we live in.

    As far as me, I can remember shopping with my mom, and when I would enter the store, complete silence, as soon as she came in behind me, How can we help you, how are you, yada yada yada. One day I had enough and I turned to my mom and said “let’s leave this store, they obviously don’t think I have any money, since they only seems to greet you”. And sure enough we turned around and left. I know I felt better!

    I think I would go back to that store, dressed up, and walk right up to the same guy, and ask him if he wants to follow you around the store again to make sure you won’t take anything. :) Keep your head up girl, for every person that hates a certain race/gender/etc. there is someone that loves them because of their race/gender/etc.

  12. Katia Says:

    This is an issue my mother always talked about. As you know Steph, I was born and grew up in Brazil until I was 20 years old when I moved to the US. I’ve confronted this “race” problem for a number of years and have been thru embarrassing moments of my own as well. I can’t tell you how many occasions I’ve been treated differently not only because of my ethnicity but also because of my social class. I still have a very noticeable accent, and that alone makes people in my area suspicious of me at any given situation.

    Recently someone at work claimed to have had $100 stolen from her locker. A sign was posted on the unit alarming everyone that we had a thief among us. One of the nurses I work with made a comment to me that a similar problem had occurred a couple of years back. She went on to say that she thought it was a Mexican girl who worked there. My immediate reaction was to ask why she thought it had been the Mexican girl and not someone else. She didn’t know what to say, but quickly found a way to reason her line of thought by adding “who else could it have been? after the girl quit working here the thefts stopped” … Since then I have not ventured in the locker room or in the back part of the unit without company. Least I be accused of stealing simply because of my race. Now…chances are that if I had the letters BSN, RN next to my name things would be different…because I would be in a different social class…
    Steph, I have 145 college credits, I can speak 3 languages, and I understand more about a variety of things than the average residents in my neck of the woods (I live in smack city in the middle of the Bible belt), but since I have an accent, since I don’t have a diploma (yet), am a single mother, don’t own a home, and hold a menial job, I am considered rif-raf.
    I’ll end my rambling here….

  13. Ninarz Says:

    He probably steal just as much, if not more, than any shoplifter :p

  14. Melanie Says:

    I HATE it when sales associates act like they’re doing you a favor to take your money. I’ve worked in sales in the past and I always tried to treat everyone with the same level of respect and courtesy, regardless of race or social standing. So it really bothers me when I’m treated like a degenerate because I’m in jeans and sneakers. But here where I live, beauty shops are staffed with very friendly people, overall. The worst are bookstores. What, am I really motivated to steal a paperback copy of Lord of the Flies?

  15. fifrildi Says:

    Hehe, I’m just about the world’s most honest person and I’v possibly given off very “hones wibes” because I’v always been left alone in shops if I want to. Then I shaved most of my head and got myself a nice black mohawk look. I was never left alone in any stores, and that was the thing that made me shave my mohawk off…

  16. The Asian Girl Says:

    i’m from Northwest Florida, i bet our stores’ nail polish selection is even MORE pitiful…i couldn’t even find the new OPI DS collection until i went to a professionals’ only store with a cosmetology student friend.

    i have gotten funny suspicious looks at the local Chanel counter too. when dressed down it was like, is this short dark Asian girl actually going to buy something? however, when i stopped by to buy Haute Chocolat in a dress and heels, i was treated far better.

    on an unrelated note, it’s great that you’re doing your internship in South Florida. I’m currently interning in Northwest FL (which should be renamed Lower Alabama).

  17. Chrissy Says:

    AHHH that’s infuriating! I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. Such bullshit!!!

    I am blindingly white (seriously. It’s disturbing at times. Haha.), so I have never actually been treated in this way but I have worked a variety of retail jobs and I would never treat anyone differently as a result of their skin color or social class. People are people, and most people are decent and honest.

    This article made me so angry. That dude was a total prick, and I’m sincerely sorry that you had to go through that.

  18. Weedita Says:

    I have had experiences like this before. It really depends in my case on which stores I got too and it what areas. Some are worse than others. It really makes me angry. :>(

  19. Weedita Says:

    Oops. Sorry I just noticed the ton of spelling errors. This article really got my blood pressure up. Heh heh.But like I was saying or trying to say. It all depends on the area and the stores. I can go to a Sally’s and not be given a second look but I can also walk into a Macy’s and be given the over helpful/hoovering sales assistant. Usually I just cut the shopping trip short if that happens. But what can you do. It is hard to change someone’s mentality.

  20. patatafrita Says:

    It’s not a question of race: you should see the difference of treatment I get when I wear make up and kind of “neat” clothes and when I don’t wear make up at all… !!!

  21. Raeyi Says:

    I second wha Brooke said about dressing back up & asking him if he & his ghost pals wanna follow you around the store again. I HATE being followed around. I don’t think the Sephora inside JCP thought I’d steal anything, but she kept talking to me so I couldn’t look in peace. >_< I don’t like going there to look, much less buy….I hate being followed around, it reminds me of my sister, lol.

  22. Anicegirl Says:

    I feel your pain! I had a very similar experience….not as glamourous, though. I am a nurse and I am on my feet 14 hours a day on my shifts in scrubs and (>____<.

    Definitely not the expensive suit experience…maybe when I get into administration when I eventually getmy Master’s? Who am I kidding…*proud scrub wearer*, but I will look forward to graduating to being able to wear conservative colors on my 1/4 inch over tip nails XD*

  23. diana Says:

    I have interesting experiences shopping because of how I dress. I wear a lot of handmade/custom dresses and have accessories from artists and craft persons. I buy from small boutiques and etsy. Occasionally I do have problems buying make-up at department store counters because people will somehow equate my artsy look with being a shoplifter. It doesn’t happen often but if I get someone very conservative at a high end store, I am not always treated professionally. It’s a hit or miss. Most of the time people will admire how I look and my sense of style, but it does occasionally cause discrimination. The irony: I used to be a sales manager for Macy’s in women’s ready to wear. I would train people to respect customers and treat every person walking in the door as if they have money to spend. There is a reason that sales associates and security staff are hired under different departments. One should not try to do the other’s job.

  24. Pinky Says:

    Two major points I agree on:
    1. As a [hopefully] future prosecutor I ALWAYS get asked if I ever see dead bodies, and if i am OK with that. Yes, I will see them, and obviously I am not OK with that, but it is part of the job and I made peace with it.
    2. Every time I go shopping in casual clothes I get snubbed by 80% of SA’s. It is sad b/c I am so much more educated than they are, and will make so much more money and yet they think they can disrespect me b/c i am in sweats. I never get that treatment when I wear a suit. And I am totally white too, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you.

    People are asses and that’s that! efff them!

  25. j7 Says:

    Something like that happened to me before. I was in a store and I was wearing a leather jacket and stuff like that and probably looked rough around the edges. I put my hands in my pockets a couple times and then a customer told the manager I stole something. She said she used to be a security guard so she knows when people are stealing, but I would absolutely NEVER steal. People can be so judgemental because of looks.

  26. KD Says:

    A lot of people are saying that it must’ve only been due to the way you were dressed, and don’t get me wrong, I experience the very same treatment here in NYC when I’m dressed down vs. when I’m dressed nicely. What bothers me though (in general and not necessarily in these comments) is that people really think you’re paranoid or crazy when you’ve experienced racial discrimination, however slight. I’m black and sometimes people’s responses to my feelings about these situations are sometimes, “No I don’t think it’s because you’re a person of color”, or “Oh I’m sure it was just in your head”. The thing is this: we sort of know and can sense these things because we may have lived with this type of thing our whole lives and we can pick up on nuances… it’s not always just perceived. I don’t think most of us are that paranoid that we’d make every situation out to be a racially/ethnically motivated one in our heads. It’s almost like you can never forget your skin color or ethnicity… ever. No offense to anyone of course, but you cannot begin to know what it’s like, except maybe by association. So with that being said, I don’t think it’s in your head. You know what you know.
    On a lighter note, “Hi, my name is KD and I’m a polish addict!” Oh and I love your blog :-)

  27. Annie Says:

    I’ve had this problem, although I’m white. I look young for my age. When U go shopping I must wear jeans, nice shoes, and carry a purse (sometimes I jst stick my wallet in my pocket or my pants) I’m treated so much better than when I show up in a sweatshirt and sneakers. Once In dillards I was with my friend, who is about fve years older, but looks really young too (shes shorter than me!) we both got accused of stealing someones cell phone they left in the dressing room we were using. Wehn I got home I called there office, and the clerk who accused us denied it, saying she just “asked us where it was.” BS, since she unlocked the dressing room while i was in it changing, and asked to look through my purse.

  28. Sanna Says:

    I totally know what you’re talking about! It makes me so mad! Very good reading. Rock on!

  29. Karina Says:

    I had a similar experience years ago. I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, on a Wednesday morning. I asked to see a purse. The sales associate said, in a snotty tone “That is a two hundred dollar purse”. So, I replied back “First of all dear, I did not ask how much the purse was, I asked to see it. Second, you have quite an attitiude for someone that has to work”.
    Mind you, I work very hard as well, just not your typical nine to five hours.

  30. Mayra Says:

    I am soo sorry that happened to you! I’ve had similar experiences aswell mostly for the dressing part. I am also latina but most people would not know it unless they asked me or heard me speak Spanish. But when me and my mom go shopping ( my mom looks a lot more hispanic than i do) we have a hard time getting people to help us. We see nicely dressed and majority Caucasian women being helped out while we are just left waiting. Its just not a good feeling to think that you are not being treated equally for the simple reasons of not being white or dressed nicely enough.

  31. Jody Says:

    Ohhhh, this happened to my boyfriend just the other day at a wine shop. He usually goes in dressed in slacks, shirt/tie which he wears to work and the guy always recognizes him, makes suggestions, etc. He went in the last weekend in jeans and a t-shirt. (Decent jeans and tee mind you). And the guy not only didn’t even recognize him (he usually calls him by name) but when he asked for a certain wine the guys says “oh, that one is expensive and turns away”. He was appalled. I told my bf that he should have introduced himself and made the guy feel like an a-hole.

  32. pretear Says:

    To everyone – I’m going to reply to you all individually but I just had to say, wow, thank you so much to all of you for taking the time to read such a long entry and giving me so many amazingly thoughtful replies. I wrote this post a few months ago but never posted it because I figured most people wouldn’t care to read it. I’m really glad this post gave people an opportunity to vent their frustrations with mistreatment. But at the same time, I’m really sad that so many of you have had similar experiences.

    Katee – Yea, it seems like from everyone’s responses this sort of treatment is an epidemic.

    Amanda – I do most my shopping online too and I find myself being overly nice to shop attendants when I do shop at brick & mortars just to avoid the bad treatment.

    Jordan – I usually do that too, I’ve left many stores but sometimes I do buy things despite the bad treatment against my better judgment.

    Steph – Wow, that’s pretty blatant. I understand watching people that are behaving suspiciously but watching people just because of their skin color is really not an effective way to handle loss prevention.

    Ocelot – I feel that way too, It’s like I grew up here… I *am* American even though I’m not white.

    Abby – lol. Yea, I mean you just have to deal for the love of polish.

    Geraldine – Don’t feel bad about that, sometimes you can’t help personal biases. I used to work in a really high end jean stores and I was super rude to the all the ultra wealthy people who shopped there – it goes both ways.

    Rachel – Yea, I agree, I mean I still think in my case it was racially tinged but I know that shop attendants treat people dressed down differently regardless of race.

    Mariah – lol. It’s okay. It was pretty funny when it happened – this sort of thing doesn’t hurt my feelings because I’ve just come to accept that some people are just stupid.

    Jennifer – Exactly, when I worked retail we kept an eye on people without being rude. And I totally understand how you feel about your son. It is a real problem. Make sure your son knows his 5th and 6th amendment rights. Sometimes there is nothing one can do about being arrested without cause but down the line some State Attorney is going to look at the case and say hey, this is an illegal stop or search and they are going drop the case. That’s basically what I do as an intern, I read cases files and decide whether we can move forward on the case based on the merits. I constantly recommend dropping cases where someone’s constitutional rights are violated.

    Brooke – Man, what’s sick is that guy wasn’t away that it was socially unacceptable to make a statement like that. I think this past election really shed some light on the unspoken racism that exists in the U.S. At least I can say that I truly believe we are making some progress.

    Katia – That’s so frustrating and infuriating! I don’t even know how to respond to your story, some people are just so ignorant. It sickens me when people discriminate against honest hard working people because of xenophobia.

    Ninarz – : P Well, I dunno how much stealing you have to do when you can see dead people, you can just make your money telling fortunes.

    Melanie – Book stores can be really bad especially because in a book store you necessarily *have* to spend some time poking around, reading book covers if you want to buy something good.

    Fifrildi – lol – yes, a mohawk is definitely going to turn some unwanted heads.

    The Asian Girl – Ah, my boyfriend did his internship at the US Attorney’s Office in Pensacola, he said it was like a cultural black hole.

    Chrissy – : ) It’s really okay, I mean this sort of stuff doesn’t hurt my feelings but I feel like if we don’t share these sort of stories we’re all going to continue living in a vacuum where the myth of racial and social equality pervades.

    Weedita – Yea, unfortunately that’s very true. : ( Some of these stores work on a commission, you would think attendants would just try to sell anything to anyone instead of being rude and losing a possible sale.

    Patatafrita – It’s most likely a mixture of both, like a step ladder of rudeness, know what I mean?

    Raeyi – LOL. Maybe I should just bring him some crime scene photos to look at while I shop.

    Anicegirl – Ooooh that’s right nurses have a lot of trouble with nail polish, right?

    Diana – After reading everyone’s replies I’m just starting to feel like it might be better to call these people out on the spot. Say, hey, I want to speak to your manager – you’re being incredibly rude to me.

    Pinky – lol. Yea, it’s really silly considering what I want to do with my career. If things go as planned I’ll be prosecuting shop lifters, certainly I don’t do anything to jeopardize my goals.

    J7 – Wow. They aren’t allowed to accuse you of stealing unless they’re *seen* you stealing, you could have slapped them with a law suit for that.

    KD – I could not possibly agree with you more. You pretty much summed up my experiences in that paragraph. And thank you. : )

    Annie – Whoa. That is really really unacceptable. I’m glad you called management about that, hopefully they did the right thing.

    Sanna – : ) Thank you.

    Karina – lol, I’m glad you said something to her about it, next time she’ll think twice.

    Mayra – My mother once was mistaken for a shop attendant by an elderly white woman, despite the fact that she was wearing a very cute outfit and wearing a purse. I got SO angry, I actually made a huge scene and yelled at the woman. I don’t get so angry when I experience discrimination but when people are rude to my mother, I flip my shit.

    Jody – Wow. I hope your boyfriend stop shopping there, that store doesn’t deserve his business.

  33. Karen [kconnel57] Says:

    oh that makes me so angry! aarggh. I’m sorry you had to experience that. grandma always used to say “can’t judge a book by its cover”, and “always treat people the way you would like to be treated”. BTW I love Karina’s response to the woman who told her it was a $200 purse. I ask if there’s another sales associate around when I experience such rudeness. Or else just walk away; they obviously don’t need the business.

  34. outre Says:

    I’ve experience that as well, not so much hovering just the huge contrast of ‘help’ I get when I dress ‘trendy’ vs normal. At SOHO MAC, I got ignored… I was in hoodie and jeans, was commuting 2hrs each way for a hell-hole of a job and decided to hop over there during lunch for a little pick me up. erm, nope but.. the minute, no wait the second two ladies with COACH bag walks in all the sales aids rushed over to them. Meanwhile I had been standing there with a long list of stuff I wanted. When someone finally realized I was actually buying I just handed him the list and essentially told him to fetch those items. Normally I tell them what I want… but than at express I guess I looked really trendy that day b/c I couldn’t go five feet w/o a new SA asking me if I wanted their help. I rushed out b/c I wanted to browse in peace and clearly wasn’t going to happen.

  35. pretear Says:

    Karen – That’s actually a really good idea because at those high end stores they work off commission so you’re actually hurting them by getting another sales associate.

    Outre – Geez. It’s like two annoying extremes, retailers need to get their employees under control. (As a side note, I hate Coach it’s so nouveau riche.)

  36. Laura Says:

    I’m sorry you had to experience that! I have never had the same experience, but this reminds me of something that really upset me a few years back. I got a job as a patient transporter in the hospital and was walking my ass off all day – literally. I lost about 30 lbs and could never get over how differently I was treated when I went shopping as my slimmer self. Sales people were so much friendlier, and really went out of their way to help. I would always leave frustrated, because I knew that the only thing that had changed about me was my weight. It’s amazing how much people really do judge you based solely on your physical appearance, whether it’s race, weight, age, or dress.

  37. pretear Says:

    Yea, I’ve actually heard that a lot from friends. That bias is as rampant as racial or class bias but gets less attention. It’s very frustrating.

  38. valeria Says:

    Man I feel so bad when I hear about this. I’m also a latina 100% Mexican but I guess from the people I’ve grown up with I’m considered “white washed”. So for me it’s the opposite. I’ll go into a mexican mom and pop shop and I can hear the clerks or customers speaking about me in spanish and i’m like umm hello!!!!! i can hear you!!! and when i go to department stores like that i notice that everything’s fine when i’m with my white friends but when one of my good friends [who's black] comes, they keep a watchful eyes on us. It also pisses me off that we’re all in our 20′s we’re not stupid high schoolers!! ughhhhhh!

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