Friday, 24 February 2017

I don’t understand the question. Or the answer

Right, so you know how something small and insignificant can suddenly and unexpectedly turn into something much bigger and messier than you ever thought it would? 

So, an insignificant spot on your face can turn into Mount Vesuvius just before a massive night out, or a single loose thread can turn into a huge hole in your jumper right when you’re in smart company, or a tiny bit of rust on your car can result in you reluctantly having to shell out two months wages for an entirely new wing? Well, the retail version of this is conversations that start off being normal and insignificant but somehow end up in the Twilight Zone. And it happens a lot.

This was a conversation I had the other day with a lady of average size (UK 14ish) who was looking at a loose fitting top………..

Me:  Hello.
Her: Hello. What size is this?
Me:  It’s, ‘one size fits all’.
Her: What does that mean?
Me:  Er, well…it’s a one size garment that, er, fits all people.
Her: How does that work?
Me:  How does what work?
Her: How does, ‘one size fits all,’ work?
Me:  Umm, well (????)…….What would fit loosely on a small person would be more snug on a bigger person.
Her: So, these tops would fit a small person then?
Me:  Yes.
Her: And would it fit a bigger person too?
Me:  Yes.
Her: So they can fit both sizes?
Me:…..Yes...;because they are, ‘one size fits all’.
Her: There must be a range. Is there a range?
Me:  Well, yes. ‘One size fits all,’ fits a range of sizes.
Her: What is the range?
Me:  Well, the range is, umm,……. from smaller people to, er, larger people.

We take a momentary pause from our mutually unrewarding conversation, to ponder our situation: she looks unconvinced by my argument and I am developing a, ‘customers are just sent to torment me,’ persecution headache. 

Original picture: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, Pixabay

Then she’s off again:

Her: How does it look when it’s on?
Me:  Well, would you like to try one on to find out?
Her: I don’t know, it’s the fit.
Me:  The fit. Right……

Don’t ask don’t ask don’t ask……

Me:  What about the fit?
Her: It’s all so, ‘samey.’
Me:  What is, ‘samey’?
Her: The fit.
Me:  The fit is, ‘samey’?
Her: Yes.
Me:  OK….I don’t really see…
Her: The tops. They’re all so, ‘samey’.
Me:  As each other?
Her: Yes.
Me:  You mean the fit of all the tops is all the same?
Her: Yes.
Me:  Well, er…..

Oh dear lord! Is this me? Am I not explaining this clearly enough? This conversation is like Groundhog Day in miniature. I’m going to be stuck talking to this women for ever and ever and ever and ever…..

Original photo: NDE, Pixabay

But no, it’s going to be fine… I can finish this. I just need to reply to her without sounding like I think she’s totally stupid….

Me:  The fit of the tops is all the same because they’re all the same size. They’re all the same size because they are all, ‘one size fits all’.

Mmm…possibly failed there.

Her: I think I’ll leave it, thanks.
Me:  Right. OK….

Yes. Definitely failed there.

And, as another happy customer sullenly sloped out the door, I scoured the shop for paracetamol to deal with my persecution headache.

Just another day in the heady world of retail.


  1. Replies
    1. It went away. Then the boss (aka The Boss Erratic) called......

  2. Replies
    1. I think there should be a special kind of headache tablet for the common, 'all customers are persecuting me - retail sucks' headache.