Shopping with clients is one of my favorite things to do. With many different types of people and budgets, I have a long list of stores that I visit. On back to back days of shopping with two very different people, I found myself amazed by the contrasting environments between Ross Dress for Less and Nordstrom. Ross is obviously more budget friendly, which is a nice option when my client is facing weight fluctuations and doesn't want to invest thousands of dollars in a wardrobe that may last 6 months. After pulling some great pieces, my client and I are greeted by the dressing room attendant, aka Seinfeld Soup Nazi, who is only concerned with the number of items you can take into the dressing room. 1 item over 8 and "No soup for YOU!"
After a few minutes of prioritizing the pieces that go together and shuffling hangers between the two of us, we were allowed to pass through the security check into the dimly lit dressing room area. Hallelujah! We enter the inner chamber of the store to find cold gray concrete floors with more than a few dust bunnies...if you dare look that close. Yes, it's tough to see with the sparse lighting, but hey, we made it in. The first outfit is dynamite. Then we run into some sizing issues. Which is great because if I take something out, I can bring something back in! Happy dance. But what if you take 2 things out and only bring 1 thing back in, says the Soup Nazi. Ugh!!! Shopping should not feel like prisoner negotiation. It's hard enough for people to shop in a store with an overwhelming amount of merchandise, confusing aisles and departments, not knowing which items would look fabulous or like a fashion victim without having to negotiate terms just to try something on. It's not about numbers. It's about people. It's about the joy they feel when something finally looks good on them.
The next day, I find myself at Nordstrom. Pulling clothes for a different client. As my arms start to feel loaded down, this angel of an associate says, "you don't have to carry that, let me put them aside for you." No counting the clothes! Just taking the load I'm carrying. And when I describe the client, there is a collaboration on what would be the best fit. No security check at the dressing room and it's so warm in there! (No dust bunnies detected either.) I find the clothes all laid out folded neatly in a diagonal pattern, shirts together, pants together, jackets together. Someone knows how to sell clothes! In contrast to the Soup Nazi, I'm pretty sure this salesperson wore a halo.
Christmas season is here and the race is on. Gifting could be all about the numbers and the gifts and checking and balancing or it could be about making life easier / lighter for someone else. The question is how to be the "let me carry that for you" type of person? Og Mandino, author of my new favorite book titled, The Greatest Salesman in the World said, "I will greet the day with love in my heart....With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built round their hearts and in its place will I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls." What does that look like for you? May I suggest listening to another person without judgement but with fascination. Every person is much more interesting and talented than we often give them credit for.
Building bridges, carrying a heavy pile of clothes, and of course world peace...those are the best gifts this Christmas. May your arms be light and bridges strong. Merry Christmas!
Of course I'm here to lighten your gifting load for that person who would love some direction and a listening ear in the personal style department. Click below for details.
(Btw, if you go to Nordstrom, you can look for the halo or just ask for George.)
Image consultant and personal stylist. Dani is happily married, the mother of 3 charming children, and an Aussie named Josie Wales.