"You Have To Wear Something" podcast hosted by owner Nicole Briggs

10 Ways you (yes women) are ruining boutique shopping for everyone



Just looking.
1.Discovering a cool shop can be fun. Browsing is fine but if you are not actually shopping don't browse for an hour or hangout talking on your cell. Most associates are on commission to make a livelihood and are required to help you with the hopes of making a sale. There could be actual customers there that need their help. Consider if the store is within your budget or not, what one can spend on clothes is very subjective. Specialty boutiques are mostly owned by women so be a feminist and support them in a way that doesn't waste their time.
You are not in a mood to shop.
2. Shopping can sometimes require focus and decisiveness. If you are in a bad mood, the process of looking for the perfect outfit will only frustrate you and rub surrounding company the same way. Shopping is suppose to be pleasant and enjoyable and a way to treat yourself to feel good. You are there for some much needed “me” time but maybe you should come when you are feeling better on another day.
You have issues.
3.So you gained a little weight or you have always hated your knees. Most women have body issues or goals to improve an area on their body. Sales associates are just that, sales associates not therapists. It's funny to make a joke about your challenging body parts but once it gets to a sad point it may be time to seek professional help. If you feel like “everything looks bad on you” or “the clothes are for skinny women only” this may mean it's time to take a break from shopping to work on YOU!
Your children or family is restless.
4. Ahhhhh vacation with the family can be a blast but everyone likes to do different things. If you are exploring a new city with your family and you know your husband hates to shop and your children are hungry and have to pee at the same time, it's probably not the best time to take the family into a boutique. I witnessed many arguments arise when the mom wants to shop and rest of the group wants to move it along. Plan a shopping day alone or with a willing friend or relative if you are on family vacation.
You waited too late to return a purchase.
5.Sorry ladies, seasoned shoppers know that independent, small boutiques have strict return policies. They usually offer store credit or exchange only within a short period of time like a week or two. Big box chains are big businesses that can afford to offer a “just say yes” policy when it comes to returns.
Do not embarrass yourself going to a boutique in a huff to return an item you know is past return time with no receipt. These policies protect small businesses, and small business plays an important role in the overall economy. If you know you like to return often, shop where the policy is generous. Sales associates are well versed in their own return policy so asking for the owner only makes you look entitled.
The store closes or opens in 5 minutes.
6. Lucky you if you're the first one to arrive to your shop of choice for the day. If the store is not open yet, do not incessantly pull on the door or knock on the store's window. There are many things the staff may have to do before opening as part of the store's procedures. If you arrive before open, take a look at the hours and then grab a coffee and return. Conversely if the store closes in 5 minutes, although the door may be open you know full well that 5 minutes is not enough time to find what you need. If you know what you want, by all means you have the right to try it and buy it. But hoping a cute dress may “jump out” at you 5 minutes before close is unrealistic
You are eating and drinking.
7. Some of the best shopping districts have the best cafes and restaurants. Inventory is the bread and butter of most boutiques and some articles are so special and expensive that that may have acquired only a few pieces of this item. If you must shop while eating ice cream or a drink, ask the staff if there is a place you can set it down while you look around. It takes only one drop of coffee to ruin a beautiful silk blouse so be mindful of your food and drink while shopping.
Your dog is not quite trained yet.
8. You got a new puppy and you're so excited and want to show him or her off! Many boutiques welcome dogs and even offer water and treats to your four-legged buddy. If your dog is not potty-trained yet, they may grow nervous in a new environment. They don't mean to tinkle on that designer rug that's a staple fixture in the shop but they have. Give your pup some time to grow up, then take it shopping.
Your method of pay is out of date.
9. Paying with cash or credit may seem like common sense but if you are unsure ask first. Neiman Marcus may still accept checks but for the most part, most stores do not. Discover Card is not accepted as much as Visa, Mastercard or American Express. Layaway does exist in a few big box stores like K Mart but do not ask if it's available in a small boutique.
You ask for a discount.
10. During the recession, many articles on saving money suggested that the public ask for discounts while shopping. Now that we are in recovery mode, it is time to minimize this practice. It is just another form of self-entitlement to demand a discount because you are traveling or buying more than one thing. If the owner has not informed you that you receive a discount, you probably don't. Local shopping districts may share a 10% off discount but always ask first. If the answer is no just accept it. Don't plead with the associate explaining all the reasons why you should get one. You may have met the owner once or twice but that does not warrant a discount next visit.
Last thought.....Be kind to the clothes. Let your taste in fine clothes have a matching behavior towards the clothes. Remember that you are trying on the clothes, giving them a test run. Take off your jewelry before you try on that knit to avoid snagging it or make sure you try a shirt head first to avoid getting makeup on it. Leave the clothes in the fitting room in a coherent, tidy way. One big pile on a chair is better than inside out and on the floor.
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