13. Shoppers think dressing rooms can be used for disposing of feminine products.
As shocking and unbelievable as it may seem, retail workers complain that coming across used feminine products left within changing rooms is a common pain point. It’s hard to comprehend why anyone would leave such nausea-inducing items in a public area, but it seems that some shoppers rudely believe that workers should take care of all of their messes. [deleted] expresses frustration at just how many times they’ve had this experience: “Every once in a while, you will hear a crunching sound. That sound is a woman opening a tampon wrapper. The amount of times I have seen bloody tampons in dressing room corners is unbelievable!”
Hawkbass1 comments on what we’re all wondering: what causes a person to use a fitting room as a disposal for something that clearly doesn’t belong there? Hawkbass1 shares: “I worked as a manager at a Gap Outlet. We have benches in our fitting rooms, and I went in to clean out the large room. Underneath the bench was a used tampon with blood all over the floor. I’m not sure what drives a person to do that when there’s a bathroom right across from our store.”
12. People go shopping in health and, regrettably, in sickness.
After all the stories of bodily function disasters happening at retail stores, it’s not surprising to find out that there’s plenty of things coming out the other end as well. It’s a little more difficult to blame the customer for getting sick in a store, but the situation is still very gross for retail workers. It also leads to a headache-inducing chain of cleaning events.
Rockdio tells how this happens in a retail setting: “Later that month, we had a family come into our store. The son didn’t look all that well, very pale, eyes kind of glazed over. Within ten minutes of them coming into the store, the poor kid throws up onto a stack of PS2s in their ‘used’ boxes. [The] family left in a big hurry, apologizing on the way out. It cleared out the store pretty [quickly], but we had to clean up the mess. (I replaced all of those boxes and threw out the ones that had ‘biological hazard’ on them. My hands smelled like a mixture of chlorine, disinfectant, and floor cleaners the rest of the day.”
11. Adults don’t always follow social protocol in the juniors’ section.
Even innocent shoppers can cause embarrassing mishaps, although, in kmentropy’s case, she was more disturbed than the customer herself: “I worked at Charlotte Russe for almost five years. It’s a juniors’ and essentially young women’s inexpensive clothing store. This doesn’t stop the older crowd from coming through, which generally isn’t a big deal. But there are times [when it is]. I was working the fitting room, flitting around because it was relatively slow, and putting back clothes as I let people in. A woman called me over through the door to make sure I was there because she wanted advice on a top.
When I answered, she came out of her room and stood, hands-on-hips, to show me the top. She asked me how she looked. As I turned around, it took all of my self-control not to react. The woman was wearing one of the sheer, hippie-style tops that require a bandeau or camisole underneath. She had on no bra, and she was about 45 years old . . . I had a FULL view of [her upper body]. I quickly told her that the top required a layering piece and tried to nonchalantly usher her back into the stall.
10. Flashers will lurk wherever they can, including dressing rooms.
In some situations, customers flash retail workers for much more sinister reasons than the oblivious woman at Charlotte Russe. These flashers go into the changing rooms with the sole purpose of showing others their birthday suit. Sheeps92 describes a moment when the flasher knew exactly what he was doing: “I used to work in a very small fancy dress shop. The fitting rooms were out the back near the staff desk, so we could pretty much see a lot of what was going on in the fitting rooms if they didn’t close the curtains.
Most people did, but we once had a guy come in [and] try on all the ‘kinky’ outfits. He left the curtain half-open, so when we walked out the back to check on him, we saw the whole package. He just stood there, half in our Johnny Rotten costume, [thing] hanging out. Then he knew we saw him and carried on changing. He left soon after, without taking any costumes. Ew.”
9. Being comfortable in one’s own skin can come at a cost…
Ladyofgreentea tells a story about uncomfortable encounters with a very comfortable person: “A few years ago, I was that girl that gave you the colorful tag when you went into the fitting rooms. I also became a champion at hanging and folding clothes at super speed. That day, I remember, was really busy. We must have been having a special in underwear or something. I’m literally up to my eyebrows in unhung clothes that people dump on me on the way out. I call the front desk. I am out of hangers. We need more hangers. You can’t hang clothes without hangers. My super supervisor says, “Sure, I’ll send someone over.”
An old lady walks in. She has about 20 too many items. I tell her she’s only allowed five. She can swap them over later. “Okay,” she says and picks a select few. After about a quarter of an hour, my supervisor sends across the new kid (he looks just under 15) with a trolley full of hangers. I see him making his way towards me down the aisle. In that exact same second, the old woman walks out. Naked. It’s a direct visual of a certain scene from There’s Something About Mary.
ladyofgreentea continues with her story: “I want to get the other clothes,” [the old lady] says. My mind snaps out of its stupor as I stare at this woman in front of me, then at the kid pushing the trolley of hangers towards me, without a care in the world. I start making ridiculous hand movements to try to send the kid away. Too late. “ladyofgreentea, I’ve bought you your hang-AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” I’ve managed to blind the poor boy forever. The look in his eyes. Haunted.
Unfortunately, he averted his gaze from her as quickly as possible, looked me in the eye, and screamed, eyes full of terror in my face. I dashed around the counter and covered her up with one of the random shirts off the table. I tried to usher her back in the stall, whispering, “Excuse me, ma’am, you cannot walk out of the stall without your clothes on. This is a unisex fitting room,” and she was completely nonplussed and claimed that the poor kid was ‘over-reacting.’”
7. A pattern emerges among elderly ladies and their comfort with streaking.
Many people can attest that elderly people are more comfortable in their own skin compared to the rest of us; after all, they have had years of learning not to care what others think. They walk about in locker rooms adorning their birthday suits without a worry, and in general, seem at peace with the wrinkles they’ve accumulated over a lifetime of gaining wisdom. However, one place you might not expect to see a buck-naked elderly person is in the middle of a retail store–not even in the vicinity of the fitting room, mind you, but out walking in the wild of the aisles.
Awwkitties tells of what can happen: “Went into a Chico’s once and being a small store, they only had two freestanding dressing stalls. Two nasty old ladies pulled back the curtains and walked out naked, looking for more clothes. This wasn’t encompassed within an actual dressing room. They just walked out into the store, in full view of the mall, naked. The moral of the story is, just because you don’t care if you are seen does not mean anyone else is fine seeing your knee-length boobs swinging about.”
6. Shoppers’ inappropriate comments can be crueler than expected.
Pregnancy can present challenges for many women who choose to continue working during their term. Their willingness to keep working is commendable and shows just how far women have come in the workplace, shattering others’ expectations of women’s capabilities. But still, when a pregnant woman is likely experiencing fatigue and other symptoms while working, the last thing she wants is a customer approaching and laughing at her.
To aquasleo’s dismay, she went through that experience: “When I was pregnant, I worked for a little while at a [Halloween] store. I was tending the fitting room one day, and this woman walked up to me and began laughing hysterically. She asked, ‘Oh my God, [what] is that? That’s so funny!’ Me: ‘Excuse me?’ Her: ‘The belly! That’s hilarious! Where did you get that?’ I was temporarily stunned as I searched my brain frantically for a P.C. way to explain to her where I had gotten the belly. After about 30 seconds of me staring at her blankly, her smile melted into absolute horror as she realized her mistake. Her: ‘Oh god. You’re really pregnant, aren’t you?’ Me: ‘Yes, ma’am.’ I’ve never seen someone exit a store that quickly.”
5. Customers berate employees for mistakes they make themselves.
Customers can be outright mean, as Txiemann illustrates in his story: “While working . . . at a clothing store, one of the other employees accidentally opened the fitting room door on an older woman. He was in his early 20s and into the metal scene (long black hair, gauges, etc). She flipped her [s*&^] and asked to see the manager. I was the [moderator] and had to listen to this woman berate my coworker and say the worst things about him . . . as I explained that we were incredibly swamped and that she should have had the door locked if she was changing (as was written on the inside of each fitting room door).
She [stormed] out only to return a few minutes later with four additional Karens . . . [None of them] believed I was the manager as I was also in my early 20s. They refused to leave until they spoke to whoever was in charge. I ended up giving them the corporate number and told my friend to act like he was fired and pretend to call his mom crying outside the store to see what they would do. The entire flock of Karens walked by without a care in the world.”
[deleted] describes a time when they were roped into helping a customer, even though her husband was just nearby: “I work at a clothing store where I come into contact with many customers whose actions I find to be inappropriate. During my first few months of working there, I was stationed in the fitting room, the usual spot they had me working. I had a customer wave me over who was standing in one of the doors of a dressing room. She looked like a lady in her mid-thirties who seemed to be shopping with her significant other.
She asked me if the yellow shirt she was wearing looked okay on her, and then she walked to the fitting room and stood in front of the mirror so she could get another look at herself in it. I said I liked it, and then she had me come into the fitting room (with the door still open) and held up to me the same shirt but in black, and said it’s the same size, but it fit differently, which I thought was odd.
[deleted] continues on to the more horrifying portion of the story: “She must have thought that I didn’t believe her because she then walked around me to shut the fitting room door (we were then in this tiny room alone together), and she started putting this black shirt on to prove to me that it looked different. Now, I did not know this lady, yet I still got to see a glimpse of her nipples, and it was the most awkward experience of my life. All I could think of [was] why didn’t she invite her S.O. in there with her, instead of me?
When she finally put her shirt on, I told her it did look different and that she should get the yellow shirt instead. I booked it out of there, hoping no one would see me coming out of the closed fitting room with a customer. This lady did not see anything wrong with what had happened, but I was so embarrassed and confused [about] how I let myself get into the situation. It made me pretty [wary] when other customers would ask me for help in the fitting room in the future.”
2. Fitting room signs may need to be neon and flashing to prevent inappropriate nakedness.
geoliciouswerdsmith shares a story from his wife that highlights the apathetic attitude that retail workers can develop after seeing too many disturbing things: “I remember an incident a few years ago [that] my wife told me about. [My wife] needed a pair of jeans and went into a discount clothing store that was fairly new to the shopping center to check what they had before heading over to a more expensive store.
She [was] making her way down the main aisle and [started] seeing women just trying on clothes right where they were–trying on shirts, trying on pants, just standing there in their bras and underwear. She looked around and saw a sign [that said] “Fitting Room” and out of curiosity walked over to see hardly anybody there. WTF!! These women were so lazy and had zero shame. I asked her what the employees were doing, and she said they all looked just mentally checked out. That store was open only 2-3 months at the time. Years later, it is still there. She hasn’t been back. Who does this??”
beeeezintrap explains, “Just a regular day at work, working the fitting room. This customer comes in, and, long story short, he comes out with the clothes and no hangers (not a big deal), so I asked him if the hangers were in the room so I [could] grab them. He goes, ‘Yeah, and all the other clothes I didn’t want.’ So I say, ‘Okay, have a nice day.’ I turn around into the room and see hangers everywhere and clothes on the floor. But wait, there’s more… HIS DIRTY [A*%] SOCKS.
So I turn around, and the customer is walking away, and I say ‘Sir, you left your socks in the room.’. . . He goes, “Yeah, I don’t want them anymore; you can throw them out.” At this point, I’m in shock. And I say, ‘Um sir…” and he goes, ‘Yeah, go pick ’em up.’ Thank God my manager was there ’cause I was gonna lose [it]… My point is, RETAIL WORKERS ARE HUMANS. Not your maid, your mom, your punching bag. Just because we are required to be nice to customers does not mean we are a doormat for you to [s*&^] on.”