It was just me trying on swimsuits. I don't know why I got it into my head that I need a new swimsuit. I already have one that I like (and which fits okay) and one that I like a little bit less. We are beach-bound in July so I thought it might be nice to have an extra swimsuit. I looked at the selection at Kohl's a few weeks ago. However, I was on my lunch break and didn't have a lot of time at my disposal. I felt like I needed a longer block of time for the suffering and humiliation. So, I went back about a week later. Although I was originally opposed to the idea of a tankini (when I was younger), I found that they aren't so bad after all. Both of my existing swimsuits are tanks with swim skirts. I also said I would never wear a "swim skirt" but that was before I accepted that fitting room mirrors don't lie about cellulite. Anyway, I grabbed a few swimsuits and headed into the fitting room. First one: nope. Second one: nope. Third one: I think I muttered something about conspiracies and feminism and Kohl's role in all of that. I may have given a nice big "fuck you" to fluorescent lighting as well.
A few days later, I stopped at Lands' End with my daughter. She sat on a stool and looked miserable while I poked around the swimsuit racks. I took two suits into the fitting room. I fared somewhat better here. The bottoms looked fine (well, as long as I didn't look too closely) but the tops didn't have enough lift and support. The straps were too skinny. I prefer a racerback. By then, my kid was shoving her foot under the fitting room door and acting like she might die, so I gave up.
Yesterday, I decided to try JC Penney. It never occurs to me to shop at JC Penney even though we have one within spitting distance from our house. I didn't have a lot of time because I had to get to a yoga class. I wandered around the racks, looking for any eligible candidates. What was more memorable about the excursion was the exchange nearby between a customer and an employee. I couldn't help but listen to the whole thing. From what I gathered, this woman makes a career out of buying and returning stuff. She went on at length about her visit to the store a few days before, when a new employee apparently had the pleasure of dealing with her. "Amy must have been new," she said, "Because she didn't understand what I was trying to do and she had to get a manager." She brought up Amy's shortcomings several more times.
Now, I do not return stuff. Ever. My husband got me some running shoes for Christmas and they were the wrong size. But even then - I simply exchanged them. I did not return them. You could give me a bucket of vomit as a gift and, even if you gave me the gift receipt . . . I still wouldn't return it. I would just put it in my basement with all the other junk we don't want. I worked retail in high school and college and the lesson I learned from all of that is: don't return anything. It just causes too much grief.
So, it was from that perspective that I listened to this conversation. I think this customer was the retail version of a quick change artist. She would hand receipts to the cashier and then take some of them back. She said she needed to return some of the stuff and then buy it back. Something about discounts that had changed. I don't know. It just went on and on and on. No matter how wacky her requests were, the cashier simply smiled at her and attempted to comply. I heard the cashier say, "So you want to return this one?" and the lady replied, "Why would I do that? Can't you see that I'd only get $3.99 back?"
I grabbed a couple of swimsuits and tried them on. Bleh. When I went back through that section of the store on my way out, I attempted to find the hapless but helpful employee. I was going to tell her that if JC Penney has some sort of superhero award, I wanted to nominate her for it. I didn't see her, so I assume she was in the break room, drinking vodka straight out of the bottle.
Anyway, I've temporarily given up on my quest. I have managed to lose a little weight over the past two months but it wasn't enough, apparently, to make swimsuit shopping bearable. This summer, I'm just going to wrap myself in a tarp and bob around in the ocean. (Do they make tarps with a racerback and underwires?)