I lived through Black Friday–although I am pretty sure I folded more clothes during the 12 hours I worked between Thursday and Friday than I have in my entire life. For some reason, the men’s department falls victim to neglect and extra messy shelves and racks. I spent a considerable amount of time returning it to some semblance of order and making it look more like a store display rather than the floor of a teen boy’s closet.
I also realized something while I worked–men’s clothes are all the same. How can this be?
In looking at my husband’s closet, I realize he is a microcosm of the larger male clothing universe. Two or three base colors for the tops and denim or khaki for the bottoms and you’re golden apparently. For years, I have been encouraging him to branch out, try something new. Now that I have actually seen all there is to see, I realize there isn’t all that much to try unless you want to blaze a pretty crazy trail.
I don’t begrudge guys those restricted “uniforms” of guy-dom. I wish I were able to settle on a “look” that I could stick with and not be seen as a boring frump. I do think, however, that efforts to expand guys’ clothing options make it difficult for this seasonal associate to remain in good humor. For instance, one section of the men’s department is devoted to khaki pants (not all tan, mind you, but those twill pants referred to as khakis). Three or four brands make up this rather large section, but each brand has styles and substyles…that all look EXACTLY alike unless you are wearing them. It’s nuts. And, after hours of folding and trying to restock shelves, I started to wonder just which styles received the highest percentage of interest. Something tells me slim fit, flat front might not be as popular as classic fit, no-iron roomy legged, but I could be wrong. Reading the tags (which are also almost exactly alike except for one or two words that determine where they should be shelved) on each and every pair also is tiresome when you have stacks upon stacks of pants to reshelve during your shift.
No wonder I have only ever purchased pants for my husband a handful of times in our over 14 years of marriage. Something inside me told me it was probably an exercise in frustration and now I know why–too many models of basically the same sedan.
I suppose I should count my blessings that I am not the full-time associate whose job it is to maintain order in that area of the store. She explained to me the first time we worked together that to maintain organization, it was imperative to recognize each brand, style and sub-style of pants. After about ten minutes doing the job, I realized why she seemed so defeated explaining it to me. Crazy. Town.
I will keep my good humor, though, and hone my folding ability. If they ever offer a contest for store folders like they do grocery baggers and hot dog eaters, I will be in for some major prize money.