NYC Change Rooms. A Place We Can All Fit In

NYC Change Rooms. A Place We Can All Fit In

A day’s spoils. I bought two pairs of sunglasses. No change room required.

A few observations for you while I accompanied Daphne to several NYC change rooms during US Thanksgiving.

Our first change room was at H&M, 5th Ave. The following are my observations, or quite possibly, the job descriptions these staff are working towards:

  1. If you stand around complaining about the mess customers have made, it gets better on its own.
  2. If you stand around complaining about all you have to do to keep up with the customers, the customers will want to help you by re-merchandising the items for you ‘exactly’ where they found the items (on the floor).
  3. If you put someone in a room with 5 items but don’t clear out the room first of hangers and strewn clothing you will a) appear too busy to help and customers will say ‘Poor Baby’ and leave you alone, b) end up with more than 5 garments returned without explanation and c) you will be able to leave a giant pile of strewn clothing at the end of the day for the morning staff to again confirm how busy the store was.
  4. If the manager asks a group of 6 staff to move one rack to the floor that has already been merchandised, you might as well be asking them to screw in a lightbulb, because you won’t have enough staff to help. Complain until reinforcements come or your shift is over.
  5. If you bring your skank in to try on super tight dresses while you are at work, you won’t be able to help customers or do what the manager asks in case the skank’s choice is too small. You need to be there for that.
  6. You will hate your job and ensure everyone knows it.

Our second change room was Aeropostale (we hit all the hot spots). These people were insanely organized and competent. I was impressed! Not, facetious, truthfully they were exemplary. This is the job description they were hired with:

  1. If a customer asks you for a size, several staff should be available and willing to help.
  2. If you give a garment back that you don’t want, it will be immediately folded or hung and one of three people in charge of reshelving will be around shortly to restock it.
  3. If you swear in front of a customer by accident, you must apologize profusely. The customer will make a joke about the one male staff member being at fault and make you feel better. (I am a giver that way).
  4. You will love your job and feel social, competent and productive and earn your turkey dinner.
  5. There will be no garments left on the floor or in the change room in the morning because you respect each other as staff.
  6. If you use the word garment, your 13-year-old daughter will roll her eyes.

Our last change room was at Saks. They had a party dress sale and I tried on three items. It was Saks, this should be the gold standard job description. Actual women that haven’t worn a size 2 in 20 years worked here. This will be good! At Saks, an employee must adhere to the following:

  1. Each garment a customer is trying on will cost more than her daughter spent on her entire new wardrobe. As a result, each customer gets a mini water bottle.
  2. There are fabulous shoes to try the dresses on with in the change rooms. They will be taken off a customer’s feet by a different sales woman if the customer’s advocate/sales person leaves to get water.
  3. You will not like the other staff. (I reckon they were on commission). It is best to walk by each other without acknowledgement.
  4. There will be no discernible system to determine if a change room is occupied except to look through the door to see if you can see skin. Don’t worry, customers don’t care if it violates their privacy. They feel privileged to be in a Saks change room.
  5. Once it is determined that the customer is not going to make a purchase, disappear leaving them to add the merchandise back to the rack and find a suitable place for the empty water thimble.
  6. Make sure that the fabulous shoes in the change room are unavailable in the shoe department.

I worked in retail for many years while in high school and university. The monotony of setting people up in change rooms and re-merchandising their inside-out clothing choices can be tiresome (that is probably the definition of monotony). But I think other retail outlets can learn a lot from Aeropostale. I spent a good 45 minutes in that change room (remember, entire new wardrobe…) and everyone was happy and pleasant. I felt good about hanging there and was constantly amused and was asked frequently enough if everything was fitting ok. Bravo!

Saks sucks and H&M must stand for Hell & More because it was hell just being there for 10 minutes. I couldn’t wait to get out, no wonder the staff felt the same.

Damn, I did it again. This might have been one of those posts I could have made money from… sadly, Mister will never retire.


  1. Interesting observations.

    Never worked in retail, but I can’t imagine picking up after people all day long … at least those who aren’t related to me.

    I must be shopping at the wrong places. My experience has been the H&M thing every time.

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