80¢ pants aren't worth it

Advertisers spend millions each year to convince you that shopping is a recreational sport. And, since you are parting with your hard-earned money, it should be enjoyable-right? If you buy in to this theory, then why do many retail shops go out of their way to make you uncomfortable?

If you aren't sure what I mean, then you aren't shopping for "higher end" merchandise and kudos to you. However, if you are like me and have better taste than sense, you are looking for labels in every store from the Galleria to the outlet malls. This week I found myself drawn to a "50 to 80 percent off!" store closing sale.

The advertisement looked like a sub-prime auto dealer's and even promised a whole department filled with items less than three dollars. In the store, I was greeted with a rack of animal print pants selling for 80 cents each. The girls working the register joked that I could use them as disposable pants for a weekend in Vegas. If you think that is ugly, just wait. I had the nerve to bring my kids into the "designer apparel" department. There, I was stalked by a wanna-be socialite wearing a pair of those animal print pants. She warned the kids that there were "all sorts of things" that could hurt them on the racks. She blamed them for taking the tags off of sweaters in an area where we never set foot.

I feel sorry for her grandkids. I also feel for the company's stockholders. I left with nothing. Not that I have a trip to Vegas planned anyway, but I surely would have found something I "needed" in the Super Saver Department. And according to my unscientific research, this scenario plays out all the time to all types of people in all types of stores.

So, what do you do when someone in the "service" industry treats you with such little respect? Whether you commit the faux-pas of wearing a t-shirt to the designer boutique or (gasp!) forget to get a manicure before trying on sandals, remember that you have the power. You and I control which businesses fail and which succeed.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
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