I’ve received three direct compliments and multiple friendly greetings this morning, all because I finally fit in at work. I decided that I’d been putting shopping off for too long and dragged myself to the mall on Saturday. I went with a very clear plan of action and didn’t leave until I’d reached my goals. And now, at work, I’m seeing the clear benefits of all the effort – more respect and friendliness from coworkers.
My shopping plan of action:
- Take Inventory: Make a list of all the clothes that are suitable for work, and put marks next to the tops that work only under a jacket.
- Make a List: After reviewing inventory, make note of what is needed. I realized that I mostly only needed tops, some new hosiery, and some jewelry pieces to help tie outfits together.
- Look Good, Get Comfortable: The most important part of clothes shopping is looking good and being comfortable. I put on a button-up top, a comfortable pair of nice jeans, and slip on shoes.
- Take Breaks: I had a good breakfast before heading out, but still needed to stop for lunch after a couple of stores.
- Pick Now, Buy Later: Try on clothes, decide what you want, and hold it for later. This way, you won’t be carrying bags around in the next store and can compare items at another store.
My shopping hit a snag when I failed to follow the last step: pick now, buy later. After spending hours in one store trying on what felt like their entire inventory, I walked to the counter with my selections. I had a $50 store gift card and a $50 generic gift card to use. Since I was focused on finding things I liked, I didn’t bother checking the price tags. I was pretty shocked when the four blouses cost $250 (I charged what was left after using up the gift cards).
Also, on the way out of the store, I stopped at the makeup counter and bought a few more items from my list of needed items.
Tired, but still needing a few more items, I checked out another store and found several tops on sale that would fit in at work. They weren’t as nice as the $80 tops, but they were good enough for work and were $20 each on sale. I picked up the hosiery and jewelry I needed and then headed back to the more expensive store to return to pricey tops.
I would have been fine with the more expensive purchase had I not just scored some tops that would serve the same purpose for much less. However, the return didn’t go as I expected thanks to the fact that I used multiple payment methods. I failed to realize that a partial return would be an equally distributed partial credit on each payment method (store gift card, generic gift card, credit). I’d shopped there to get rid of the $50 gift card and I ended up with $43 store credit (the total return was about $220).
After much discussion with the clerk and then customer service, who suggested too many hoop jumps to get the results I wanted, I gave up. What I should have done was return everything and then use the store credit/store gift card to buy the one top I wanted to keep. Instead, I went to the make up counter, returned the makeup I’d purchased, and then repurchased it with the store credit. It was an odd transaction, “you want to return these items, but then buy them again?”, but it did what I needed — use up the store credit.
Shopping Trip Results: 1 bra, 2 pairs of hose, 2 necklaces, 3 makeup items, 5 blouses. The total was $221.63. However, thanks to a variety of gift cards, I only spent $64.31 out of pocket. Not bad for everything I got.
The best part is that I now fit in with the conservative, corporate dress policy and people are being much friendlier. Of course, part of me wants to flip them off every time they walk by, but I’m pretty sure that would be a waste of the $65 dollars and 7 hours at the mall.