Showing posts with label pet peeves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pet peeves. Show all posts

Monday, March 28, 2011

Know Your Demographics, Stores!

While running errands this week, I decided to do a little clothes shopping and get some grown-up clothes for a trip I'll be making soon.  But I was so frustrated by the experience that I didn't buy as much as I would liked to have bought. 

So I need to air a pet peeve about plus-sized clothing stores.  I've been ticked off about this for many years now; I know a lot of others out there have had the same frustration.  Time to air it.

Now, I'm not one to blog about fatshion topics much; anyone who knows me knows I'm incredibly casual most of the time. I'm all about feeling comfortable and could care less if I look fashionable.  I like to look decent but it has to be comfortable above all else.  I'm about one step above slacker most days. I do have a some dress-up items and business clothes when more formality is needed, but most of the time I'm just looking for casual, comfortable, decent everyday clothes.  Shouldn't be that hard to find.....but it is.

I don't shop much because I don't have time to get out to the stores very often.  Also, I'm not an easy body type to fit; a lot of what's out there doesn't suit me.  So when I find something, I tend to buy it in 15 colors, just in case, and I tend to buy a lot of things at once so I don't have to come back often. I'm not a frequent or prolific shopper compared to some, but the stores can make some pretty decent money off of me if they have something nice-looking in my size.  And that's the problem, right there.  In my size.

So I'm at Catherine's this week, looking around. It's not my favorite store (seriously, do we need sequins on everything?  I like a little bling now and again, but this is overkill!), but it does have my size (26/28), which a lot of regular plus-sized stores don't have (they usually stop at 24).  Plus-sized choices in my size are fairly limited in my area without some serious driving, so when I do shop, it's often there.

What pissed me off was that the chain continues to ignore the demographics of its customers, overstocking the smaller sizes and seriously stinting on the larger sizes. 

They continue to order 50 zillion items in size 0x-1x (sizes 16-18 or so), and far fewer items in a size 3x or 4x (26/28 or 30/32).  Yes, they do have 3x, 4x, and even 5x items, but as a percentage of their offerings and in relation to their customer base, the bigger sizes are under-represented compared to the smaller stuff.

The customer base I consistently see in the store (me included) is usually 3x-4x.  I rarely see a 1x-sized woman in the store.  Sometimes, but not nearly as often as 3x-4x women.

So thus when you get to the sales racks, there is an abundance of 1x stuff that's NOT selling, and hardly any 3x-4x stuff, which is what most of the customers are looking for.  And even in its first-run items, the 3x and 4x sell out really quickly and it's hard to find items in those sizes unless you are there the week an item arrives.

I mean, really, retailers ─ get a #$%*ing clue!  People who wear a size 16 are usually able to shop in regular, "straight"-size stores.  Do you think most of them are going to Catherine's to shop?  I mean, I'm sure some do, but most do not.

Catherine's is a specialty store, and it's going to serve primarily the plus-sized woman who cannot shop at regular stores but doesn't want to take a chance ordering something blindly off the internet that may or may not fit.

These women are going to primarily be 2x-4x, with an especially high concentration of 4x (since 2x-3x is the size at which many plus-sized departments usually stop).  I mean, if I can buy a 2x shirt at K-Mart or Wal-Mart, why am I going to drive further and pay more to buy a similar shirt at Catherine's? 

The women who spend a lot of money at Catherine's are going to primarily be women on the larger side of the plus sizes. You would think that Catherine's would know and honor this, but apparently it doesn't.

To their credit, Catherine's does carry 5x, which is far more than many plus-size stores carry.  So kudos to them on that at least.

But come on, Catherine's, know your clientele!  Most of your customers are going to be women in the 3x-4x sizing, so you should be sending far more of those sizes to the stores, and fewer of the 0x and 1x items. Instead, it's the other way around, and the end result is too many small sizes extra afterwards and unsatisfied customers among the larger sizes.  Another example of size snobbery even among stores that cater to plus-sized women.

And it leaves me pissed off like crazy when I go there, see something really cute that I'd be interested in buying.....only to find out that they only have it in 0x and 1x anymore.  They really lose my goodwill when this happens.  Makes me not want to shop at their store very often, honestly. 

It's not just Catherine's, of course.  Lane Bryant has similar issues, as does Avenue and several others.  However, the demographics of those stores skew younger, so they are going to have a somewhat more substantial base in the 1x-3x size.  But it's not like younger women never wear size 4x!  They want cute clothes in their size, not granny stuff.  And even as middle-aged as I am, I'd shop those places more too if they'd just stock more 4x items (that are true to size).  They're neglecting part of their clientele too.

I have complained about this to store managers for years.  The managers always say, yes we KNOW, we've been telling corporate headquarters that for ages, but they don't listen.

COME ON RETAILERS.  KNOW YOUR DEMOGRAPHICS! 

Don't base your purchases on the demographics of how many fat women wear what size in the U.S., base it on the distribution of sizes of your clientele, the people who actually come and shop there.

You are cheating yourself out of a lot of sales when you skew too much to the smaller sizes. And you are pissing off the larger-sized clientele, often the ones with more money to spend. 

Stop the size snobbery, and stop alienating the very customers who are the heart of your business model. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fashion Peeve #547

Not a lot to say today on birth; have plenty of big things in the works regarding birth but nothing ready to post yet.

However, wanted to air a pet plus-size fashion peeve and I figured, who else would understand like the fatosphere?

Here's plus-sized fashion pet peeve #547:

Why oh WHY do they cut plus-sized necklines so wide?

Granted, I hate crew neck shirts because they feel too snug around my neck, and we probably do generally want a little more room in the neck than thinner folk.

But do they always have to cut plus-sized shirt necklines so wide? Isn't there a happy medium somewhere?

Ugh, I can't tell you how many great shirts I've gotten rid of because the neckline is cut just a tad too wide and my bra strap ends up showing during normal activities.

Obviously if it shows my bra straps a lot when I try it on, I don't buy it. But what looks fine in the store often slips and slides around at home during normal wearing and I find my bra straps are often exposed.

I'm not a prude. I don't get shocked or offended if someone's bra straps show for a bit. And some shirts are designed to show bra straps...that's okay too.

But I do think it's tacky when a shirt that's not designed to show bra straps does. And especially in those of us with a rack who have to wear industrial-strength bras that don't have pretty, delicate little bra straps to show. It just looks tacky, nothing more.

Also, I work with kids a lot and it's just distracting and inappropriate to have your bra straps hanging out all the time. So I want a shirt where I don't have to constantly monitor what my neckline is doing or whether my straps are showing. Is that so much to ask?

I was trying to find a shirt this weekend for various activities, and I was just struck by how many shirts I have in my closet that I don't wear except around the house because of the neckline/bra strap issue.

AUGH!! So much wasted money, so much wasted cute clothing....all because someone doesn't take the time to understand REAL plus-sized women's proper fit.

And don't even get me started on how all the shirts are either too short or too long!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Banker's Hours

I have to air a pet peeve of mine.

I am really ticked off at all the dentists, doctors, etc. who expect us to pull our kids from school in order to schedule routine appointments. What kind of message does this send to our kids?

I took my kids to the dentist this week for a cleaning. Afterwards, they wanted me to schedule the next appointment, in six months. Fine, we do this all the time.

In the past this was easy because we had a different school schedule that gave us periodic time off during the school week, so we always scheduled it for those days so as not to miss any lesson time. However, the school's schedule has now changed. We now have early release on some Fridays, but of course the dentist doesn't work then. Heaven forbid he actually work a normal work week like everyone else in the world.

So fine, I ask about apppointments after school. Oh no, the dentist doesn't stay late. Heaven forfend he might be inconvenienced at all.

No, no, instead, he basically expects kids to MISS SCHOOL in order to get a routine dental cleaning.

Never mind that he just hired another dentist to lighten his load. He could have her work some later hours......but no. That's far too much to ask.

No, instead, they have to send the message that school is unimportant, that everything else in the world takes priority over learning, that his precious time is far more important than mere education.

Well, I find that totally unacceptable. School is very important, and it's very difficult to make up missed classroom time. Sure, you can get any assignments missed, but any teacher will tell you that it's JUST NOT THE SAME.

You just don't "get" it the same way if you don't hear the teacher's lecture or get to ask interactive questions right then and there. If there's a science lab or a special hands-on learning activity, that kind of stuff simply can't be made up. And frequent absences makes the teacher and the kid's jobs SO much harder.

Now, some absences are just going to happen. It's a rare kid that doesn't ever miss school. And dental emergencies happen, or sometimes there are other circumstances that dictate having a dental appointment during school time. Sometimes it just can't be helped.

But these absences should be kept to a MINIMUM and they shouldn't be for some routine thing like a cleaning, for heaven's sake.

It makes me just furious that basically, I have almost no choice but to have the kids miss school in order to get their dental cleanings. To minimize this, I always schedule one for the summertime, but you simply can't expect everyone to have winter and summer cleanings. Some are going to have to be in the spring and fall. Why can't there be some appointments available outside of school hours?

And what about parents who work outside the home? I do, but I work part-time and my schedule is fairly flexible. I can make dental appointments and doctor appointments work if I must....but what about those parents who can't?

Some parents simply cannot take time off for things like dental cleanings. With this dentist's practice, they'd be out of luck. They'd have to take personal or vacation time in order to get regular dental cleanings for their kids.....or their kids would have to go without. In fact, I'd bet that's one of the barriers for getting regular cleanings and dental care for many kids.

In the end, I made an appointment for the last time slot of the dentist's day, one where we won't have to miss school if we RUSH off right at the end of school......but I will have to do this multiple times in order to get all my kids in. It's not a short drive, so this is no minor inconvenience. I could make only one trip if I was simply willing to ditch school and schedule earlier in the day....but what does that teach my kids?

I think good dental care is important....but I don't think I should have to sacrifice my kids' learning for it.

You would think in particular that a pediatric practice would have at least some extra hours appointments available.....but no.

I communicated my displeasure pretty clearly to the receptionist and asked her to pass it on to the dentist in the strongest possible words.

I have to say, though, much as I like this practice otherwise, I may just have to find another dentist over this issue.....one that offers enough appointment times that missing school is not our only real option.

Hopefully there are still some dentists out there that don't keep banker's hours and expect their own convenience to supercede everyone else's learning and school and work commitments. I sure hope that there is, because child #3 is going to be needing braces within a year or so. I simply could not countenance taking him out of school that often.

What do you do for dental appointments for your school-aged kids, assuming they are not home-schooled?