Friday, May 10, 2013

My Abercrombie Experience

I have never been thin, I will never be thin, and I have since embraced that fact. I am healthy, I work out, I eat right, and I am finally happy with my body. When I was younger though, I had major body issues. I was never what you would call "fat" but I was never skinny either. I just flat out didn't like my body. My thighs disgusted me, the rolls in my tummy annoyed me, and my large chest made me think about breast reduction many times. Then cue high school when everyone's worried about what they're wearing and how good they looked in it. Usually I wasn't into being like everyone else but this is when the "Polo Craze" was big so I decided that I wanted to have one too. I wanted to feel pretty like all the other kids in school.

My friend and I journeyed to the local mall to get our polos so we can be the cool 16 year olds like everyone else. She wanted to go into Abercrombie even though I was cool with just to JcPenny or some other department store. The smell of that place alone made me want to turn around and leave but I journeyed back to where the polo shirts were. There was one that was this really pretty aqua color and I decided I had saved up enough money from my summer job to buy it.

Like I said I was never overly fat, but I did have a fairly large chest so I mostly wore large/extra-large shirts. While looking through the rack of polo shirts, I couldn't find anything larger than a size large and even that looked like it was made for a pre-teen with no figure. A saleswoman came up and asked me if I needed any help.

"Where do you keep your extra-large sizes?" I asked.

"Oh they are over there on the top of the shelf," she pointed to the 9 foot tall shelving unit, "We don't want it to look like fat people shop in our stores."

I looked incredulously at her thinking to myself, "Did she really just say that?" Part of me thought of something witty to say back while the other self-conscious part of me was crying on the inside. My responses was to simply turn and walk out of that store. To this day I have never stepped in one again.

This story of my experience is why I'm not surprised at all about these new allegations that are coming out about Abercrombie. At the time I wish I had done something more than sent a letter to the store manager (to which I never got an answer back) but the fact was I guess I just didn't care to start a fight. If they didn't want me shopping at their store than fine, but to say something like "we don't want it so LOOK like fat people shop at our stores" did strike something in me.

At 16 I was too worried about other things going on and was able to brush it off. Needless to say I stuck with stores that offered realistic sizes and didn't shun anyone for shopping in their stores. The sinking feeling in my stomach whenever I walk passed an Abercrombie and the words of that saleswoman echoing in my head will always be there. THAT I can't brush off.


Jennifer said...

Wow. No words for that, except I wish I could reach back in time and slap that girl. Grrr.

Anonymous said...

I too would like to slap the salesperson. Isn't it amazing how vulnerable that age is and how long-lasting are the effects of a few careless words? A boy barked at me when I was 15 while I was sitting outside of my school, and it honestly made me think I was ugly for years. I too will never be thin. My body is just not programmed that way. It's a great feeling when you stop trying to squash yourself into the same mold as everyone else and embrace YOU. You're gorgeous inside and out just the way you are, Sam!
That sales lady is a prime example of why I prefer shopping online to shopping in a brick and mortar store.

Sam Curtin said...

Me too Jennifer! I wish I had done so many more things than just walking away but at 16 I didn't know what to do.

Sam Curtin said...

It's crazy how one moment in time can affect a person for a long time. Luckily for me I was able to get over it and embrace my body. You are gorgeous inside and outside too, Sarah! :)

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