Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Clothes Encounter—Of the Rude Kind

In which Inotherwordz exchanges harsh words and gets kicked out

Consignment shops are doing well these days. I’ve always been on to frequent these places, but I gather that lately, they’ve seen new customers who had considered them to be an option before.

I called one such shop, Clothes Encounters of A Second Kind, to ask if I could bring clothes in for consignment. I was told that they were getting full, but that I was free to come by any time. Granted, a busy Saturday morning is not the best time to go anywhere, but anytime means any time. So I didn’t expect to be greeted so rudely and eventually kicked out of.

As soon as I walked in the proprietress, greeted me with these words, “Oh, God, not another one.” To give this a generous context, I will say that she meant that I was yet another person coming in with clothes for consignment. I was instructed to go over to the side and wait while she schmoozed with people who indentified themselves as “good customers.” Fair enough. There were people there ahead of me. Yet, my back was already up because as they say, the bulk of communication is non-verbal. In word, gesture and tone she communicated that she did not want me there.

So here is the lesson: if you are not wanted and are in a position to leave, do so. Why stick around for more abuse? But I am stubborn, so I stayed and stewed, thinking that I would tell her that I understood she was busy and frazzled, but she might want to be kinder to customers.

When she was ready to attend me, she asked if I’d been there before and I hadn’t. I dutifully provided her with my basic information. Again, she mentioned just how very full the shop was getting. I was given to option to have clothes donated if they didn’t sell, and I took this option, so I was essentially saying goodbye to those clothes forever.

I gave her a phone number and when she asked for alternates, I said I had none. In modern life, all of our information is spread everywhere, so it seems pointless to even try to contain it, but I do. I get tired of having to give every story, office or whatever I enter every single piece of identifying information there is. One working phone number should suffice.

“If you move, we will have no way of contacting you.” Sure, life is full of surprises, but the clothes stay on consignment for, I think, 60 days and I had no plans to move. While I’m sure a consignment shop gets stuck with a lot of clothes, the fact that I’d chosen the donation option meant that if mine didn’t sell, they were free to give them the heave-ho.

“Well, I’ll try not to move then,” I said with a smile. This was a very lame attempt at humor on my part. Instead of breaking the tension, all hell broke loose. She had been looking for a way to get rid of me and she’d apparently found it.

“Do you really want to consign here?” she asked angrily. The truth is she didn’t want me to be there, but she was going to flip her disdain and make it my fault.

“Yes,” I said. “I don’t understand why you were so rude…”

“Get out,” she said.

The ensuing conversation got heated. I attempted to complete my statement and she told me no, she would not listen to me and to get out. It got ugly and as I said, all of this took place on a busy Saturday morning. Since Clothes Encounters of A Second Kind is at 202 7th Street SE, it is right near Eastern Market, and there were plenty of customers there to witness this exchange. Not that having witnesses around ever makes people reconsider their behavior.

I will admit that there were some rather unkind thoughts running through my head after this, but one really doesn’t have to wish misfortune on some people. Doing well is more than even to do them in.


Monica said...

WOW! That was definitely rude!

Monica said...

WOW! That was definitely rude!

Chrystibella said...

Wow! Not only rude but embarrassing! I wonder if it was an employee or the owner who treated you poorly? I looked up Clothes Encounters of A Second Kind and it's been in business since 1979. Perhaps it was a disgruntled employee or somebody having really bad PMS or personal problems. =) Still, no excuse for the way they treated a customer.

glanceagain said...

I am so sorry you had such an
awful experience in resale -
I have been in business for
24 years and we always welcome
new consignors and customers.
We would love your business.

inotherwordz said...

Chrystibella- I'm fairly certain it was the owner that I encountered.I'd been there before to browse.

Glanceagain-Thanks! Good to know that there are some good ones out there.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! I know some people don't do well under pressure, but that's inexcusable. I had heard that they have a really great selection, but I would never go there after hearing about your experience. So sorry you had to go through that!!! Virtual hugs for you :)

Adriana said...

Girl, this was crazy. She said "Get out???"

inotherwordz said...


In my memory, it was 'get out,' but perhaps it was the much more polite, 'leave.'