Dear Lane Bryant:
Leave my tummy alone.
This weekend, when Aaron was out of town and the kids were with my in-laws, I had the all-too-rare opportunity to do some clothes shopping all by myself. There aren’t a lot of stores around here where I can actually walk inside and try things on in my size, and for all your other faults, Lane Bryant, I love that I can go into your fitting rooms and play dress-up, so that’s where I went.
I was wandering past an aisle of pants, in search of a black pencil skirt, when your first sales associate pounced. “Have you seen our new Tummy Tightening pants? They’re fabulous – they really help minimize that problem area.” She continued: “Our store is one of the test stores that gets to preview them and give them feedback so they know whether to introduce them in all of the stores, so I hope you’ll try some on and let us know what you think!”
Well, she did ask for feedback. “No thanks,” I said, “I’m pretty okay with my tummy the way it is.”
She looked startled. “Ah—oh,” she said, and left me alone.
I gathered an armload of clothes to try on – including this cute sundress, which wasn’t in on the rack in my usual size 24 but I decided to try in a 22, just for kicks — and headed back to the fitting room (although I never did find a black pencil skirt that didn’t have Tummy Tightening Technology).
The sundress didn’t fit, of course. I asked the sales associate (a different one) if they had it in the next size up; the 22 was almost perfect, but just a bit too tight in the waist and hips. “Oh, that’s easy!” said Sales Associate #2. “Just throw on some Spanx under there and it’ll fit perfect!”
“I’m not big on Spanx,” I replied. “They’re so uncomfortable.”
“Oh, who cares if you’re uncomfortable,” said SA#2, “when you look fabulous!”
Here’s the thing, Lane Bryant, that you and your sales associates don’t seem to be understanding: I already look fabulous. I’m not interested in magically squeezing myself into a dress that’s a size smaller if it means I’m itchy and sweaty and I can’t breathe. I don’t know what your fixation is with my midsection these days, but it’s just fine. I don’t need you to sell me fake self-esteem packaged as Tummy Tightening – I have plenty of real self-esteem of my own. All I want is to find clothes in my size that fit my body the way it is.
And since it seems that’s too much to ask, I’m afraid I’m leaving you for a retailer who respects me the way I am, instead of one whose corporate culture is to tell me my body is flawed. My areas don’t have any problems, Lane Bryant, is what I’m saying; so we’re through. It’s not me, it’s you.
A formerly loyal customer