I have cried in Next twice in my life. Once was a few years back when I got into a fight with a pair of size 14 jeans. My argument was that they were merely a size 10 impersonating a 14 but every time I tried on a fresh pair with the same label they steadily refused to go over my thighs.
It was eventually with sobs of despair that I peeled myself out of the blue denim and laid breathless on the floor until some kindly soul handed me a pair of 16’s (which must have been 14’s on a fat day). Then as the zip slid up without too much protest I cried again as I realised that my ongoing weight battle was at a losing stance again….
Today I cried again…
But this time I was outside of the changing room, in a sea of Christmas Shoppers, where a curtain couldn’t hide my tears.
It was a shade embarrassing.
To say the least…
I was returning goods.
I have a hobby of ordering half of Next’s stock online, and trying it on at home (mainly because I cry in changing rooms when it doesn’t fit.). Then I traipse to the store to return all unwanted items, or the bits that empathise my muffin top….
Today, I handed a bag to the nice lady behind the counter who beamed at me.
“No good dear?”
I shook my head in agreement, I didn’t think she needed to know that I looked like an elephant in the leggings and Mr Blobby in the pink sweater. And when I wore them both together I looked like the love child of an elephant and Mr Blobby.
She then went to type in my refund in the posh computer that masquerades as a till.
“Can I take you first and second name dear?”
And I told her….
“That’s not what we have here lovely,” she chirped.
Ah, she wanted my old name – the one I discarded as soon as my husband left me.
I spoke again, using a name I don’t connect with me.
“Just married eh?” She beamed and her eyes sought the evidence on my left hand. Then as she saw only a naked knuckle, the penny dropped and she raised her eyes to mine.
“I’m getting divorced” I whispered.
Then to my mortification a huge welt of a tear hit the desk between us.
I pondered about trying to pretend there was a leak in the roof, despite the lack of rain outside. My imagination was trying to figure out a tale to explain away the water when two more huge drops fell from my eyes, as the woman stared transfixed.
“Hardest thing in the world, when your life doesn’t go as planned my love. Just keep going.”
And then she rubbed my arm and walked me out of the shop.
“Take care” she said as I walked, red faced, wet eyed to the car.
Sometimes sadness catches you when you weren’t expecting it. And sometimes complete strangers can be the bestest of friends.
And sometimes, shops should put their size 14’s on the size 10 rail – just to make shopping more fun.