One of my favorite stores to visit when I would go shopping was Urban Outfitters. I love how different all their stuff is, even when some of the items are completely overpriced for what it is; every now and then I find an item I can’t pass up that I know my circle of conservatively dressed friends wouldn’t ever think of buying.
But my (now rare) visits to that store are always a little bit tinged with memories of humiliation and anxiety.
I went to the mall with two of my girl friends about 5 years ago, and we ended up at UO. I bought a bag, I can’t even remember which one now, but I checked the lining to make sure nothing was coming apart, checked the pockets to see if it would sufficiently hold my jumble of miscellaneous beauty products, and I went to check out.
This part went off without a hitch. The girl gave the bag a once-over, put it in a shopping bag and handed it to me. I took the bag and went back towards my friends who were still looking at their items. After they had all finished shopping and we were walking out the door, the alarm sounded.
I mean, this happens all the time. You turn to whoever is there, and say, “Would you like to check my bags?” and they usually wave you out. But they made a beeline straight towards me, ignoring my friends, and snatched up my bag.
Wouldn’t you know, inside my pretty new purchase, was a clutch that had not been paid for.
It was the most humiliating moment of my life. I had absolutely no idea how it got in there, and I’d think I’d be smart enough if I were to actually entertain the idea of stealing something to take off that BIG BULKY ANTI-THEFT TAG that was hanging from it. The employees were accusatory, shooting me with questions to which I had no answers. But they let me go with my purchase eventually.
I’ll never know what happened that day; did the girl at the counter slip it in my bag as a joke? Was it part of a drill? In any case, it still burns me inside to this day 5 years later, that I was accused, so publicly, of something I didn’t do. It’s not a fun feeling.
So my visits to UO become fewer and farther between. I don’t want this to accidentally happen again one day, I never want to feel the red hot embarrassment coloring my face. And if I do go there, can you blame me that I hold my bag a little bit tighter to my body and double check to make sure nobody slipped something in while I wasn’t looking before I exit the store?
This never happens at J.Crew.