Art and Writing from the Domestic Front by Rachel Barlow
I realize that being overweight these days is the moral equivalent of cannibalism, but in spite of all the moral deficiencies popular culture assigns to the obsese (disgusting, undisciplined, insert pajorative adjective here), no one has ever said being fat makes you stupid.
At least not to our faces.
Or maybe they do.
Take my favorite store, for example. A few days ago while I was out running errands, I noticed they had opened a location relatively nearby.
“Let’s go in,” I said to Thing2. Thing2 groaned. “It’ll only be a few minutes,” I said.
We walked in, and I noticed a dress I had been eying online. I knew they had my plus-sized size, which is why I’ve liked this store for a while.
“How can I help you?” Asked the perfectly coiffed 20-something at the register.
“Do you have this in size E?” I asked.
“Oh, we don’t carry any plus sizes in the store,” she said. “But I can look it up for you online.”
“I can do that at home,” I said. “Is it free shipping if I order in the store?”
“No,” she said, “but I can ship it to you as our valued customer.”
“And if I need to return it, can I bring it back or so I have to ship it back?” I asked.
“You would need to ship it back,” she said. “But I can look it up for you. It’s something we do for our valued customers.”
I thought for a minute about how to answer her. It’s nice that they offer my size, and if they don’t want to offer it in the store, they don’t have to. But when she called me a valued customer again, I really had to try not to laugh. Instead, channeling Inigo Montoya, I said, “You keep calling me that but I don’t think you know what that means.”
I, however, do know what it means to be a valued customer.
It doesn’t hurt my feelings one iota if the CEO of High Fashion Inc and/or their staff think plus-sized women are so repugnant that we should probably kill ourselves. If they don’t want the 61% of American women who are overweight in their stores because we are immoral or don’t fit their image, that’s fine with me too. But, contrary to what their marketing departments think, being overweight doesn’t make me stupid which is why I turned and walked out of my favorite store for good.
And when I do get the weight off and go looking for a celebratory little black dress, I will be heading to one of the few stores that did see me as a valued customer – at any size.