Before I go, I have something to say

Why I Don’t Shop Here Anymore

Dear [Name Deleted] Store,

You may have noticed that I don’t come around anymore, debit card in hand. We had a good thing for a while there, me charging into your racks of clothes / shelves of food / acres of furniture, you happily taking my money. Now the thrill is gone. There are many reasons, as many as there are shops around here. Here’s a list of the most common reasons I take a store off my shopping list:

Cashiers ignoring customers. There’s nothing like standing there, ready to fork over too much cash for too little merchandise, as two teenage clerks discuss what they’re going to do after work. Even worse is overhearing two disgruntled employees complain about having to work there. What am I supposed to do? Apologize?

Music that’s too loud. I said, YOUR MUSIC IS TOO LOUD. If I can’t carry on a conversation with my shopping companion without shouting, your music is a problem. I don’t care if it’s my favorite R.E.M. song, I need to be able to think.

No doors on your dressing rooms. I have only encountered this once, at a store not (yet) in Dubuque, but it was a trauma I’m still trying to get over. I should send you the therapy bill.

Harassing me during check-out to apply for a “rewards” card, open a credit card and “save” on today’s purchase, buy a book/toy/piece of gum for a needy child, or do anything at all besides pay for the items I’ve placed on the counter. I feel guilty when I say No, and why would I want to come back to a place that makes me feel bad?

Broken bathroom locks. I mean, really. You’ve got to be kidding.

Constantly being out of my favorite yogurt or shampoo or cat litter or underwear or lipstick color or anything, anything at all. If you want to put Dannon Strawberry Fruit-on-the-Bottom yogurt on sale, for heaven’s sake, stock up first!

I can’t reach the stuff up high, or down low. Don’t make me find a non-existent member of your Store’s A-Team in order to buy a new toaster, all right? I can order it online from another store. And yes, that’s a threat.

Two words: Scented candles. Okay, three words: Incense. If I start to get a headache just walking by your spot in the mall, you can bet I’m not going in, even if you sell other stuff I like that’s not scented enough to make a dumpster smell like springtime.

Shoving free samples at me the minute I edge close to your door. It could be that I’ve been to your store before, so I’ve already tried your merchandise. In fact, I may be trying to stop by for a quick refill of something I’ve already sampled. So let me in! And then, let me out!

Making me buy things I really don’t like in order to score points on your Fuel Saver / Rewards / Loyalty Card. You know who you are.

Putting basic stuff I need every week in the farthest reaches of the store. If I have time to browse, believe me, I’ll browse. But not when I’m just out of church and on my way to Chicago and really need to buy some [insert basic thing here] before I go.

Displaying live baby animals anywhere near where I need to shop in your store. I’m sorry, but I’ve already given a home to as many rescue animals as I’m allowed. And so has everyone else in my family. Guilt again. Why do stores want to make us feel guilty?

Clerks not leaving me alone when I say I’m “just looking.” That means I do not want to know about today’s sale, or tomorrow’s blow-out event, or this weekend’s Black Saturday. I just. Want. To. Look.

Clerks hiding in the back somewhere when I really need help getting something down, or finding something you moved since the last time I was here, or asking the price of something I’m pretty sure I can’t afford but need to be sure about.

Marking prices up on your purses just before your GIANT HALF-OFF PURSE SALE. I have friends who used to work at your store. I know all about your scams.

Trying to convince me I look great in that dress, that hat, or – ha ha! – that swimsuit. See that mirror? So do I.

Saying “Bye!” sarcastically after I’ve wandered in to see if you have something, and you do, but it’s outrageously overpriced. This really happened to me. Like I’m ever going in that store again.

No longer selling strawberry sodas. Really, Dubuque? I have to drive to Davenport or Iowa City for a strawberry soda?

Trying to supersize me. If I want the large soft drink, I’ll order it. I have been places where ordering the smaller size (drink, burger, or fries) actually costs more. And we wonder why obesity is the new epidemic.

Trying to upsell me. I know what this means, because I know someone who used to work for a catalogue that rewarded staff who did it. If they could talk a customer into ordering more than they originally intended, they got a tiny bonus.

Closing down without warning me. Or even with plenty of warning. Where are my favorite stores of yesteryear? How I miss you, Petite Sophisticate! Not you, Borders! <sniff> And that other one, the place with the great – you know which one I mean. How can an entire chain shut down? Don’t talk to me about the Great Recession. If you want me to spend my money, don’t take away my favorite stores! The list is getting way too short.

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