Changing room rage!
Mirrors that prove your bottom's as big as a bungalow, curtains that are a peeping Tom's dream... no wonder so many women suffer
It's the ultimate shopping nightmare: a sales assistant pulls open the curtain to the changing room and the entire shop is treated to the sight of you in mismatched greying underwear.
Little wonder that a survey has revealed almost half of women suffer from changing room rage while three-quarters hate them so much they refuse to use them.
From pushy staff to petty rules, here’s our guide to the biggest causes of changing room rage...
DOORS THAT COVER ONLY HALF OF YOU
Why do some stores have changing room doors that cover only your mid-section? Did they run out of wood?
A door that protects your modesty from the chest down to the knees is all very well — until you have to bend down to pick something off the floor.
The worst offenders are cowboy saloon doors that never quite meet in the middle and flap open when anyone walks past, forcing you to try to dress with one hand while clamping the doors with the other.
Then there’s the thick curtain that pulls across and would have been just perfect — if only they’d used an inch more fabric.
‘EVERYTHING OK IN THERE?’
Four words you never want to hear when you’re trying on clothes in a shop. You’re slipping on a skirt, not splitting the atom.
You always reply with a cheery ‘Fine, thanks’ when what you actually want to say is: ‘Look, I’ve been dressing myself for decades without any problems and I’m pretty sure I’ve got the hang of it, so can you just back off and leave me to it.’
It's easier to shake off a Jehovah Witness at your front door than an assistant who works on commission. No matter what you choose, she’ll have ‘just the belt, jacket, handbag and necklace’ to go with it.
She’ll swoon over everything you try on, even roping in her equally devious colleague to tell you how amazing you look.
If it’s too big, she’ll tell you it will shrink; if it’s too tight, she’ll tell you that it will give.
If you admit you quite like something in red, she’ll bring it to you in blue, black and yellow.
Just when you think you’ve escaped and you’ve reached the till with just the one item — out come the protector sprays.
RESTRICTING WHAT YOU CAN TRY ON
Most stores will not let you take more than five items into a changing room for security reasons.
So if you have, say, seven items, you have to leave two with the assistant. A perfectly reasonable sounding policy — until you attempt to put it into practice.
Once you have tried on all five of your items and are ready to swap two for the ones left outside, you’ll have more chance of winning EuroMillions than of attracting the assistant’s attention.
So you have to get fully dressed and go out to her, when you will discover that the two items have been put back on the shop floor. When they’re retrieved after a ten-minute delay, you have to leave behind two of the items you have already tried on and wish to purchase. And when you emerge, they won’t be there either.
TRYING IT IN A DIFFERENT SIZE
You've queued for 20 minutes on a busy Saturday, finally got a cubicle — and the wretched dress doesn’t fit or flatter. You cover up, walk to the front desk and ask if you could try the next size up.
The changing room manager will summon a sales girl, who will look at you as though you’ve asked for one of her kidneys. You just know she isn’t going to look properly.
Sure enough, she’ll return after a few minutes to inform you that the size you want isn’t in stock.
As you walk out, what will be the first thing you see? That’s right, the dress in the size you asked for.
THE BELL THAT’S NEVER ANSWERED
Some department store lingerie sections have bells in the changing rooms, so if you need a different size you don’t have to leave the cubicle.
What a brilliant idea. You try on a bra, but it’s a little tight. No problem, you just press the bell and wait for assistance. And wait. And wait. After five minutes, you press it again. Nothing. You try one last time without success and get dressed in a foul temper while plotting ‘death by coat hanger’ for the useless assistant who didn’t come to your aid.
As you leave, she appears and you tell her the bra didn’t fit. ‘Oh, why didn’t you ring the bell?’ she asks brightly.
CROWDED COMMUNAL CHANGING ROOMS
Thankfully, these are no longer in wide use because the penny finally dropped with retailers that people don’t like stripping down to their smalls in front of total strangers.
But however unpleasant the experience, there’s also something weirdly compelling about them if you have mastered the art of stealthily eyeing up everyone else’s cellulite and saddlebags.
It’s almost fun — until you spot a toned, leggy, snake-hipped nymph trying on the same dress you are attempting to squash your marshmallow body into.
She looks like Cheryl Cole; you look like Cherie Blair — an observation that is not lost on the rest of the room, who are all sniggering into their skinny white vest tops.
NO MIRROR TRICK
A ploy of many an expensive, independent boutique. They’ve intimidated you into trying on one of their over-priced designs, but what you won’t realise — until it’s too late — is that there’s no mirror in the changing room.
You will have no option but to come out of the cubicle to view yourself in the shop mirror.
The owner, who has been lying in wait, will pounce and hold you hostage until you agree to buy the unflattering monstrosity that will end up lining the dog basket.
FOUR MIRROR TRICK
I normally have no idea what I look like from behind and am perfectly happy with this state of affairs.
When I try on a potential purchase, all I care about is that I won’t empty a room when I walk into it.
I’ve spent ten years trying not to catch sight of my bottom in a mirror, so why on earth do shops think I want to look at my body from every conceivable angle? There I was, trying to kid myself I didn’t have a bottom the size of a retirement bungalow and back fat escaping from my bra — until I stripped off in a changing room with mirrors on all four sides.
FLATTERING MIRROR TRICK
You feel fat, frumpy and just know you’re going to look like a sack of spuds tied in the middle in the dress you are about to try on.
But, hold on a minute, what’s this vision you see before you? You’re 10lb lighter than you thought, your hair is shining, skin is glowing and your cellulite and muffin top have vanished.
With a skip in your step, you head home with your new dress — only to discover that the supermodel in the changing room mirror has vanished and, in her place is a fat, frumpy sack of spuds tied in the middle.
Anyone else know the feeling? You can read the article here