or, Yes, the Economy is Really That Bad
Back in January, when I had been engaged mere weeks, I went on a wedding dress shopping expedition in San Francisco with three friends, two of whom are also getting married this year. A Saks sample sale was the catalyst for our foray, but we checked out a whole range of places, from Jessica McClintock, where dresses started at $99, on up.
Walking down the street, we passed the lovely windows of a fancy national bridal salon, which we'll call Snooty Snoot Salon, and spontaneously rang to see if we could come up. At that point, I was an absolute wedding neophyte. I still thought $1000 was a lot of money for a dress, and I didn't know that bridal salons are are not enamored of spontaneity. Had they told us to come back when we had an appointment, that would have been fine.
Instead, they grudgingly invited us up, and seemed a bit taken a back when four grad students tromped into the store, looking like, well, grad students. Our appearance did not suggest that we had tons of money to spend - because we did not. The consultant seemed to further regret her decision when I revealed that the top of my price range barely overlapped with the bottom of the price range of dresses in the store. Having never investigated wedding dresses before that day I had no idea how expensive they can be.
My wedding date was the third strike: "You're getting married in October?!??! This October??!!! You're really a bit late to be looking for a dress. Thank goodness you came in TODAY!" [Lady, I couldn't have come in any earlier, because I wasn't planning to get married, before now!]
So we didn't exactly hit it off. I tried on a few of their inexpensive dresses, and with every dress change, the consultant cooed about how 'slimming' the dress was. Since I didn't feel the particular need to be 'slimmed', 'slimming' began to feel like code for "you big fat cow." [For the record, I'm a climber, a yogi, a bike-commuter, and a hiker. I'm no toothpick, but I'm of quite average size. I hate the cultural construct that tells women to virtually disappear by losing so much weight before their weddings, suggesting that we will disappear altogether once we are married.]
Every opinion or idea I ventured about my wedding or my potential wedding dress was quite incorrect, according to the consultant. I think it's fair to say that I was not her favorite customer ever.
I was quite surprised, then, to receive a phone call yesterday from the same consultant, informing me that if I hadn't bought my dress [which one would think I must have by now, since Jan. was already too late for an Oct. wedding], I might be interested to know that Snooty Snoot Salon is having a 15% off sale, and I was welcome to come in.
It's rather alarming to hear that the economy is so bad that they are courting customers they had no use for four months ago.
Fortunately, I've already found a perfectly lovely dress, for an eminently reasonable price, at another shop in downtown SF, staffed by kind, charming consultants.