By Dena Amoruso
Times were simple just a few years ago. I could solitarily (and in peace) shop the girls' clothing section at Macy's for a few necessary pairs of shorts, a cute t-shirt with little flowers encircling the neckline, and 5 pairs of crew socks. I then could come home with my treasures and watch my daughter grow out of them without a lot of fanfare. Enter the pre-teen years. I could see life as we know it change, but remained in denial for as long as sanely possible. She now was beginning to understand color, style, cut and fit to each piece of clothing. But because she was between girls' sizes and the "junior" department, there wasn't (thankfully) all that much to choose from. And I thought, "This ain't too bad!" when I heard hormonal horror stories from mothers with daughters older than mine.
But God doesn't deny, he only delays. Fast forward to age 14. If I happened to stop by Target to pick up a few odds and ends with my daughter in tow, it's as if she'd rather have that mustache-and-glasses disguise on than have her friends think she may shop there for clothes. Now the "big mall" stores of choice are J. Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Express, none of which have any item of substance ticketed for less than $40. She starts at the entrance and works her way around every rack, carefully picking out only "cool" pieces of well made, but rather colorless clothing. After about 45 minutes of this, she is ready for the fitting room and, in quite grown up fashion, orders the sales person to unlock a fitting room for her. Having been banished from the fitting room long ago, I look for that special place, that oasis for mothers, that retailer-with-a-heart type refuge into which to sink. And what do I see? A lonely, hard-bottomed card table chair outside the fitting room door. With another mother sitting in it.
Do I feel Bohemian enough to sit cross-legged up on the clothing display? My jeans don't stretch that far any more. So I ask you. For the sacrificed merchandising space lost to comfortable chairs or even - God forbid!-a sofa, how much more would stores like these make on mothers grateful for a place to sit? I could place bets on this until the cows come home. In my fantasies, I can think of even more innovative ways of pleasing package-laden, checkbook-toting moms. Offer them a cool drink? Remove and re-hang their daughters' rejects while the person in a position to buy stock in their store relaxes?
I know I may be dreaming, but I've gotta think retailers just haven't thought this through, or else they would be doing something about it. Like Dennis Miller says, "I don't want to get off on a rant here". I just want to sit down.
Dena Amoruso runs a freelance writing business and is a self-syndicated real estate columnist. Recently deciding to pursue her love of writing full time finds her at home for the first time since her daughter was small. In an effort to expand her writing to real life women's issues, she will be writing for WAHM.com as a mother, daughter, and wife. We hope you enjoy her reflections on experiences (some humorous!) that we may all face from time to time.