I originally posted this on my own blog
I received an email the other day from a reader named Alice – whose daughter a chubby teen – had her first real brush with the unbearable fatness of being.
My daughter received so many clothes during the holidays and decided to sort through and sell a bunch of them to our local Plato’s Closet. I don’t know if you are familiar with them [I am and more about that in minute], but they are consignment store which features trendy clothing for teens and 20somethings. I dropped her off and ran some errands. When I picked her up an hour later she sat on bench next to the door clutching the bags she brought with them and sobbing. Snarky, it broke my heart to see her like this and best I can tell one of the salespeople rather dismissively picked through her items and then stated they were too large for sale. Now my daughter is a size 12 who shops at Hollister, American Eagle and pretty much every other trendy store in the mall and I know she takes excellent care of her things. I am at a loss as to what to say to her and very angry. Any thoughts?
I emailed Alice and we spoke on the phone briefly. I was pissed too. I then got the number of her store and I gave the manager the business end of Snarky’s salty tongue – respectfully of course.
My own dealings with Plato’s Closet have been mixed at best. As an inbetweenie, (ranging from 12s to 16s and standing 5’0.75″) my closet houses jeans and tops from some of the retailers mentioned in the email and I’m a grown ass woman so I know I take care of my stuff. I have had perfectly au current – for them anyway – things picked over as though they were trash and watched as the salesclerk grew increasingly annoyed at having to handle all those fatty articles of clothing, as though she could catch teh fatz merely but touching my size 14s.
The first time it happened, I’ll admit, I was thrown for a loop. Normally, when confronted with a clear case of -ism asshatry I tend to immediately put the person responsible in check. But there was this overwhelming feeling of shame coupled with a slow drumbeat of you’re not good enough which caught me off guard.
Do my tears surprise you, Sir? Yes, even strong Snarkys cry.
When I told my friend Barbie about my experience she snatched the bag from me and an hour later came back to my place armed with an empty reusable Home Depot bag and a check for $129.04.
Same stuff. Different, thinner, whiter seller.
This of course pissed me the fuck off. I immediately wrote a scorching email detailing my experience and received NO response. I called the store and requested to speak to someone who could explain the inconsistency of their buying policy, which is not TRANSPARENT and requires far too much interpretation from folks who clearly have lots of knapsacks to unpack.
Having said that, I sent Barbie in there armed with my fatty clothes about five more times and each time she returned with a wad of cash and an empty bag. But in case you don’t have a thin, conventionally attractive white upper middle class friend handy here’s what you do:
DON’T FUCKING SHOP THERE.
It’s not worth the sanity points to try to do outreach with the company as they don’t seem to think their policies are inconsistent or if they are, they don’t seem to think there is anything problematic with that.
To Alice’s daughter:
As much as you’ve been hurt by someone else’s flaming lack of fucking decency, I believe in channeling that energy into something made of chicken fried awesome. Like, for example, donating those fabulous designer duds to a women’s shelter since they are always, always, always hurting for non shitty clothing in sizes 10 and up. That’s what I do now with mine.
I don’t mean to be snarky, but do shelters and community closets seriously think the only people strutting into their establishments are going to be size 6 and 8? C’mon now.
But I digress.
My heart has been broken a million times and in a million different ways by the cruelty of others and the only thing that comforts me in those raw ouchie times is thinking about all that is awesome and amazing about me and cling to it.
There, you got a rant out of me! You win!
Also, thanks to Alice for letting me use a portion of her email, because I have like been pestering her about it for nearly a week.