Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Practical Jokes Do Not Belong In Weddings...

A couple weeks ago, a groomsman (let's call him Joe) came into the shop to pick up his tuxedo for his buddy's wedding that weekend. Joe was meeting his friend (Sam) there but Sam was running behind so he took the opportunity and started conversation with the one of our tuxedo consultants. While talking, Joe came up with the brilliant idea of playing a practical joke on Sam when he came in. All the girls in the department were loving the idea as long as it was appropriate. What's the harm anyway?

Now, Sam was coming into the store to pick up a replacement coat from trying on his tux the day before so we were going to give him a coat that was obviously too small for him and say that this is what the company sent for him so, "There's nothing we can do...sorry." The plan went off without a hitch and Sam was dumbfounded when he stood there as a "Fat guy in a little coat!" That's when Joe came out of his dressing room roaring with laughter and we set everything right. It made for a great story....if only it ended there.

In the focused preparation of setting up the joke on Sam, I (yes, it was all my fault) accidently gave Joe the wrong tuxedo and he left the shop with someone else's tux from the same wedding party! Oops. My bad. I tried calling Joe right away but got an answering machine for his home phone so I called Sam and explained the situation. He laughed about it and thought it would be no big deal. He would just call Joe and have him swing back around to exchange for the correct tuxedo. Great! We hung up and all was right with the world.

A couple minutes later Sam called the shop to tell me that Joe didn't believe him! Joe thought that this was Sam taking revenge and playing a joke on him so he wouldn't have it. Now desperate, I ask for Joe's cell phone number so I can call him myself. I called and had to leave a long, annoying message about everything so shortly after that we got a phone call from Joe. It honestly took about 10 minutes of convincing for him to believe that I wasn't pulling a practical joke! Finally he gave in and we came up with a plan. Due to the fact that Joe had the wrong tux (John's tux), John was going to pick up Joe's tux and they would do a swap at the wedding. Even that would make for a good story....but it's not over yet.

When John came in to pick up Joe's tux, he was pretty upset about the whole situation (not really the practical joke type) so, of course, I apologized for the inconvenience and had to send him on his way regardless. About an hour later, I received a call from the extremely angry bride of that wedding party, blaming me for all the confusion. At first, she was furious about it but after I explained that all of this mess started out as a practical joke played by one of her groomsmen, she just about laughed it off saying phrases such as, "how typical" and "Oh! Those boys. What am I going to do with them?". In the end, everything was right as rain and fine in the world but If you're planning on pulling some stunt, avoid weddings!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nice Attempt...

One of the things I love about my job is that I get to dress up a little. I like being able to look nice and professional in a cute pencil skirt or sassy heels. Sometimes it can be a bit tedious having to come up with a potentially great outfit everyday, but for the most part it's considered a good side to our job for us girls in the department.

A couple weeks ago my co-worker (let's call her Lucy) came into work wearing the cutest set of black, diamond patterned tights under a charcoal gray pencil skirt. From a female's perspective, they complimanted her outfit so well and were hard to miss because they were just so darn cute so, of course, I said something to the effect of, "Oh Lucy! Your tights are so cute! Where did you get them?...." Due to the fact that this particular wedding shop is staffed with mainly just females, every person that walked by commented or said something with the word "cute" in the sentence.

A few hours later, after many "cute" comments from everyone in the shop, a lone man comes walking into the tux department and mutters something about needing to get measured. Since I was deeply trenched in a project, crunching numbers....that sort of thing, Lucy stepped in to help him. Once she got all the info she needed she began the measuring process mostly in polite silence. Coming to the end, she turned to find the correct size coat for him and suddenly he said, "Wow. Those are some pretty fancy tights there..."

I froze at my desk extremely amused, wondering what Lucy would say.

"Ummm....thanks." She responded hesitantly, not knowing exactly if that was a compliment or not. So she put her thoughts into the sweetest words possible asking, "Im sorry....was that supposed to be a compliment?"

"Oh! yeah!.....I....Sorry....I didn't make that more clear.....I.....Uhh..." Was all he could muster to say, his face getting more red by the second.

"Oh. Thanks! No problem, just making sure..." She swiftly recovered finishing with his coat size.

By this time she could see my shoulders shaking from silent laughter. It was so obvious that he was trying to pay her a compliment but he failed miserably at being smooth. I just felt so bad for the guy because I know I can make situaitons pretty awkward sometimes unintentionally, but he just scored an eight out of ten in my book. For a man to compliment a woman on her outfit is one thing but specifically her tights? And in so many words? Exhibit A: the difference between men and women.

By the time the measuring was done, he had attempted to lighten the mood by cracking some joke about his ever growing waist measurement and the fact that it was great that the pants would be adjustable, which probably made the situation worse in the end. Lucy was of course gracious and continued to give great customer service until he rounded the corner to leave. She looked at my expecting face for a moment, making sure he left the building, before we both burst out laughing. I felt bad for the guy in the end because he was just trying to say something nice....I guess you just had to be there.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Case Study #1: Wedding Shop Overload

One thing you have to know about the shop where I work is that it's predominately wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses being sold. The tuxedo department is tucked away in the back of the shop and one would have to be directed there specifically in order to see us. I'm not saying that we don't do a lot of business because we actually do. On an average summer or early fall weekend, when wedding season is at its peak, we rent about 400 tuxes! (just tootin' our horn a little)
Anyway, when a guy comes in to get measured he's immediately hit with a sight of many, excited, chatty women hearing a chorus of, "my dress has lace organza with beading at the top.....the bridesmaids are wearing a tea length, watermelon, chiffon dress with a cute little sash......I had to order a size 8 because my bust wouldn't fit into a 6.......Sarah, I'm so glad you could make it!" The poor guy is then contemplating whether or not it would be worth it to tell the groom he can't be a groomsmen anymore due to his high blood pressure. He then walks gingerly into the shop and is confused when he can't see or identify a single male! The front desk girls see that he's looking a bit puppyish so they direct him to "Formal Wear". Once he passes the poofy wedding gowns on his left and pushes past the blindingly neon prom dresses on his right, he finally comes to the tuxedo department. By this time he's looking completely and utterly devastaded and has a helpless, "why do you torture me?" look on his face so I try my best to snap him back to reality.

"Hey! How's it going?" Trying to be a friendly as possible.

"Umm.....good. I ah.....I think I need to get fitted..."

"Great! Come on back. When is the wedding?"

"Umm....Johnson and Carlson?" he says, obviously still confused about where and who he is.

"Ah, ok. And when is the wedding?" trying not to make it obvious that he didn't answer my question.

"Oh! Umm...sometime in Novemeber. Not sure exactly. So many weddings this year. It's hard to keep track of them", he says trying to recover.

"No problem. I'll look it up for you." So I continue to do my job, give him the correct information, take his measurements, and send him on his way looking slightly more in tune with reality. I have worked in this department for long enough to know that when a random man is seen in the store with a dejected look about him, I try my best to help the poor guy out. It truely must be awful to be put in that kind of a situation where answering simple questions has now become the hardest thing to do. It would be like me going to a coutry club, needing to buy golf clubs, wearing a hoodie and jeans, knowing absolutely nothing about the sport, and feeling so uncomfortable. I wouldn't know how to act and I definitely wouldn't know what to say. So here's a shout out to all the groomsmen and ushers who have to go into bridal shops to get measured for tuxedos. I feel your pain.