I went into a few clothes shops yesterday. In response to the standard Hi-how-are-you greeting, I have a usually failsafe combo of a quick, decisive 'fine thanks' and very brief eye contact, then rapidly getting back to searching the racks in a self-assured manner. Generally they get the message and leave me alone in my search.
Not this one. Once I had a couple of t-shirts in hand she approached with "You have two fantastic tops there". I replied factually, but already aware that I was straying from the proper script, "I don't know yet..." (ie, they will most likely look like crap but I'll try 'em) but I'm not sure she heard that. She went on to offer to take them to a change room. This is ok, I know this is often standard practice and also quite helpful.
I was now on my guard. Ooh, I hate being expected to rhapsodise about how wonderful the clothes are. As if I would happily snap up just about everything in the shop given the chance. Generally I go into a shop expecting almost everything to be unsuitable - colour, shape, requiring a little more in the bust region, just damn ugly - and look for the one or two items that might have potential. I'd have to be in a really good mood before I'd find myself going on about how lovely something is before I've even tried it on.
As I kept looking she continued to follow me around the shop.
"Don't you just love this season's colours?"
Now small bubbles of my blood were forming, and rising, in a way that suggested some boiling action was possibly on the cards. Pause. Breathe. "Actually, no, I don't like most of them". I felt a bit mean, but I really thought I had clearly signalled I didn't want to chat. "I'm kind of fussy". I regretted that as it came out of my mouth, it sounded completely pretentious. She looked surprised and quickly a bit miffed. "Oh? What colours do you like?" I only looked at her quickly, then continued searching. "Um....I know when I see it." As she was still following meI mumbled something back at her about ending up with a lot of black, as I fled to the back of the store.
I was so glad to see she was on the phone when I returned from the changeroom. I left the items on the counter, saying 'thanks, can I leave these here?' with a decent smile as I made my escape.