I have never understood the people who wait in line to get into a big-box store the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t think I’ve ever even known one of these people, so I can’t even ply them for insight. And it seems every year the lines are longer and the stores are opening earlier.
Today, some shops in our downtown banded together to organize “Consume This!” which was in response to both Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day. The premise was that the people who participate in Buy Nothing Day are already the type of conscious consumers who try to shop locally, so why not encourage people to participate in a day of responsible consumerism by offering discounts, a raffle, and even cocktails to shoppers, and urging them to support local business instead of national chains rather than buying nothing at all? Some stores that are typically closed the day after Thanksgiving even opened their doors for the first time on Black Friday.
I went to all nine stores, and while I enjoyed the event, I noticed a big problem with size selection. I was disappointed to see that most of the boutiques I went to carried very little beyond size 10, and virtually nothing above size 12. So, for a “plus size” girl who wishes to spend her money locally, there are few to no options available to her in locally-owned stores. I saw very little on my shopping trip that was above a junior size medium, which is about the equivalent of a women’s size 8, if average size charts are to be trusted. By my observation, the majority of our downtown shops are excluding a sizable (no pun intended) portion of the population by failing to provide merchandise for women above size 12 who wish to support local business.
Recent statistics state that 50% of women wear a size 14 or larger, yet these women are told by most boutiques, through their size offerings, that their dollars are not needed or wanted, and that they should take their fat asses to Target or the gym until their ass is small enough to shop locally. And while that may be a valid point, it’s still bad business to cut your customer base in half. Furthermore, I know plenty of people who wear sizes below 12, and even for them boutique clothing would fit if only the shape they were born with wasn’t so darn…womanly. Jeans fit their waists but squeeze their hips. Shirts button up with ease until you get up to those pesky boob things in the middle. They too must spend their retail dollars with larger chains who better accommodate their dimensions.
Perhaps it’s not the fault of the boutiques. I’m not in the retail business, so I don’t know what is offered by merchandisers. Is there a dearth of clothiers who offer plus sizes in their product lines? Does the blame lie with them? I just find it unlikely that the clothing industry simply doesn’t provide fashionable options for women with curves for boutiques to stock, and frankly, I left downtown today feeling like my money wasn’t wanted.
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