Unsure how to express this in an nonoffensive way so please forgive my gracelessness.

This is sort of off topic and I'm not sure where to post this kind of (potentially insensitive) question. So yea...I hope my wording doesn't come across as disrespectful.

Apparently, the shop I conducted was in an area where I stood out (which I didn't know before I visited the area).

It didn't occur to me because I was too focused on my scenario (one track mind and all that) until the store associate pointed it out. He asked how come I came specifically to this area and "was there seriously no other [store name] closer to you?"; the tone wasn't malicious in the least but he definitely seemed inquisitive. I felt totally panicked at the time and thought I must have ruined the shop. I fumbled clumsily for an answer and came up with something like "oh I was visiting a friend in the area and I've been thinking about purchasing [item] anyway so when I saw your store, it was just perfect"... He didn't mention it again but I don't know if I was believable.

Gahh, I'm so awkward. What would you had said instead? Do I have permission to steal your excuse in case something like this comes up again?

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Try standing out in a shop when you are blind in one eye (wear very thick glasses) and a Left leg protheses (which make one limp all the time). In a sighted world and two functional legs society, what could stand out more? If you stood out it was more, could have been because the retail personnel was inquitive.

Your excuse sounds good to me. Some MSClients focuses on demographics.
Fuschia, you did great under pressure! I know the areas that I will stick out in, so I avoid them like the plague. I'm visiting a friend, co worker, my sister, are all great lines to use. This week, in my area, a girl was beat up while playing a sax, because she "shouldn't have been playing the blues." She's a street musician and was playing outside a huge music venue here.
I am often in places where I "stand out." Here's the secret; several times a day folks who "stand out" pass through just about any venue. Sometimes a curious person asks about it; sometimes not.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Your excuse was perfect. Back in the day companies did (legal or not) assign according to race. Since times have changed they can now assign by age and sex (wings shops) but suspect even that will fade out. Just do the best you can do given the store you are in. And document any extra notes just in case.
I shop places where I might be a fish out of water. But appearances aren't everything. I know a very, very wealthy guy. He's in his fifties, has a long, frizzy gray ponytail, wears legitimately ripped up jeans and tee shirts. Sometimes he drives a 1988 Ford Taurus, sometimes it's a 40 year old Ford pickup, other times it's a Porsche Spyder, which was insanely expensive. He looks like a bum, but goes wherever, without concern.

Part of it is about attitude, and confidence. The other part is having a simple, one-liner, just in case.
I've only had a disbelieving associate on one shop and he kept saying, "You live around here? Really?" The job required me to give an address within a limited radius and he asked the question three times over the course of 12 minutes. And it was all caught on video.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
We've talked about this in other threads. I go into areas where I stand out, but I do try to pick the areas and the kind of shop. Stopping for a couple gallons of gas and to use the ladies' room a mile from work is different from going into a place with bars on the windows and well in the opposite direction from home for a payday loan.

The areas that I am most likely to visit aren't all that far from my day job, so I have used the "I work nearby" excuse before. Our downtown area is slowly being "revitalized" and I work in the area where it all started about a decade ago: it has historic buildings that have been rebuilt and re-purposed for business, dining and entertainment. Usually I just jump on the freeway to go home, but if I take the regular streets, there are areas in various directions from there where everyone is of a specific race that is different from mine. In a couple of the directions, it becomes more mixed after a bit, and I often do shops in those areas. In one particular direction, it is very "sketchy" and goes for longest amount of time through neighborhoods where I really, really stand out. That is the area where I did a grocery store recently - the one where my friend told me later that I should NOT be there. I was watching, and I did see two other white women (and no white men) come in within the two hours that I was there.

BTW - I recently gave the "visiting a friend nearby" line in a very nice area. The store is a small co-op in the middle of an artificially created "village" with housing and shopping. Not only was I not a member, I had never been in the "village" before. I just said my friend mentioned the store and the area to me so decided to stop by and check them out in my way home. I live about 40 minutes away, but do know someone who lives just south of there so could have said more if I needed to.

I do also stay away from certain high-end shops. While my skin color may make me stand out in certain areas, I feel like my older car and non-designer clothes, hair, etc. would make me stand out on those in another way.
RiverSong Wrote:
> I do also stay away from certain high-end shops.
> While my skin color may make me stand out in
> certain areas, I feel like my older car and
> non-designer clothes, hair, etc. would make me
> stand out on those in another way.

Yep, me too!!!

I've only gone to one area where the local population was obviously different than mine. But, I've never had even a hint of a problem there. I've gone there a few times for one of the ice cream shops, as it gets very nicely bonused sometimes.

Then there's a grocery store just five minutes from my home that is for 'everyone', but caters to a particular race/culture, and almost everyone who works there *is* that race/culture. But, there are tons of people of that race/culture in my larger neighborhood, so it's not really weird.

But the high-end stuff... I could *never* pull that off. Even when I *try* to dress up, I still feel like I look like a frump. Hair is too frizzy, even my nice clothes aren't expensive or 'designer' enough; and I only wear jewelry that had sentimental meaning and is not expensive, either. Usually I wear it because I want to. Sometimes, like now, I wear it both because I want to *and* I've gained some weight again and can't get the rings off. smiling smiley Also, with my back/hip disability, I don't walk in a typically 'womanly' fashion, and just don't have the bearing of a high-end person. I too drive a 20 year old car (it's the car's b-day this year!). Happy b-day, car! smiling smiley

Happiness is merely life's way of keeping you off-balance.
*nods* I'm right there with you, Storm! With my feet and knee issues, I can't tell you how long it has been since I wore heels. My dining companion gave me a hard time the other night because I was wearing flips, at which I pulled one off and told him to look at the foot bed. They are orthotic flips, which have molded to my feet, and which do better than the Easy Spirit shoes with the actual orthotics in them. I do spend a lot on somethings, but they are things that are necessary for comfort, not for looks. (Don't get me started on how much I spend on doctors, meds, etc.)

As far as different appearances go, I'm lived in San Francisco, and I don't mind if most of the other people don't look like me, as long as it is reasonably safe to be wherever it is. I do get a little nervous when I am the only one who looks like me around for any length of time, but I really try my best not to judge that way. However, if every house, grocery store and dry cleaner has bars on the windows, common sense tells that that is probably not a good place to be for any length of time.
Some of mine is that my sister works in the area or that my niece is in a daycare close by or that I just happened to be passing by and was reminded that I really had wanted to stop in to get some information, so since I didn't have anything to do, I thought, "Why not?" =D

Don't you DARE worry about being awkward. MSing makes us think fast on our feet-- for me that's part of the thrill-- and there's always that first time you get a question you weren't anticipating that you have that... sort of beet-red moment. But! After, you have the chance to massage that answer so it looks flawless the next time.

You're just like the rest of us, Fuschia. =)
I also have a craft business (mostly seasonal) but whenever I need an excuse (for being in an area or worse yet running into someone I know way out of my normal day to day life) I pull out the I was meeting a customer to drop off an order (I of course all ready did it, their name had a last name like Jones, Davis, etc; not really sure where they lived in town as we met in the parking lot of ...nearby grocery store/restaurant that I saw on the way into town). Granted I don't ever need all of this story but if I have my back story in my head...well heck I believe it some of the time!

I got this once too. I was on a heavily bonused brake shop about 20 miles from home. The associate asked for my address and then asked why I didn't go to the location from home. I was thrown for a loop and came up with something about visiting a friend nearby.

But, there was also once that I was confronted and I *wasn't* on a shop! I live and work in Southern City, and the office was getting pizza for lunch one day. My office is actually outside Southern City limits and west of the city, so I ordered the pizza from Western City. When I called the pizza place to ask for directions and said I was coming from Southern City, the employee snapped, "Well why don't you just order from Southern City then?"
Here in the southwest everyone dresses in low casual so no matter what your income is, where you live or whatever, if I dressed "up" with heels, makeup and expensive dress, I would stand out. You occasionally see someone dressed like that but the norm here is jeans/shorts, flip-flops/tennis shoes, etc.
Good thread. smiling smiley

As soon as I open my mouth I get..where are you from? My accent draws attention, so I pretend I'm on vacation and need to buy a few things before visiting my sister in that area. Unfortunately, that can only work one time and I get nervous when an MSC wants me to go back to that location! Yikes! :O
One of the many great things about the Washington, DC metro area is that it is so culturally diverse that there are only a handful of neighborhoods where people would be very inquisitive about why I was there. But, I have a housemate who would not stand out in those neighborhoods, and when I get a high paid shop in one of them, we work it together and share the fee. Since she is disabled and has very few chances to earn cash, this works very well for both of us.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
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