Talking about people’s weight is an incredibly sensitive subject. One wrong word—even if you didn’t mean anything ill by it—and you could accidentally insult someone. This is an issue that becomes incredibly delicate for salespeople. Especially those selling wedding dresses to brides. Sometimes, diplomacy simply isn’t enough, no matter how hard you try.
One redditor, who works as a bridal sales associate, turned to the AITA subreddit for advice on whether or not she messed up when dealing with a rude client who wanted to try on a dress that was clearly far too small for her. The client wears size 30 dresses and wanted to put on a size 14 one. The saleswoman tried to be polite in how she handled things, but everything backfired.
Scroll down for the full story, dear Pandas. Once you’ve finished reading everything, drop on by the comment section and tell us who you think was at fault in this particular case. How would you have handled the situation? Let us know! Bored Panda reached out to Anna and Sarah, Team Leaders at The Wedding Society, for their thoughts about picking out wedding dresses. Read on for their advice.
A wedding dress saleswoman landed herself in hot water after accidentally body-shaming her client
Image credits: Jill Wellington (not the actual photo)
Here’s the full story about how a size 30 bride wanted to try on a size 14 dress
Image credits: Hussein Altameemi (not the actual photo)
Image credits: Los Muertos Crew (not the actual photo)
The author of the story clarified a couple of things for the AITA community later on
The fallout from the sales associate’s comment was almost immediate. The client tried to get her in trouble with her manager. Most AITA community members thought that it was the client who was being a jerk, not the saleswoman.
“We hear so often that brides will go into their dress shopping experience thinking that a certain style will be perfect for them and often finding themselves totally surprised that a totally different style is often what actually looks best on them. So our advice is to keep an open mind and trust that the sales associates often have a lot more experience in this field and are trying to guide you towards what they know will look best,” Anna and Sarah, from The Wedding Society, shared with Bored Panda.
“If you are losing hope then take a step back, a deep breath, and a reset. There are literally millions of dresses out there. Decision paralysis is real so let yourself be guided and keep an open mind,” they noted that having some flexibility and trust in professionals can be very helpful.
“The importance of the dress really depends on the person wearing it. It certainly is something you need to be fully aligned with or you’re always going to look at your pictures with a little bit of regret or disappointment,” they shared.
“That said, your own expectations of how you look will always feel more impactful than how you will actually look to your spouse and guests—we promise, they’re looking at you and your beaming smile—not what’s on your body.”
How you phrase things, what tone of voice you use, what your body language is like—these are all incredibly important things for someone working in sales. Whether you’re in retail or a barista or in a high-end boutique, small details can make or break the sale.
At the same time, you can only be held responsible for your own intentions and efforts, not for how someone chooses to react. Specific wording that’s super smooth might work 99 out of 100 times, but there might always be a customer who chooses to get offended by how you phrased your comment. At the end of the day, you can’t control how someone will react; you can only do your best to stay professional and defuse tense situations as best you know.
Alexander Kjerulf, from the Positive Sharing project, previously explained to Bored Panda what employees should do if they encounter a rude customer. Though, really, it’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when’ that will happen. Most people are completely fine, but a tiny minority can ruin your day with how they treat you.
“Keep your cool and remember that whatever abuse they’re giving you is no reflection on you as a person. That customer doesn’t even know you, so there’s no way it could be. But on the other hand, don’t be subservient. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and tell customers that abuse is not tolerated. And if it persists, hand them over to a manager as soon as you can and let them deal with it,” Alexander explained how employees ought to react when under fire from a rude customer who seems to have it out for them.
“You have to remember that in many cases a customer who behaves badly is not necessarily a bad person—it can be a good person having a bad day and that’s why they’re acting out. But the sad truth is that some customers act this way because they’ve learned that it works and will get them discounts or preferential treatment,” he noted that, broadly speaking, there are two categories of rude customers: those who are having an awful day and those who see rudeness as a tool to get what they want.
In his opinion, a better motto than ‘the customer is always right’ would be: ‘Be nice, or at least don’t be a jerk.’
“And this goes for both customers and employees. Whenever I’m a customer anywhere, I always try to be kind and positive to the staff—even when occasionally I have to complain about something. It’s literally the least I can do.”