Friday, March 18, 2011

First-world problems

WARNING: Frivolous shopping experience painfully recounted ahead.

So yesterday I had a minor meltdown. Nothing of the nuclear plant variety, but something much more superficial. It all started with a certain dress (the way so many stories begin).

I'll preface this with saying now that I get irrationally obsessive when I see something I want. Like Gollum-with-his-ring obsessive. I sit online forever staring at the thing, analyzing the specs, reviews, color, quality, sizing (if applicable), not to mention talking about it 24/7. In the past "the thing" has included Eiffel Tower measuring spoons, a first-edition printing of Tender is the Night, and a wide array of shoes.

So I saw a dress on a woman a few weeks ago and made it my mission to find it. And I did last week, on Nordstroms' website. It's turquoise, knee-length, very Jackie O meets Joan Holloway. Something I could wear to a luncheon (like I go to those), the Queen Mum's Easter egg hunt if I was ever invited, the occasional lawyer function, or...well, just because. I'd been meaning to walk to the Nordies near me to buy it when I noticed yesterday morning that the size 4 had been completely taken off the page. Damn. It.

All that was left was a 6, 8 and 12. None of which help me. No need to start entirely freaking out about this predicament, I told myself as I started freaking out. After all the store has had a great track record finding and ordering me things they don't necessarily have on location. I threw on my Sunday best and traipsed over to Nordstroms listening to Doobie Brothers' Minute by Minute on my iPod. Because in this situation every second counts.

When I got there a fabulously glamorous Persian saleslady asked if I needed any help and I began sputtering through frustration about my dilemma.

"...and I wanted to wear it on my birthday," I said in conclusion.

"Don't worry," she said, putting her hand on my shoulder. Obvi she had been there before. "We'll get you that dress."

But after guiding me around the floor, not only did they not have my size in the dress, they had no more of the dress, period. She explained they'd had it for about a month and "popular things sell out fast", which is like telling someone that stuff we breathe in is called "air".

"I know you guys sell out of things fast," I said irritated. "I wanted a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses last season that sold out before I could even come in and try them on."

"You need to watch our website for new things every day," she responded. As if this was all my problem and I don't already spend enough time on their website.

Being half Persian I knew I had to get pushy with my ilk. I told her to look up the nearest stores asap that carried a size 4 and get one of them to send a dress over. After a quick scan she found only ONE left in my size in the entire country. And it the Anchorage, Alaska store. I was just happy there was still one left somewhere out there for me, but she still had to call to confirm they hadn't sold it that day.

"If they don't have it there's nothing we can do," she said, picking up the phone to call. Unfortunately the lady in the dress section of the Anchorage store barked at my saleslady that she was too busy to do a dress check. Strike 1.

"I'll call back in five minutes," she said, apologizing. "In the meantime you can look around."

"We wants the dress!!!"
So I looked around and saw many cute dresses but none as cute as The One I Had To Have. Five minutes later I returned to the counter, she called back, and the same exact thing happened. At this point my forehead was sweating profusely beneath my bangs and I was drumming on the countertop as though I'd just had four shots of espresso. I felt as disgruntled as Miss Piggy when her love for Kermit goes unrequited. She tried to calm me down in the interim but I was beyond the point of accepting that my desires might end up unrealized. She asked for my cell number and said she could call me later, but I never trust sales people to come through on these kind of things unless I'm right there with them, so I told her I'd go do some shopping and return later.

I left Nordstroms en route to White House Black Market, where I bought another fabulous dress I'd seen online around the same time I'd found The One. This dress was also very Jackie O, but in white. Cocktail-meets-resort-wear. (Later that night I tried it on for J who loved it and said all it needs is an Hermes scarf, which I wholeheartedly agree with. But that's another story.) I checked my clock; only 20 minutes had gone by. <long drawn out sigh>. With nowhere else to go that didn't involve more clothes or calories I didn't need, I marched over to Barnes and Nobles and bought a copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover before killing time in the origami kit aisle and almost losing it as the tension mounted. I walked back to Nordstroms determined that this was going to happen. Or else.

Of course when I got there the saleslady had not tried calling at all, so she jumped on the horn and finally -- finally -- someone out there in Anchorage decided to throw me a bone that afternoon and found that godforsaken dress on their store floor. I will be receiving it within one week.

Moral of the story: Sweat (some) small stuff and be persistent -- no matter how trivial the situation seems.


  1. I'm glad your persistance has paid off! I can't wait to see what the dress looks like but your description of it sounds fabulous! xx

  2. I die! I am swooning over those Eiffel tower measuring spoons!

    I hope you got your triple nordstrom points too. And just know, I'd be in full-blown panic attack too. I had a mini one over my Loubies that I wanted. Looks like I have to find them elsewhere.

  3. All I could think of is I hope you like the dress once you try it on!

  4. Being persistent is totally worth it when it comes to cute dresses. Can't wait to see a picture!

  5. I just got it in the mail today. I LOVE IT! Fits perfectly. Will take pics and post soon.

  6. Yay, glad you found that dress! Next time one only exists in Anchorage let me know. My aunt lives there and BREATHES Nordies! :)

    BTW - love the Eiffel Tower measuring spoons!

  7. Ooph! You were lucky to get a hold on it in the end!! Can't wait for the pictures!

  8. Great! Glad you liked it. Perfect for Italy this summer?