Image via Wanda Borges Couture

In my article Just Say No I described my own disheartening bridal experience – a rude sales girl who ignored my pleas for a plain wedding gown. Sadly, I have again encountered the phenomenon of the pushy bridal sales assistant. This time the innocent victim was a close friend, who I had accompanied on a dress shopping expedition.

Excitedly entering the store, we approached the sales woman and greeted her. “Yes?” she retorted. We hesitated, taken aback by her abruptness.

Recovering, I announced enthusiastically, “We have a bride here who would love to try on some dresses!”

“Isn’t it funny how brides seem to lose the ability to speak when they enter wedding dress shops!” the sales assistant replied, smirking. “You’ll have to put a cork in her,” she continued, gesturing to me. I froze, my mouth opening and closing in silent astonishment. My friend had also been rendered speechless.

“Well, we might just have a look around at the dresses if that’s okay?” the bride-to-be asked after a long pause. The sales assistant nodded curtly and followed as we stepped towards the racks.

“How do you expect to you see anything when the dresses are in the plastic wrappers?” she snapped. “Browse through these,” she said impatiently, striding across the room and returning with two hefty portfolios. “Don’t be long with them,” she warned. Suitably humbled, we thumbed through the catalogues. My friend picked out some dresses that she would like to try on and was soon being hustled to the change room on her first choice.

“I can’t breathe!” she exclaimed, gesturing to the corsetry on the back of the dress.

“Stand here,” the sales girl snapped, gesturing to a spot in front of the mirror and ignoring the potential for her customer’s collapse due to oxygen deprivation.

After my friend had wriggled out of the rib-crushing gown, a beaded satin dress was promptly thrust in her direction. “Um, I’m not sure that’s my style,” my friend said, wincing. “What is your plainest gown?” Looking at the bride-to-be like she’d just asked permission to set fire to the store, the assistant pulled out a silk gown adorned with a simply enormous flower. Despite my friend’s pleas (and my own), this was followed by increasingly shiny, bejewelled dresses until we finally made our escape.

This experience reminded me of the disheartening effect that this kind of behaviour by sales people can have on brides, as my friend was understandably disappointed at having such a special occasion ruined. She was, however, a shining example of just saying no. Despite the intimidating behaviour of the sales assistant, she refused the dresses that simply weren’t her style, excusing us from the shop with a diplomatic “Well, you’ve given us a lot to think about.” I have never been more proud.

Swirl divider Just Say No

Ms Gingham says: I read this story with a feeling of disbelief… some people are so miserable! How sad!

Karen says: “I’m 25 years old and I’m an aspiring writer trapped in the body of a lawyer! I also have an Arts degree with a Major in English, which saved my sanity during university and allowed me to do what I love – write! Last but not least, I’m a bride-to-be and I’m writing a book about planning my wedding and all the craziness that comes along with it (see, for example, being told that my wedding photos will be ”deformed” because my bridal party is uneven). I’m also working on a children’s manuscript.

I’m looking to inject some colour (and some polkadots if possible!) into my career. It’s my dream to write full time – so here’s hoping!”

Read more by Karen here.