I’m happy to admit that I’m a very unforgiving friend. If you cross me I find it hard to forget and forgiveness is an art I am constantly trying to master. My husband has learnt that I ALWAYS hold a grudge after every fight and that all too often I adopt a “one strike and you’re out” approach to my relationships, which has left me with a small and very patient set of close girlfriends. And the same can be said of my relationship with fashion stores!
There are stores that I have written off from my extensive shopping black book following a bad experience, knowing that they will never get another chance to entice me into making a purchase. I boycott labels based on my past experiences when really it’s only fair that they be given another chance to prove their worth to be in my wardrobe! A true fashion devotee should be open to influences from everywhere from Matalan to M&S, there’s always a hidden gem in any shop waiting to be discovered. But shopping is an impulsive and emotional affair, so does it not follow that we can truly have a bad break up with a brand? Should I forgive, forget, or do I need retail therapy?
This bad blood usually occurs following a prolonged period working in said high street shop, liken it if you will to being behind the counter at McDonalds. Would you eat there after seeing what happens behind the scenes? Working in retail you notice all the flaws. Next trousers seemed too masculine for me and their clothes as a whole were loose fitting. You see the returns come in their crumpled state of disarray or piled like a jumble sale during sales and soon the brand doesn’t conjure up images of elegance and style like their polished catalogue may promise.
Then there is customer service dissatisfaction such as I came across with Lavish Alice. Their stringent returns policy cut me short on my postage from Jersey, leaving me nursing a hefty credit balance for well over a year now that I’ll probably never willingly spend. Before this time I had happily purchased a few items, but not wanting to be caught out again I now choose not to shop with them out of spite, hoping they will learn their lesson.
In contrast to these fashion foes, my beloved ASOS is oh-so-loyal, periodically sending me titillating emails with discount offers (you know just how to make me smile). Whilst net-a-porter is like the guy that’s so out of your league, but makes me feel a little more worthy every time I shop with them.
River Island was lucky and somehow mended broken bridges following its introduction to Jersey. Having worked there through my university days I found the clothes low quality, overpriced and often tacky and continued to give their stores a wide berth after quitting the job. When it arrived in Voisins the brand seemed to have a new lease of life and I found myself asking friends where they had bought pieces from to be shocked that it was my nemesis, yet looked so very wearable!
Stores are like people and will evolve and change as you grow in order to remain fresh and current. I know I certainly gravitate to those pricier stores now in my life because I prioritise quality over trends and because my lifestyle allows me to be more indulgent. No brand can address all your style needs so we can’t expect to be monogamous with just one store (although my Zara obsession brings me quiet close)!
I know I’m not alone in bringing emotion to my shopping habit and have frequently heard the cry "I'll never shop there again"! I'd love to hear all about your break ups and make-ups.