Confessions of a woman who doesn't like to shop

Call me crazy- but I do not like shopping for clothes. 

--I don’t like the process of trying things on or taking the time to find things that fit. I'm lazy like that. 
--I struggle with feeling comfortable shopping in stores that I perceive to be “chic” or “ hip”.  Truth be told, even though my children would love for me to fall into those categories- I really am quite ordinary. 
--I also think clothes can be too expensive. Therefore, I find myself looking for sale items or good deals -- even when I would prefer something more expensive.   

The whole process makes me feel self conscious and inept.  I don’t know what style to pick, what color to choose, or if it is a good “ piece” to add to my wardrobe.

Well, last Thursday I attempted to shop for clothes. I headed to Friendly Shopping Center and commenced my normal routine- start at Banana Republic, then The Limited, Old Navy, The Gap, Belk and last, Macy’s. Just when I thought I was going to leave empty handed--- I met Ms. Janice Paschal at Macy’s. Unbeknownst to me, I saved the best for last!

Janice saw me coming with my stack of clothes and offered to find me a fitting room. From that point on, she reminded me that excellent customer service often seals the deal.
1) She introduced herself and made eye contact with me.
2) She asked my name and offered to help me get other clothes.
3) She followed, calling me by my first name and asking if things were going well.
4) She assisted me with the belt and zipper.
5) She offered accessorizing help----i.e. what color shoes to wear, what style of jewelry.
6      6) She discounted my purchase with both a Macy’s charge and a coupon.

The wonderful Ms. Janice Paschal. I'm betting local shoppers recognize her.
Best of all, Janice made me laugh and feel comfortable. At one point, I could not figure out how a belt was supposed to work with the dress I was trying on. It appeared to be positioned at the top of the zipper on the back of the dress. I asked if she could help me figure out how to tie it. Janice studied the belt and draped each side over my shoulder. She then proceeded to tie it around my neck (see picture below). At the same time, she and I both burst out laughing!  Obviously, that wasn’t what the designer intended! After much thought, we figured out that the belt was stuck in the top of the zipper and in the wrong place all together. It was to be tied underneath my arms and around my ribs.

After the morning of shopping, I ended up buying only one item--the dress seen in the picture with Janice. Regrettably, that was the only item that fit. However, I don’t feel like my shopping experience was for naught. In fact I gained so much more than a dress. I was inspired by Janice Paschal and reminded of what lies at the heart of excellent customer service -- sincerity, the desire to help others around you, and the value of taking your work, but not yourself, too seriously.

I'd love to hear from you. What shopping tips or experiences do you have to share? Or just simply tell us where you found an unexpected moment of inspiration -- because the possibility of being inspired lies around every corner.

Alexis Williams may not be a good housekeeper and she’s even worse at being the tooth fairy. But she loves laughing, traveling, spending time with family and being a part of a community that makes a difference. Alexis is officially Inspired Wining's “go-to girl” for just about everything from developing community partnerships to securing our venues for Inspired Wining on Location events. A wife, mother of 3, a church and school volunteer, Alexis is the sharp-witted sweetheart of the group.


Note to self

Recently, a friend of mine posed this question on Facebook:  “If you could go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself just one thing, what would you say?”  

This inquiry really got me thinking.  If I could send my Younger Self a list of many things to avoid, they would include the obvious:  don’t waste your time with that relationship, don’t wear that outfit, and don’t ever do that to your hair.  Of course, there would be some more practical life pointers as well:  save more, spend less, and take good care of your health.  

But, if I could only say one thing, I would have to choose my words carefully.

As I looked back and tried to determine what nugget of wisdom would be most beneficial to younger me, it became apparent that it is something that I still struggle with today.  Maybe if I had learned it at a younger age, it would be second nature by now?

So Younger Self, here it is:  
Learn to make the most of today, and find something about it to enjoy instead of constantly looking forward to tomorrow, next week or next month.  Don’t get me wrong  Younger Self, you have been great at making memories and making the most of the big days, the big life events:  the wedding day, the amazing travel, the first time each of your children were placed in your arms (yes I said children - as in more than one - don’t freak out Younger Self).

However, you have not done all that you could to make the most out of the everyday.  If I/you/we had a dollar for every time we have had the thought that life will be better or easier or somehow more memorable “after” – after I get thru this week at work, after our schedules slow down, after the kids are out of school, etc./etc./etc., we would be very, very rich by now.
Of course, it is important to stay positive and to be focused on the future.  But, in the midst of all that forward thinking, the current day and all it has to offer tend to get lost in the four loads of laundry that need to be done.  

Now Younger Self, I am not suggesting that every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows because that is not the way life works.  What I am suggesting is that if you look hard enough you can find something to celebrate, appreciate, or make memorable in even the darkest of days.  Sometimes it’s just an encouraging word from a friend or a hug from your child, but those little things are worthy of special memories too.

So Younger Self, enjoy today and don’t wait for tomorrow to make those memories.  Drink that bottle of wine that you are saving for a special occasion, wear those special heels that make you feel fantastic, and take the time to tell your friends and family how much they mean to you because “after” is not guaranteed to any of us.  

Michelle Gauffreau is a customer service consultant for Broadcast1Source and  a founding member of Inspired Wining. She is also a wife, a mother of two and an active volunteer in her community.