Why I Don’t Like the Term “Plus Size”

TL;DR version: plus size is as defineable as what water tastes like.

One of my best mates happily remarked on how a department store had a plus size (female) mannequin. Thinking that this was a step in the right direction for the way women are influenced when shopping regarding what is “the look”, I asked her to send me a picture of this mannequin. Looking at the picture, however, the “plus size” mannequin in question wasn’t that plus size at all; in fact, it was probably a size 12 at most. It was noticeably fuller than the other mannequins, but the point remains the same.

I wouldn't even say these models are plus size. They're just how they should be. (Image via Marden Plus Size Facebook page)

I wouldn’t even say these models are plus size. They’re just how they should be. (Image via Marden Plus Size Facebook page)

That left me thinking… if a size 12 is considered plus size in today’s society, what happens to those women who are a size 16 or 18 or even bigger? Are they made to feel worse about themselves because they aren’t even considered to be plus size? What are they considered then… double plus size? Triple plus size?

If you rewind it even further, why is it even called “plus size”? The term kind of implies that it is a normal size plus a little bit more. I’m sorry but who is this ultimate power deciding what women’s size is normal and what isn’t? Why is a women’s size 8 completely “normal” but a 14 isn’t?

I remember having a discussion with a friend of mine and she told me that nearly every if not all marketing ads you see in shopping malls or kind of subliminal messages to tell you how you “should and shouldn’t” look. You see the ads where there a group of “normal looking” models wearing the clothes that are sold in the store, but what are you meant to do if you don’t look like them? Imagine there was a short, chubby girl with a brown bob cut looking at a picture of a leggy blonde with a perfect tan and perfectly-toothed smile wearing a floral playsuit. Would that brunette girl think that she isn’t allowed to wear this floral playsuit because she doesn’t look like the girl in the picture?

With so many ads and marketing tools in today’s society telling us what we should look like and how we should feel about ourselves, why isn’t anyone telling us “Hey, if your health is fine and you’re happy with who you are and what you look like, fuck everyone else. Go ‘head wit’ yo’ bad self.” If you’re content being a size 6, all the power to you! If you’re pleased with your size 14 figure, all the power to you! If you’re happy to be at the gym 7 days a week – or if you’re okay with never stepping foot in a gym and living off Nutella – I say all the power to you!

In the same light, just like there is nothing wrong with being a size with a higher number, there isn’t anything wrong with being a size with a lower number. Don’t be a Meaghan Trainor and skinny shame “them skinny bitches”. People were made to be different. It’s time people really embrace that.

– by The Black Widow

Top 6 Customers That Every Retail Worker Hates

“You either love it, or you hate it. There’s no in between.”

This quote is very much true when it comes to working in retail: it can be the fun, exciting and dynamic experience that young, impressionable teenagers see which makes them want to work in retail, or it can be painful and God forsaken and it can turn the best of people into world-loathing cynics.

Speaking of the latter, it’s not the work that turns them into fun-suckers… it’s the customers. As someone who works in retail, I can say that there are customers who need nothing more than a good frying pan to fall out of the sky and squash them into the ground (subtle Snowboard Kids reference).

So you're one of these customers? It'd be a shame if... someone pushed you down these stairs. (SOURCE: Björn Láczay's Flickr photostream)

So you’re one of these customers? It’d be a shame if… someone pushed you down these stairs. (SOURCE: Björn Láczay’s Flickr photostream)

While it is true that there are some lovely customers that you would be happy to go out of your way to accommodate, the truth is that there are too many unpleasant customers that retail workers have to deal with on a daily basis. To give you a fair idea, here are some of the types of customers that every retail worker loathes to deal with (and provided examples):

The Ignorant Questioner
These are the ones that ask the workers questions, which they are perfectly entitled to, except they keep asking the same question over and over to the point where the worker might believe they’re talking to a malfunctioning fembot from Austin Powers. An example:

Customer: Is this garment on sale?
Worker #1: No, it’s full priced, so it’s 29.95.
Customer: Okay… (five seconds later). Excuse me, is this garment on sale?
Worker #2: No, it’s full priced.

Asking someone else isn’t going to get you the answer that you seek. I honestly don’t understand the logic behind this.

The Complainer
“But this top was on the sale rack even though there is a whole set of them placed on the other side of the store marked correctly… I demand you give it to me on sale or so help me I will complain to your manager.” If you don’t think these types of people exist… they do. They will go to extreme lengths to get what they want, even if what they want is absolutely ridiculous. The Complainer will argue with you until the cows come home and will effectively forget that people have feelings.

Customer: Oh the music is so loud and awful in here! I can’t shop in this environment!
Worker: Sorry, the volume is always like this and I can’t change it.
Customer: Well, you’ve just lost a customer!

Because I’m sure that $5 top you were considering was going to have a huge effect on the ultimate sales for the day.

The Slave Driver
On workers job descriptions, it’ll list them as “Retail manager” or “Sales assistant”. Nowhere does it say “Personal shopping basket” or “Other size fetcher”. Technically speaking, people who work in retail don’t have to offer you any kind of personal assistance at all, really; they choose to. Certain people, however, choose to take advantage of this general sweetness and put workers to slavery.

Worker: Is there anything I can help you with?
Customer: Well, I want to try these pants on. Could you be a darl and babysit my baby, watch my trolley, and stand here in case I need another size? Actually… just get me the size up, just in case. Thanks. Oh… here’s the baby.

This may come as a shock to some people, but people who work in retail are human beings as well. Human beings like to be treated as human beings sometimes. What a nifty little idea!

The Grub
So you want to try on three pairs of pants and three matching tops? Fair enough. You’re within your right. But you don’t like any of them… so what do you do? The Grub leaves their tried-on garments inside out on the floor of the change room in a pile of mess, and expect the workers to clean up after them as if they’re some incapable toddler who has gone for a run about.

Customer: Whoops… I accidentally knocked over that table display of shoes. Oh well. Better walk out now and leave it for the workers.
Worker: (chronic swearing in fifteen different languages)

If it’s that easy to take off the hanger, I’m sure it is as easy to put back on. Weird concept, right?

The Bargainer
I understand that some stores may have the privilege of altering prices to make that ultimate sale, but most don’t. So there really is no point in trying to bargain an item if the price tag is set in stone.

Worker: These ones are $49.95.
Customer: There’s a tiny, almost invisible mark on these boots. Can I get a discount on them?

No. You can’t.

The Indecisive Douchebag
This may come to a surprise to some people but putting a refund or exchange through the store’s sale system is a long process. It isn’t just a snap-of-the-fingers-and-it’s-done type thing. So when a customer buys something and then all of a sudden decides they don’t want it, no amount of apologies will make up for the half hour you just wasted of their lives.

Customer: I’ll just buy the pink scarf, thanks.
Worker: Thank you. Have a good day.
Customer: Actually, no; I want the orange one.

With exchanges, it’s also important to note that you can’t just take the new one and walk out. That is called stealing.

If there is one thing I want to leave at the end of this, it’s this: people who work in retail are human beings as well, so treat them like you want to be treated.

– by The Black Widow

Unthoughtful Gifts for Christmas

It’s real simple, when you’re so close to someone that you decide to buy them a Christmas present, don’t half-ass it. This is a little list of what you shouldn’t get people if you actually give a hoot about them. By all means, if you hate them, use this as a shopping guide, or just buy whatever cheap crap Kmart has on its first display shelves.

Socks

And they're always the daggy, long, white type.

And they’re always the daggy, long, white type.

How cute, little Johnny got his dad some snuggly socks for his cold Christmas feet, dad must be so touched by his generous offering. No Johnny, he’s not. Your dad hates you, and I hate you. Every time he puts on those socks he’s going to think of what an awful child you are. Anything, absolutely anything would be better than socks. What’s that Johnny? You drew a cute picture of yourself and dad? Good, frame that shit and give it to daddy, and next time you think of buying socks make sure that they’re for your feet only.

Exception: Buying this gift as a joke for a friend with no feet.

Soap

Wow! With all this soap I won't be so smelly anymore!

Wow! With all this soap I won’t be so smelly anymore!

It doesn’t matter what shape it comes in: bird, fish, tiny love hearts – it’s all shit. Keep in mind that people are typically very good with their hygiene, and they will use their own preferred brands rather than the two dollar, coffee-scented, cat-shaped soap you thought really reflected this person’s interests. Guess what – Personal hygiene is everyones interest, or at least it should be.

Exception: Buying this gift for a smelly, inanimate object.

Candles

Mmm.. Smells like Coles brand.

Mmm.. Smells like Coles brand.

Now this one is a bit tricky because a genuinely good candle will be used and will last long, and picking a scent that is personalised to your loved one is a nice touch. A general rule would be, if you’re getting someone candles (which is a pretty lazy present, but I’ll forgive you), get it from a boutique candle store. Make sure it’s a good brand, because much like soap, if you get it from any dollars and cents store in one of those value bundle gift packs, this person will regift it and give it back to you next year, you heartless monster.

Exception: Buying this present for a person with a phobia of running out of candles.

Self-help Books

Thanks, but I like my reasonably terrible life the way it is.

Thanks, but I like my reasonably terrible life the way it is.

It seems dumb, but I really do have to spell this one out: If you get this for someone their going to think that you assume they need some sort of help in their tragic life. This gift isn’t so much unthoughtful but just downright rude. Maybe if someone has expressed an interest in starting a hobby or learning more about x, then you can get them a book about x. When it’s something like Understanding Men, or Microwave Dinners for One, then it’s very unlikely you’ll be getting a present back.

Exception: If this gift is for yourself and it’s titled: How to not be a dick on Christmas.

Beauty Bundles

Such beauty... so cheap.

Such beauty… so cheap.

Geez, if you’re getting into this territory you’ve just given up. We all know that these packages of makeup or nail polish are the first things we come into contact with while Christmas shopping. They’re obviously cheap, impersonal and surprisingly rubbish – The nail polish comes off within an hour and the makeup is the consistency of chalk. Shame on you if you’ve ever purchased this for a loved-one you genuinely love.

Exception: Buying this gift for any child under the age of eight with a strong passion for budget beauty.

Anything Christmas-themed

No no no!

No no no!

Christmas is for one day – one day out of three hundred and sixty five. This gift will be useful for maybe the week surrounding Christmas, but after that it will be considered pointless. It’s especially bad if you get it on Christmas day or later, because it’s something you won’t get to/have to use until another year has gone by, and by that time you would have thrown it out anyway. For the love of Santa, don’t get anyone a Santa.

Exception: If you’re an elf who gets paid in Christmas ornaments.

Perfume / Aftershave

*Heavy coughing and spluttering*

*Heavy coughing and spluttering*

It doesn’t matter if you get the cheap shit from the chemist or the classy celebrity-labelled brands from David Jones – in the end it’s just cliché smelly stuff, and I don’t even know how that became a go-to gift. A perfume or aftershave is so personal, and people are very picky when it comes to their scent. You will either receive the brand you’ve always worn, which just means this person has been in your bathroom (not that they know you well), or you’ll get one that has about an eighty percent chance of making you ill. It seems nice, maybe because it’s a top-notch brand and this person has spent a butt-load of money on it, but the amount of dollars spent doesn’t make it a good and thoughtful present.

Exception: Buying this gift for someone who only has the sense of smell.

I’m not going to say this is the absolute definitive list, Even on top of the exceptions I’ve thought of there are many more. I just think more people should know that it’s really evident when no thought has been put into a present, and it causes awkward and unpleasant feelings in a relationship. It’s not always the case, but its possible that if you get someone an amazing and thoughtful present they will return the favour.

by Josefina Huq