Does Your Appearance Affect How People Treat You?

Does Your Appearance Affect How People Treat You?

Hi Guys!

I’ve come across this question quite a few times, most recently whilst entertaining myself reading Overheard In Waitose on Facebook. A woman described a situation where she went to Waitrose with her dad who was scruffily dressed as he’d been painting, and a well-to-do shopper made a nasty comment about her dad to her, not realising they were together, and she called the woman a bitch. Ooh err.

This reminded me of my experience in a wedding dress shop. I’d already bought my wedding dress, it was super crazy expensive and amazing and it was EVERYTHING. I hadn’t told anyone about what it looked like. Then I was looking round the shops with my friend and happened to pass a wedding dress shop, and happened to see MY FROCK in the window. I was so excited I led my friend into the shop and told her my dress was in here. She grinned with excitement as she looked around the dresses guessing which one could be mine. She didn’t guess it right, so I led her to the window and showed her my dress. We were both gazing at and admiring the frock when an assistant came over and asked if we needed any help. I told her I already had the dress and I was just showing my friend as she hadn’t seen it yet. I kid you not but the woman then looked me up and down plain as day and asked me ‘You have this dress??’ I said yes I do, not from this store but yes it’s this dress. She then asked me ‘Are you sure it’s this one??’ The disbelief in her voice, that I, an under-dressed, no-makeup plain-jane looking girl could possibly own this fabulous zillion dollar gown. I said YES I HAVE THIS DRESS, and thought to myself luckily it’s not from this store. My friend and I made a quick exit and I said to my friend – she totally judged me by how I looked didnt she? The answer was most definitely yes. This was a shame really as I was looking for some matching accessories, but I’ll definitely never set foot in that store again.

Remember that scene in pretty Woman where she goes to the store on Rodeo Drive? Yeah that.

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I’ve seen this so many times where people talk about beauty counters – ‘I went to MAC and walked straight out again’ because they felt unwelcome. This really is such a shame, I just don’t understand snobby sales assistants! I mean who do they think they are? They’re there to help and advise customers, not judge you by your clothes or lack of makeup! I’ve heard of people doing a whole face of makeup, taking extra time and care, just to go and have it removed at a makeup counter! This also stretches to people that wash and style their hair before going to the hairdressers! (You know who you are!)

I’ve only personally had one negative makeup counter experience, this was at a Dior counter where I was enquiring about foundations. The supermodel-esque assistant peered down at me (I guess she had to as she was about 7 feet tall) and gave me a look of disgust whilst thrusting an unmarked sample at me. I think she was so appalled by my appearance she couldn’t face actually testing it on my face to see if it was the right shade. It was quite comical actually! And it turned out to be completely the wrong shade too!

Anyway, I just thought I’d chat about my customer experiences, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been treated like this? Let me know if anything similar has happened to you. I hope you enjoyed my post xxx





  1. Lizi
    10 September, 2014 / 11:15 am

    I’ve had this experience in a luxury handbag shop whereby I was treated as a timewaster and not a proper customer until I returned an hour later to make an expensive purchase. I found that it ruined the experience for me as I was buying my own 21st birthday present from my Mum and I didn’t feel like I got the service I deserved for spending a large amount of money. I appreciate that some people may come in and spend thousands in their store but that doesn’t mean that for someone spending around £700, that it isn’t an ‘occasion’ for them.

  2. Jemma
    10 September, 2014 / 1:37 pm

    I’ve had an experience exactly like this at MAC… and I walked away! It’s SO off-putting. I now buy MAC stuff online if I want it, but thats a nuisance because I’m guessing with shades etc!

    Jemma xx

  3. Laura
    10 September, 2014 / 1:42 pm

    It shouldn’t but sadly it does to some… I’ve been in the luxury retail sector for a long time, as a sales advisor, manager, area manger, buyer, merchandiser and now with my own company! Every customer should be treated the same, but of course tailored to her own individual needs. She or he must never be judged, as a sales person you have no idea who they are or how much money they have to spend.
    Even if you may think they are not going to spend, a sales person is a representative of the brand… Your attitude and level of customer service is what the customer or potential customer walks away with.
    A sales person that us gracious, honest and respectful will be remembered. One that looks down their nose… Will also be remembered but for all the wrong reasons.

  4. Martha Smith
    10 September, 2014 / 2:30 pm

    I have had this myself, people judging me through being overweight. As someone else pointed out how much you have to spend has very little to do with other factors of appearance.

    My daughter has experienced this an awful lot because she chooses to dress in an alternative way and has a lot of facial piercings etc. She once heard a mother who was offloading her young son for school turn to her son and say as she walked past “There is a girl who doesn’t have a very good relationship with her mother”. It still makes my blood boil just to think about it.

    There isn’t much you can do in such a situation as this but in a retail environment you can. Instead of walking out and going somewhere else with nobody being any the wiser make sure someone else in the shop, a manager for instance knows that you came in today with the express intention of spending £whatever and now your business has been completed with their competitor down the road due to the rudeness or unhelpfullness/attitude of their sales staff.

    If it’s a snooty senior assistant that has given offence you could deliberately give your sale to a more junior employee as sales staff quite often work on commission. If you cannot cope with a face to face confrontation write about your experience in a review or send an email comment on a facebook page. Most companies appreciate the feedback and want to put things right, that is why they employ mystery shoppers and pay them to go undercover and test their experience that they have in shops etc.

    Unless people make a stand against this kind of behaviour it will just continue and instead of going out of the shop feeling embarassed that someone has looked down their nose at you, you can walk out with your head held high and know that you’ve turned the tables and the dent is in the unhelpful assistants day not yours. It is very empowering!. You very rarely get treated badly in shops in the States, assistants there are unfailingly polite and it is because Americans are not afraid of complaining .

  5. Caitriona Tighe
    10 September, 2014 / 5:37 pm

    I actually can’t think of an exact experience but I know I have had a few where sales assistants didn’t take me seriously – espesh since I look quite young for my age !. I do remember this one time (Its not THAT bad) but when I was about 14 I had braces (train tracks) and A little boy turned to his mum ad said ‘why does that girl have metal on her teeth’ and she turned to him and as clear as day said ‘well, that”s what happens when you don’t clean your teeth and look after them’ I was a little shocked at it since I couldn’t really help the fact that I needed braces and it had nothing to do with the cleanliness of my teeth.She implied it in a – ‘ THATS what you’ll look like and who wants to look like that’ sorta way. I guess it was just a little embarrassing to be a 14 year old girl standing in a shop and to have a crowd of people just stare at you. ahaha At least it paid of in the long run 😉 ahahahh

    Its such a pity people are so pass remarkable.Its actually surprising how some adults are so pass remarkable on little kids/teens.Quite Sad if you ask me really 🙁

    Cait |

  6. Marina Nelson
    25 October, 2014 / 2:21 pm

    HAHAHA YES!!! Press events too can be some of the worst! If you don’t dress like a ‘fashion blogging clown’, they don’t care for you. Same for those without ‘magazine titles’.

    I agree about MAC. You’re lucky if they even look at you most of the time. I don’t understand how they get away with such terrible customer service. Some of them push, barge and snatch when in store. But they all look like clowns with bad skin so I avoid the ones with bad make-up which is 99% of them.

    I had a bad experience browsing in Harrods years ago when I just wanted to ‘see what the luxury fashion world was like’ and at Loubie the girl was so rude and looked me up and down and it totally knocked my confidence to the point where I was questioning myself! So I went to Harvey Nichols instead. MUCH NICER! It took me years to go back to Harrods, but I still hate the shop.

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