Phone Etiquette While Shopping

It’s summer, and that means I’m back to juggling work and entertaining three boys full-time.  There are days when my sons are super-helpful, and there are days when they play along with my little schemes; they even forgive me for my multi-tasking monstrosities.  Like the time I took them to a special event at Sealife/LegoLand at 8 o’clock in the morning.  In summer.  In rush hour traffic.  There misery was soon forgotten in the midst of a sea of aquariums (did ya see what I did there?) and legos galore.  Of course, being downtown meant I absolutely had to stop to do a fit-check for a client, as we would be passing right by the store on the way home.  I called ahead, asked her to start me a room with the dress in three sizes (warning her I had my sons with me!) and we walked in, I tried on the dress (while the boys literally made themselves at home taking off their shoes and lounging on the couches,) snapped this pic with my cell phone,

Banana Republic Seamed Fit and Flare Dress

Seriously, this Banana Republic Fit and Flare Seamed dress is perfect (and sadly sold out online) – it’s a high quality knit dress that meets both the length and sleeve requirements for many of my clients.

and then left.  Of course (darn multi-tasking….or self-control, whatever you want to call it) I had to stop by the store that was right next door and do a quick spin around the floor (literally, it was spinning.)  Of course I stopped to try on a kimono-type cardigan to which my sons gave me an emphatic NO (which is why I don’t normally take them shopping lol!)  I found one great deal on a cardigan I knew another client would love and raced to the cashwrap for the dreaded longest-wait-in-the-world (let’s call this store M&H*, where I kid you not, customer service is not actually a thing, and they want to make sure that if you are going to buy cheap clothes you must pay for it with your time – what we call opportunity cost.)  Enough with the run-on sentence.  I set my items on the cash-wrap and started emailing the pics to my client.  Multi-tasking, no?!  Too my complete shock and awe, the M&H employee asked me to please get off my phone because there was a line of customers waiting to be rung up.  Forgetting all my manners, I let loose a condescending and sarcastic HA, before backpedaling and trying to explain that the wait time in line at M&H is always horrendous no. matter. what.  Also, it wasn’t like I was talking to someone on the phone, I was emailing.  What happened next?  She made me show her my credit card and ID (before she had even begun to ring anything up) and then handed them back to me (I got the feeling she thought this would make me put my phone down but she hasn’t ever seen me at my mother-of-three-multi-tasking best; I used my other hand to whip out those two cards in less than a half second (take that retail-worker-who-hates-her-job) and I kept emailing.  Why did I keep emailing?  Because as soon as I left that store, I would spend the next five minutes making sure my sons stayed on the sidewalk, said excuse me when they needed to pass someone, and generally didn’t get hit by cars or stolen by strangers.  At the end of those five minutes, I would be double-checking everyone’s seatbelts and trying to navigate a busy shopping center with people turning left even when there was a clearly no-left-turn sign right in front of them.  And then I would spend the next twenty minutes driving my three precious little angels home, where I would most likely have to feed their dragon-breathing-fire appetites followed by some kitchen clean-up followed by what I would hope would be at least ten minutes of free time but that always turns into an argument or injustice of some sort.  And that is how I justify taking the time I stand at the cash wrap waiting to be rung up for personal business like emailing my client.  Who, by the way, loves the dress.  At the end of that whole M&H debacle, I walked away feeling like M&H is still the worst store in America (and you should know how much I despise Forever39*) but also feeling like I totally won that battle.  In her attempt to control me and be super-rude, it created a symbiotic race – for both of us.  I was determined not to let my emailing actually keep me from swiping my card at the exact moment I was supposed to or to sign the receipt as soon as she handed me the pen.  She on the other hand, was determined to get me rung up before I could finish my emails.  It was THE FASTEST CHECKOUT TIME I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED IN THE HISTORY of M&H (and I probably should win an award for fastest emails sent ever!  Is there a contest for that?)  It was a win-win situation for me!  Anyway, the whole point of this story is that right now, you can get $25 off select devices from T-Mobile. I know, I just plugged that in there didn’t I?  In all seriousness though, I couldn’t imagine how much more difficult my job would be if I didn’t have the convenience of a cell phone (and a provider with consistent coverage and not to mention great customer service!)

*Store names have been changed to protect the privacy of soul-eating-retail-chain-stores.

This post is sponsored by T-Mobile (but I bet you had already guessed that.  All thoughts and opinions are my own, and this is a true story.  And M&H on the Country Club Plaza is a terrible, terrible place to shop.

If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, here is what I need from you: Was I wrong to be on my cell phone?  What is the proper etiquette?  Do I get a pass if shopping is my job?  Please say yes so that I don’t feel like a complete jerk, okay?


  1. Kendra says:

    I would have told her to mind her own F’ing business. End of story. 🙂

    • I was tempted to (minus the f-ing, lol.) Two things: as a personal shopper, I have to make friends with these people – we can benefit each other mutually (but never an employee at “M&H”. Also, she was in a wheelchair, and I’m just not sure the politically correct side of me can be truly rude to someone in a wheelchair (mostly because they will probably think I feel I can be rude to handicap people when in fact I feel I can be rude to anyone, although I try to NEVER be rude to anyone, even on a bad day in a bad situation.) Kill then with kindness (or efficiency in this case) I say! Lol

  2. Tracy says:

    WHERE is that white dress from?!?!?! M&H? 😉

    • Lol, Banana Republic, where the service is 500% better compared to their nneighboring retailer!

  3. I think you were completely justified to be doing whatever the heck you wanted to be doing while you waited in line! I mean. This story kinda blew my mind! Annoying! I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never actually bought anything from M&H because they sheer size of their store and all the clothes packed together on the racks overwhelms me as soon as I walk in. (very cute dress, by the way! 🙂

  4. I couldn’t believe when we were at that M&H the other day. They only had ONE girl checking people out and the line was probably 15 people deep. She wasn’t particularly rude, just tried to ring people up as fast as she could. But it worked out for us in the end because she missed an item, which saved us $10! And I don’t feel bad about it at all at a store like that. At a smaller boutique I would.

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