At age 19, I worked at a bridal store.
I was very poor at the time. Things weren’t really looking up for me, considering I had recently moved states in the middle of the night one Friday thanks to a knife-fight that I was in (not by choice) (also that’s a true story). I was tired of eating SweetTarts and Pickles for every meal because that’s all I had managed to bring from my original home. I really needed a job–any job, and the first place I saw was the bridal store.
What sounds like more fun at 19 than to be getting paid to help people try on wedding dresses? Why, it’ll be just like playing dress-up for money!
I would like to reiterate–I was 19. I was very, very naive.
I made less there than I did working 10 hours a week as a waitress in high school, but that’s not what made the job so fucking terrible. It was the soul-crushing grind of dealing with people who so value white dresses above all else.
Wedding dresses are far more of a serious business than I had ever thought they might be. I completed a 50+ page reference guide and quiz-pack before I ever fluffed a train, which covered such topics as:
- When I was allowed to wear white (never)
- When I was allowed to wear something that fit me (never)
- What the most appropriate color of smock to wear (brown and teal, with black pants only)
- Fire safety
- How to woo a bride by romancing a train (not a joke)
To this day, I can romance a train better than sad Japanese schoolgirls. It wasn’t the shitty pay or the perhaps overly-thorough training that led to my bad memories. It was this:
- The time a 60 year old woman wandered out of her dressing room nude to find something new to try on
- The time I got a dress stuck on someone. Three times.
- The time that the owner turned the fans on the wrong way so all the cold air was drawn up, which was every goddamn day
- The time a bride farted in a dress, and then when I helped her take it off, it wafted out from underneath like a terrible flower
- The time a 14-year-old tried on wedding dresses under the approving gaze of her family
- The hundred-or-so times the other bridal store in town told any woman larger than a size 16 that there were no gowns for big girls, which, while guaranteeing me a sale because that’s a terrible thing to say, also led to so many tear-stained Saturdays
- The time that Prom happens every year, and every 16-year-old girl treats retail employees like Gollum
- The time a girl clogged the toilet and ran out of the store
- The time my white boss told an older black woman, trying on a mother’s dress, that, “Ooooh, all the women in church gon’ say, Sister Harriet, you look so fine!”
- The time a grandmother of the bride coughed in my goddamn mouth
- The time someone said, “I specifically asked you not to put an ant-per-shand between our names.” (For the record, she means this: &)
- The time a flower girl just shit everywhere
- The time I burned my cornea on the steamer
- The time I burned my face on the steamer
- The time I burned my fingerprints clean off on the steamer
- The time I used the steamer and was sweating so hard that someone asked if I had a medical condition
- The time I found out only after I helped a particularly smelly bride that she had scabies and had also been to the lake that day–and did not shower first.
- The time a kid puked all over a train, and they didn’t say anything, they just rolled it back into the bag and left
- The time someone asked if I would get married in Dubai in her stead
- The many many hundreds of vaginas I saw of varying degrees of likability
I realized it was time to leave when I timed myself tying up a corset and I got it–flat laces and a perfect V-shape–in less than 30 seconds. That’s too much bridal.
What’s the shittiest job you ever worked, or the worst story from job you’ve had?
Favorite Comment From The Last Post:
From Kathleen: You like me! You really like me! Sniff… Seriously, though, that’s awesome and reminds me of late night ads in which people are so incompetent they can’t even boil water without setting themselves on fire. “if only they’d had the water boiler 3000, they wouldn’t be covered in 3rd degree burns and cadaver skin!!!!”