An Open Letter (Rant) To My Local Department Store

Dear Large Department Store (you know who you are),

I find it interesting, your claim at being the lowest prices with the largest stocked items. I find it interesting indeed. Because you clearly haven’t heard of the age bracket “Toddler”. You might find this information useful, but did you know that between newborn and 5 year old child, there’s this age and size range specifically for miniature humans? Quite larger than a baby, but still quite smaller than an average child. You might find this shocking, as I have done on the numerous trips to your store in the last two months, but it seems you don’t stock the appropriate sizes for these tiny souls. 

Case in point, number 1: Shoes. Why is it that shoes for newborns are so easily found? I find it confusing considering newborns don’t actually need shoes. On account of their inability to walk. They’re not deer you know. They don’t just come out of the womb with this inbuilt ability to suddenly go frolicking off into the forest. And yet you can find these adorable little things everywhere. Or should I say “Adorwable whittle fings!” Because clearly that’s how you sell your products. By brainwashing stupid individuals with the heart-melting cuteness that is incredibly tiny clothes. It’s only when you become a parent that you suddenly understand how incredibly impractical shoes with laces become. So I find it troubling that when I actually need shoes that fit because said child has suddenly found the ability to walk my options become extremely limited. There are thongs, with soles that are a mile thick and as hard as rock means my unsteady child spends more time face planting than an unco dad at an ice skating rink. Or take sneakers. Actual sneakers that are so big and bulky, and have LACES and no way to squeeze your wriggling child’s feet into. Also did you know that even though your babies come with hinges in their legs (knees and ankles), they don’t actually know how to use them yet. Meaning sneakers are just another excuse for a face splat session. All I wanted is a pair of sandals. Because it was summer. Who wants to wear sneakers in the summer!? But no, apparently boys don’t get to wear sandals. They are only for girls according to the range in your store. In fact, the boys range of shoes in general is decidedly lacking. Apparently it’s perfectly fine to devote an entire wall to little girls shoes. “Here little girls, see all the beautiful shoes you can wear! Every colour and style imaginable. Glitter and sparkles and lady birds and unicorns!” Turn to the boys section and suddenly your only option is one pair of khaki coloured loafers with the elastic too tight making it impossible to shove your son’s foot into (because they LOVE to spread their toes in an effort to prevent you from getting the whole shoe on). “What do you mean there’s no options. Be grateful, when I was a lad all I had was a paper bag and some string!” And don’t get me started on the gendering of shoes (and clothing in general). Yes, I could just buy some girl shoes, but I don’t need to have to explain 50 times a day “Actually, there’s no such things as girl and boys clothes, there’s just clothes. No, wearing pink shoes isn’t going to turn my son gay. Yes I understand that you feel that sparkles and rainbows are girls thing, but my son seems to like them. Stop pushing stereotypes on my son, he can wear what he likes!” Yep, really don’t need to have that conversation. Ever.* 

Case in point, number 2: Seasonal clothing. Let’s talk about Australia. I know that we think that there are four seasons here; Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer. But in actual fact it’s more like Slightly Less Warm Summer, I Need To Put My Coat On For A Week, Rather Hot Summer, and OH MY GOD MY FLESH IS MELTING IN THE HELL FIRES OF MOUNT DOOM!  Or if you want to simplify things, there are actually only two seasons: Hot and June. So recently even though summer was coming to an end, I noticed how it felt like we were all still living in a furnace, and that my son has basically grown out of all his singlet tops. Still being quite hot and uncomfortable, I thought it would be a good idea to find some more singlet tops, so off to the shops I popped. I love shopping. It’s probably my second favourite past time, after sleeping. Nothing crushes a shopaholic’s soul more than the frustration of not finding the thing you are looking for, especially when one thinks it’s an incredibly simple thing to find. So when I arrived at the shops I was rather disgusted when greeted with an entire winter range of clothing. Interesting that the air conditioning had been cranked up to a point to get you thinking that leggings, longs sleeved shirts and hoodies are a really good purchase today. There was at least some summer range left, and luckily on sale. But once again the toddler sizes were lacking. The only singlet tops that I found wouldn’t fit anyone under 8. Except when I went to the girls range of clothing. Of course. Because it was 5 times the size and twice as interesting. While we’re on the topic of girl clothing and practicality, who in their right mind thinks that clothing embossed with glitter, tassily things, and sewn on diamonties and jewels is a good idea for babies and toddlers? You do get that they a) drool and spit up all over their clothing and b) attempt to eat their clothing on a regular basis? In the end I left in a tired humph, and came home only to beg friends on the Internet for hand me downs. Thanks internet friends! You’re the best!

Case in point, number 3: Price. I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. You claim you’ve got the best prices, and yet you seem to think that $30 for a pair of shoes and $25 for a single shirt is worth the 3 weeks my child will spend in them before I have to come back to the shops for some more, because they’re already grown out of them. Ok that’s fair, you do have to pay the wages of the children who made them in third world countries after all. Does anyone else find it odd that we pay the exact same price for children clothing and shoes when adult clothing tends to be five times as big? Is there a way we can revolt against pricing? Perhaps we should all pretend we’re in Bali and just barter with the shop-keep. Though I can’t see that going down very well, “I GIVE YOU 5 DOLLAR! YOU TAKE PRICE? YOU TAKE PRICE?”, “Ma’am you’re making a scene, please kindly leave the store.”

Honestly, I’m at a loss with what to do. I guess until my son grows into the sizes you seem to think exist for him, I’ll probably just have to dress him in that paper bag and string. Because really, nothing is more fun than a length of string to a toddler!
* Message to be taken away from this is don’t be jerks to kids.    

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