Thanks for smiling and welcoming me into your store. But you’re being paid to do that, right? You’re collecting a salary to help people find what they need and maybe persuade impressionable types to buy something they’re on the fence about. In any event when I walk into your store it’s not about you, no offense — it’s about me and what I see on the racks and what I might want to try or buy. It’s between me and the clothes. Which is to say a kind of delicate communion. Intimate, personal. I’m here to experience a transcendent “oh my God, I want this” moment, maybe, but I don’t want help from you any more than I want advice from a bartender about which pretty girl sitting at the bar I should think about talking to.

If I need assistance you’ll be the first ones to know, but otherwise (and I’m saying this respectfully and gently) please keep your distance.

In fact when I walk in I tend not to even say hello to you guys because then I’ll have to explain that I’m poking around on my own and am capable of choosing something that I like without you gelling me how great it looks on me, etc. And I can hear that tone in your voice when you say “goodbye!” when I leave without buying anything. You’re saying “oh, well…okay, we’re a bit disappointed but hope to see you again!” I don’t care at all if you’re disappointed that I didn’t buy anything. Your feelings about this mean nothing. When I walk in I’m a kind of ghost — an ethereal presence, there but not there. Only when I walk over and ask you for help or information…only then do we embark on a mutually respectful even-steven relationship. But until that happens I’m not there. Well, I am but don’t look at me, don’t smile too much at me, don’t ask me if I need any assistance. Once I say something, fine…let’s talk. But not until then.