A few weeks ago, after deciding my favorite pair of jeans had finally worn out, I made the trek to the mall for a new pair. I entered a trendy clothing store, found my way to the jean section, grabbed a few pair in my size, and headed to the dressing room. I tried them on and found that, much to my surprise, they were too large. From the other side of the dressing room door the sales clerk asked if I needed anything.
I stared at myself in the mirror and said, "Yeah, I need a smaller size."
She complied and shoved two different pairs of jeans under the door.
I tried those ones on, in a size I haven't worn since before I had my now 2-year-old child (I'd like to call it baby weight but really, it's chocolate chip and candy bar weight) and they fit. Perfectly. Gosh, what a happy surprise!
I bought two pairs of jeans out of sheer delight.
While paying for the jeans, the sales girl gave me a 25 percent off coupon for my next purchase. A few days later, after congratulating myself over finally achieving my pre-baby size, I decided maybe I should buy another pair of jeans (and use my coupon!) as celebration. I hopped online to look at the store's site. After looking over a few styles I saw a link labeled "updated sizes" so I clicked on it.
Turns out the trendy jean store had "re-sized" (or should it be re-labeled?) their jeans. They explained with a chart showing the old size 10s were now 8s, the old 6s are now 4s, etc. Those former 00s are now 000s! Yep, this resizing has given birth to a size triple zero. Shortly after my shock over the triple zero came my realization that my body hadn't magically lost those few extra pounds. Rather, the store had pulled a crazy marketing scheme — probably aimed toward women like me — and changed its sizes.
Don’t let the outside determine the inside
I had let the label of an article of clothing dictate not only my spending habits, but how I felt about myself. Those moments when I congratulated myself over how I looked in those new jeans were false. I had looked that way for months, but the tag in my jeans had blinded my reality.
Don’t fall prey to marketing schemes
While I thought I was pretty good at smelling out advertising schemes, the resizing of jeans completely surprised me. Other marketing ploys, such as stores telling consumers they “deserve” something or that buying their products will make them happier, clearly work, or else these retail establishments wouldn’t use them. The only way to shop smartly is to keep up with the constant innovations of marketing.
Stick with your plan
When I went into the store, I had planned on purchasing only one pair of jeans. However, when the store marketed to my conceit, I found myself doubling my purchase. The retailer, in turn, was able to profit even more off my vanity. If I had stuck to my original plan, I would have more money in my bank account for future needs instead of wants.
Use coupons wisely
Coupons can be beneficial when we purchase necessities. It’s when we let those “savings” convince us that our wants are actually needs that we get into trouble. I didn’t need more jeans, but letting a 25 percent off coupon convince me I would be saving money is what led me to consider purchasing more. Having a coupon with a short expiration date persuaded me that buying the jeans sooner, rather than later, was a smart idea. But really, it wasn’t because I didn’t need any more clothes.
If anyone else would like to buy a smaller jean size, just eat a cookie and go to the nearest mall where all your body image dreams can come true. But be aware that the labels on those jeans might change as time goes by. As long as you maintain both your personal identity and your shopping sense, everything should work out fine.
Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She can be reached at [email protected].