Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Nordstrom's Bra Brigade

Imagine for a moment, if you will- an entire day spent surrounded by bras and underwear. A day in which you confront women of all shapes and sizes, colors and cultures in a six by six box with lightly upholstered walls and bad lighting solely for the purpose of assessing what bra size, shape and style is best.

Welcome to (what I like to call), The Bra Brigade. These women are truly the heroes of this nation. Now don't go getting all "Support our Troops," I can't believe you just suggested that yellow measuring tapes are going to fight the evils of Al Quaeda. But, or shall I say, "bust" seriously. On a rare excursion to the home of full-service sales (have you seen the price tags? really...), I had the occasion to speak to a few of these brave women. They were incredibly friendly, very well versed in the bylaws of the bra (no spillover, no side bulge, no back fat, no slingshot effect, etc.) and almost like the kind of girls you'd want to hang out with. Except that they were clearly younger, more fashionable and wore more makeup than me. Aside from that though, they were fantastic. And... dare I say it, seemed actually happy to do their jobs.

Now maybe I'm just jaded. Maybe I've been rehearsing my escape route for too long and I can't understand how anyone could be happy doing anything other than lazing by the mediterranean on an umbrellaed beach chair with a pastel-colored estate looming in the background. But what's the secret? I've worked in retail. I put in four long years in college at a little joint called Express (shout out to the Liberty Tree mall in Peabody, MA, Sistahs!) and I remember loving the moment when you actually made some one's day by helping them find the perfect top. And these girls really did help me feel more fabulous (although disappointingly two cup sizes larger than I had always thought) in the perfect bras which kicked ass. BUT. And I say "but" - I also remember the hours spent folding and refolding shirts and jeans in an endless stock room surrounded by the Christmas decorations of years past (If I see another tiny mirrored disco ball ornament, so help me god) and those customers who throw the most ridiculous temper tantrums. So how do they do it? And do they make a living?

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