I was irritated, I wonder if I should have been, it was so, and I was very irritated.
When I am irritated I can be awkward, and I became awkward.

A local clothes store had a top I was interested in, but not in my size. For the last two weeks I have been popping in and out of the shop to see if my size arrived in stock. I even called into another branch twenty miles away, with no success. Finally, I decided to make an in-store order for delivery to the store.

The assistant phoned the ordering department. The garment number was given, then questions were relayed to me. You expect to be asked the size required; yes they had it. I could live with my name and address being given, not that it was necessary because it was not a home delivery. Was I on the mail order system? I was really delighted to say “NO”. As for my marital status….why did they require that? At this point I became irritated and awkward and refused to disclose. Next my my phone number was requested, I asked why. The store required it to contact me, however the ordering office – probably several hundreds of miles away – did not, and I said so.

If the garment had been available in my size, I would have taken it to the pay point, tendered my method of payment, got a receipt and then I would have left the store. That would have been the end of the transaction, without any interrogation. Why should placing and paying for an order be any different?

I paid for the awaited goods and pocketed my receipt. There was absolutely no need for the administrators to obtain additional personal details for the order, for which I paid up front in exactly the same way as any in store purchase. It’s excessive prying, a data gathering exercise which is not acceptable.

The shop assistant was placed in an unfortunate position. I made a point of thanking her for her help. It was not appropriate for her to take any flack for the questionable activities of the administrators of the company for which she works.



  1. I’m glad you stood up against this. I thoroughly agree – it is an unwarranted intrusion on privacy and completely unnecessary.

    Hope you get the garment you want asap …

  2. Actually, I went into the store today, guess what….

    someone may have returned a garment that was my size. I took the opportunity to try it on and check it. I replaced it on the rack, having decided I would wait for the one I ordered. I hope it is in good order when it arrives!

    I will hesitate to do further business by in-store ordering after this intrusive experience.

  3. It was tempting to walk out, easier to do in a larger more anonymous place. In a small area it is something you think about – you have to live in the community and with the people, some of whom will be working in local shops.

  4. Everyone everywhere wants to know about us – not because they actually care, but well, because they want to know. And as Mr Penry says – anyone who asks a question they have no business asking deserves to be lied to….;)

  5. Nice one, Mr Penry. In a larger and anonymous conurbation, I would probably get away with gloriously fibbing. As it was I refused to divulge. It wouldn’t have taken much coded conversation via the phone and the assistant to assess what my status might have been. You can’t go around with gloves on all year round, not even grubby gardening gloves!

    Customer databases are a valuable commodity to the retailer; my privacy, limited as it is, like everyone else’s, is valuable to me.


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