I have mentioned before how I have 4-5 pair of the exact same jeans because when you find good ones you just have to! Well, sadly, my beloved jeans are wearing out slowly but surely and the worst part is that they are also discontinued. They no longer make them. I am wearing them still and most likely will until the thighs are transparent (or close to it). They are/were Avenue’s Denim Lite jeans, Straight leg in a dark wash. They are thin and have stretch. They hug my ass and hips, but don’t grab at my thighs. They are the right jeans for me. It took years to find them.
Saturday after brunch with the loveliest of rad fatties I know, we headed over to Avenue to peruse their wares and wonders and I had an open mind to trying whatever their jeans du jour might be in the hopes of finding some good ones to amass once again. Avenue had been my denim savior serendipitously many years ago, so certainly the possibility was there. I saw “skinny” jeans, “Hollywood Skinny” and all manner of flared and boot cut. They had denim capris and what appeared to be a true classic cut and even a straight leg!
I was attempting to locate my size on the racks but was coming up short. In my current jeans I wear a 30 average, but to be honest, I never unbutton them, I simply slide them over my hips with ease. I like it. I’m weird. I was open to trying on several pair in different sizes to see what works best. But the sudden realization that this wasn’t at all possible left me in denial. I asked the salesperson for assistance, “Am I missing something or do your jeans only go up to a size 26?” she smiled and said they went higher but that their stock is very limited.
Limited is putting it mildly. She grabbed a hook and started to sort through the upper rack where no one could ever possibly see the sizing so high up there. Then I asked about the cut and fabric of these jeans we were going through. She said they had some stretch but not quite as soft/thin as the Denim Lite line had. Bummer. But I was willing to try some just the same. I ended up trying a 26 average. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. I wasn’t devastated, but more irritated. The jeans went on my body fine and all. I could zip the zipper and button the button. But when I turned around to look in the mirror? Horror!
These jeans were made as a fucking joke! They grabbed at my thighs like they were homicidal! They strangled my knees as though being held hostage not for money but for play! These denim demons made me feel badly about my own body! These jeans had to GO! I got them off and back into my own with a huge sigh (I’m sort of known for those, btw). I proceeded to try on the two bras I’d brought in with me, but let’s just say that only went a smidgen better than the fucking jeans did. Ugh!
When I came out of the fitting room Marilyn asked how they worked out. I gave her a grave look and simply said, “they didn’t.” She asked what size I tried and if I could go up or down to better fit my needs. I explained the situation and she being the radical fat activist that she is (yes, that Marilyn) she asked me to find the original price of the jeans as she headed up to the cash register. They were originally $40, but that day 40% off (I would have bought a few pair, actually, at that price).
She had already tried on her stuff and had quite a selection of goods ready to be purchased. She placed them on the counter and asked the cashier if she could just add them up before ringing them up. She did. And then Marilyn said, “This is what I would have purchased, and then some, had your store carried the sizes it claims to. Had my friend been able to find jeans in her size she would have bought more, too.” The cashier was confused.
This particular Avenue location is not exactly known for its great customer service (I once walked in on the employees calling a customer a bitch to her face, it got ugly!). She explained that claiming to carry a full range of sizes for a full range of people and then simply not carrying them is unacceptable and downright discriminatory. The cashier just sort of stood there dead-eyed. Marilyn simply asked that she relay this feedback to her higher ups.The cashier then said that they weren’t allowed to do that. The only way to get heard, she said, was to go on Avenue’s Facebook page. Wow!
Not only is that surprising, it’s ridiculous and stupid. But you don’t offer up a meaty challenge like that to the likes of Marilyn, or me for that matter, without some sort of follow up! And so she took to Facebook and explained what had taken place. Of course Avenue gave the same old BS PR Schpeel:
“Hi Marilyn – We apologize that you and your friends were unable to find all the items you needed in your size. We do carry size 32, but we have had a busier season than expected due to the warmer winter we have had. Customers have been purchasing spring items earlier than usual. We have more stock coming daily, and a large assortment online. I will be forwarding your feedback to our design department for future planning, as customer service is a priority for us. Thank you for your feedback.”
I can personally attest to the fact that MOST Avenue locations do not even get the larger sizes. If they do, they will get one! That is like one pair of pants or one top! This has been a trickling of a sort over the last 5 years I would say. I used to just walk in, grab what I needed, pay and leave. I didn’t need to try things on back then, because they actually had some consistency for a minute. Now? Now it’s a fucking joke! Now I have to set aside some time and often put off even going because I have to try everything on, in two or three different sizes, if they even have them.
The worst is their “deals” tops and such. Those almost always only go to a size 26 and even then it could be a huge or miniscule version of that size. The real doozy for me was this past winter’s tights claiming to come in a EE when none of their stores OR web site actually ever had the EE’s. I even had salespeople say, “No, I’m sure we must have gotten them in. They just sold so fast!” Shenanigans! Bullshit! There is no way in hell! I have scoured the racks and web and I can tell you for a fact that that is a lie!
So here’s what is up now, Avenue. I will be calling district and regional managers this week. I will take to the Facebook page and share my story. I will then say a big FUCK YOU to you and Lane Bryant and any other retailer that claims to carry my size yet seems to go out of their way not to ever actually physically have them and I am going to have some awesome rad seamstress custom make me some damned jeans! I will not give you my money! I will not enter your stores. I will no longer be in one of your fitting rooms feeling badly about my awesome fat body that I normally love because of your seriously poorly made/designed jeans!
I am sick of being lied to. I am sick of these retailers biting the hands that literally fucking feed them! I worked in retail for over ten years, this new “only on Facebook” tactic is utter crap! But hey, they wanna play that game, so can we. I hope that you will share your grievances as well. Together we make an awesome, radical fatty team! <3