|The Canterbooby Tales...|
I recently offered to take LT to Cambridge for the weekend as he'd made mention of his interest in visiting their archaeological museum once too often and I wanted to quiet him down. After checking out accommodation on Airbnb, I booked a last minute apartment in the lovely suburb of Cherry Hinton and arranged to pick my husband up from work on Friday evening. We were both looking forward to a relaxing weekend, with visions of wandering through historic city streets, drinking coffee at pavement cafes, marvelling at the Impressionist art of the Fitzwilliam Museum and, of course, one of us having a great time in the archaeological museum while the other one was waiting around the corner, drinking a large glass of red wine and sitting by the fire in a cosy, traditional pub called 'Ye Olde English Gentleman'
Now, on my weekends, I work on a self employed basis as a mystery shopper for a wide range of different companies across the UK, so it was only natural for me to check out what Cambridge had in the way of visits and see if I might pick myself up some work while I was there. After all, I have a husband to keep happy with regular museum outings.
'I found a list of available jobs and located a visit to the local branch of Bravissimo where, I was promised, in return for a few minutes of my time, I would have £35 to spend in store'
Living, as I do, in rural North Wales, this isn't the kind of shop I get the chance to visit very often, so I immediately applied for the assignment and was delighted when it was allocated to me. Also, I tend to find that most high street department stores, even if I did have them around me, don't actually stock the size I need, so this job was a no brainer for me. I was free to visit at any time on the Saturday and, as the visit was right in the centre of the city, it would fit around everything we already had planned in the way of sightseeing.
We hit the town centre on Saturday morning, grabbed some breakfast and coffee and headed out to our first museum of the day. This was closely followed by another. Then another, and it wasn't long before I needed a break and decided I'd head to conduct my visit. I found the store without any difficulty and informed Les I'd be 'like, 10 minutes or so...'. The visit instructions were NOT to go for a fitting, but simply to choose underwear/lingerie/swimwear and try it on in order to test out the customer service. I confidently wandered into the shop and began to quickly browse the shelves, looking for something in my chosen size. I grabbed two bras and hustled downstairs to the fitting room where I informed the lady I already had the correct items and didn't need her to assist me with anything. After all, I'm a grown, 39 year old woman who almost has her shit together. She led me to a changing room and promised to come back in a few minutes to check everything was OK. I quickly tried on the bras, only to discover that they were in absolutely no way even comparable to the 34E bra I was wearing, that I'd been overjoyed to find two weeks before in a branch of Marks and Spencer.
'When the assistant came to check on me, her only words were 'NO!!!' , accompanied by a look of absolute horror...'
And with that, she told me to hang tight (quite literally) and that she'd be back with a bigger size. She came back just as my ribs were beginning to crack under the pressure of the beautiful yellow bra I wearing and announced that she'd found me a 34G. Dumbstruck, I tried it on, fairly certain that this woman must've been on a commission only contract that paid her more depending on the amount of fabric she sold. I was horrified to find that it also didn't fit. I was mortified beyond belief when she threw a 34GG at me and it didn't fit either. By the time she told me she would bring me an H cup, I'd had enough. No one goes from an E to an H cup in the two weeks it'd been since I'd bought my last off the shelf bra. And it was really comfy. I told her this, but she cared not. I was now standing, at 39 years old, being told that I was officially a 34H and that I would never, ever again find a bra in a store that wasn't exactly the one I was standing in. Even Marks and Spencer don't stock past a FF cup (or not that I've ever seen) and most other stores literally cover from A to D and seem to have very little idea that anything bigger is humanly possible. *I* didn't think that anything else was possible until several years before when I'd had a conversation with my Mum and sisters and realised that I'd spent years complaining about being an E cup and literally didn't know ANYTHING.
I left the store, with my new purchase, in a state of some shock, and wandered off to meet Les. He instantly enquired as to what was wrong with my face and I simply opened my shopping bag, pushed back the fancy tissue wrapping and let him look for himself. Les, being male, found the whole thing most amusing and genuinely couldn't understand why I was upset. I honestly spent the rest of the day in a state of some disbelief. Firstly, at the injustice of the whole experience and, secondly, at the thought that for the rest of my natural life I'll never ever be able to buy a bra that isn't reinforced with tungsten. And if that's not a reason to be even more introverted and socially awkward than I already am, I really don't know what is.
PS - I would also like to state that the service I received in store was first class and, despite being traumatised, I couldn't have asked for better.