A few weeks ago, at Chams, we had a young chap come to talk to the group, for his research project. He opened with a simple question: What can retailers do for trans people?
The way we play these events, is we – okay, muggings, here 🙂 – makes a quick intro for the group, and then we set the researcher up, in a quiet spot. This allows people to pop over when they’ve got a mo, and it lets those who don’t want to be involved, be… ummm… well, not involved. Seems to be working for us.
After a few folk had wandered over and the evening was in its final hour, I drifted over to see how things were going. I to, was asked the question, and it wasn’t long before Alison, Val and Diane joined in.
So, what can retailers do for we trans folk?
1. Changing Rooms
If the person is dressed like a woman, or dressed like a guy, let them go in the appropriate changing room. If you’re not sure if the person is male, or female; you could always just ask, which they’d prefer to go in.
I’ve been directed to the disabled booth and when I look back, I feel bad that I might have taken that space, away from someone who wanted it. I might be a bit dim, but I can get about just fine.
2. Shoes and Changing Rooms
In the dim and distant, a stealthy trans person could drop a few items and the obligatory baggy jeans on top, before heading to try these on. A dress, a skirt, some shoes; it was all good. Then, some wise spark, decided to make the rule that you couldn’t take shoes into the changing room.
While that may have dropped the thefts, and I assume this was why they did it, it hasn’t helped those of us, who aren’t 100% out. Sure, in a town, far, far away, it’s fine to sit down and try on, but closer to home – like lunch breaks – it’s not so easy.
In the end, and the last time I was in Dorothy Perkins, I just asked outright and while the lady on the door was a bit surprised – it was her first day, bless her – she said yes and all was well. Not that the shoes fit. Why is it a New Look size 8 is fine and a Dotty P’s 8 is like the re-enactment of the Ugly Sister and the Glass Slipper? 🙂
Which brings us on to sizing. Not all size 16s are created equal. 🙂 This seems an issue for us, as much as (genetic) women.
Also, I bemoan shops – I’m looking at you New Look! – for dropping their Tall range from the high street. Still, your gain in shop floor, is your loss in sales.
On a positive note, more shops are doing a size 8 and 9, in shoes. This can only be a good thing!
If I’m out shopping and looking for something specific, sometimes I’m asked if I want any help. Sometimes I’m shopping for the Ever Lovely Mrs J, sometimes for Yours Truly. In either case, sometimes I’m asked, “is it for you?” Perhaps I give off some vibe, or new assistants spot the earrings/eyebrows, I dunno. 🙂 If it is for me, I’ll say so, and there’s no reaction. I am, just another customer, which is just how I like it.
Mind you, 10% off would be nice, you can’t have it all 😉
We had a visit from Boots, a few years back and they mentioned they had a make-over room, which you could book. This was off the shop floor and plenty of (genetic) woman wanted privacy, when discussing cosmetics. It’s all about the practice, practice, practice, apparently, and not all of us do that.
6. Trans Specific Brands
Or, as we like to call it – 30% mark up, ‘cos you put the word ‘trans’ on it. To put it another way, no thanks 🙂
Maybe it’s the circles I move in, but high street, supermarket and on-line are king, queen and… umm… other royalty, now. The idea of specialist trans specific shops, seems to be on the wane. Maybe it’s peoples’ growing confidence, or the realisation that most of the goods in specialist shops, is just plain overpriced.
I think that was our six main points, although, as per, we did waffle around the topic somewhat. What about you, dear reader, anything to add to the list?