What I Learned Folding Leggings

I just completed my second – and final – stint working in retail and have a few takeaways that I think might benefit the public at large.

For a year, I was lucky that I got to spend a few days a week at an upscale athleisure emporium at my local, like, fancy strip mall, and I worked with pretty awesome customers. I enjoy giving other people my opinions, so lording over a dressing room while ladies tried stuff on was right up my alley.

But there were some head-shaking moments; situations where I’d find myself whispering, “Really?” to a fellow legging-folder.

One customer, who’d tried on pretty much half the store and had me running around trying to find her size in a few items — emerged from her dressing room holding a handful of items she was buying and said, “You’re gonna hate me.”

And I was like, “Stop! Go on! Have a nice day!”

As she walked away, I pulled back the curtain and thought, “I totally hate her.”

Half the store lay inside out and scattered all over the floor.

And don’t even get me started about having to lift those adhesive bathing suit pantyliners off the floor with paper towels. Woof.

So, who knows? Maybe I’d been guilty of committing some of the same crimes in the past before I knew any better. My youngest daughter certainly thinks I have. Consider this my mea culpa. Shoppers, please take note:

  1. Clean up after yourself.

Seriously, ladies, I already have four kids and am way too old to be cleaning up after you. Don’t leave clothes inside out on the floor or piled on a chair. I’m not saying you need to hang them up perfectly to go right back out onto the floor, but putting things back on hangers is a basic courtesy. Like using the chicken wing when you sneeze. People working retail are not getting paid enough to coddle your body dysmorphia (see #3) and clean up after you. Not even close.

  1. Keep your hands to yourself.

I understand the urge to touch stuff when you’re shopping. I’m big on that, too. But if you’re looking through a pile of, say, t-shirts, for your size and a salesperson asks if she can help find if for you, for the love of Christ say “yes.” She is not asking to be nice. She is asking so that she doesn’t have to re-fold the entire bloody pile after your tornado hands have moved on. 

  1. Stop feeling bad about yourself.

I have logged enough hours standing in a dressing room to say, with confidence, that most women hate their bodies. Or at the very least, certain parts of their body. This goes for women in amazing shape as well as a 91-year-old gal I helped not long ago who fretted over her upper arms. Ladies! Let’s just be happy we’re here and can afford to shop for athleisure wear! Honestly. The good news is that it’s made me super-aware of when I start to do that stuff myself. Please smack me if you hear me complaining about my midsection.

  1. Gentlemen: don’t harass legging folders.

To the old coot who recently suggested I pull up my shirt as I helped him pick out a couple of outfits as gifts, this is not 1977. That is no longer the culture. Just ask Harvey Weinstein. I just wish I hadn’t been so shocked when he said it that I was unable to call him out for being a scuzzy old pig. Instead, I finished helping him shop and then threw the stuff on the checkout counter — where someone gift wrapped it for him — and ran to the back of the store.

  1. Everyone should work in retail or the food industry at some point in their lives.

This will teach us all how not to be jerks when we’re out to eat and buying stuff.

  1. It’s just yoga pants.

The best part of the job was that I got to work with great women of all ages, who I slowly got to know (through my sly interrogation techniques) and learned that they were so much more than legging folders. They were studying for the LSATs or going to school to become registered nurses or working full-time in the city or auditioning for acting roles or running busy households and shuttling kids to colleges and sports tournaments. In other words, legging folding was just something they were doing on the side. I’m going to miss their company.

It was fun while it lasted but working nights and weekends started to get challenging with just a 14yo boy and a puppy left living at home. Plus, I got tired spending all the money I made on clothes. It felt like I was bartering my time for Salutation tights (although they are frigging amazing).

So, I’ve decided to commit to my writing and freelance jobs full-time and now I have drawers full of leggings and sweats to stay cozy for this new phase of my life. As do my daughters and friends.

My work here is done.

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No, I am Not Winking at You


Whoa. Is mine this crazy?

In the last 24 hours, I have Googled the following terms: “impetigo,” “hard cat poop” and “mesothelioma.”

It goes without saying that the visual horror unleashed by the first two terms is something that will stay seared in my memory banks for the rest of my life.

But it’s clear that I’ve got a lot of weird stuff on my mind and it’s beginning to manifest itself outwardly. Again.

Once or twice a year I get an eye twitch.

The first time it happened was about 10 years ago as I began packing up to move to a new house while pretty pregnant with my fourth child and serving a term as PTO president.

The new house was probably more than we could afford at the time and the packing up of every last teaspoon and Lego and hauling boxes filled with books and skillets inspired the sciatic nerve running down the left side of my body to revolt. That combination of stress and crazy pain made sleep impossible and resulted in a tremor in my right eye that persisted for months.

Five years later, and despite spending a fair amount of time upside down in a yoga studio, the wink was back as I navigated through the legal and emotional tumult of ending my marriage of 18 years.

And now as a full-time working single mom (I’m like the suburban Ann Romano with more kids and no Schneider), I find the twitch appears more frequently but for less-extended periods of time.

Last week, the eyeball earthquake was back, but it’s hard to say just what triggered it.

Was it having to pony-up the balance for the new pool cover I had to buy when a giant tree smashed through my backyard during Hurricane Sandy? Or maybe the remains of said giant tree, all 40 or 50 feet of it, cracked and hovering close by in the neighbor’s yard?

Maybe the mountains that needed to be moved last week to get my college son home to have a wisdom tooth removed caused just enough stress. Or how about the big fight he and I had later that night?

It could have been my mom’s recent knee-replacement surgery that took a brief turn to the scary when she spiked a high fever and had my seven siblings and I spinning in circles for about a day. Then everyone started fighting.

Or maybe it’s the increasing demands of my big, corporate employer that has become as insatiable as the flesh-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors, minus the show-stopping numbers.

Dump all this on top of all the regular activities on my to-do list, like making sure there are school-approved snacks for fourth grade, cat food and endless dinners, eyebrow waxing appointments, reeds for my son’s saxophone and toothpaste.

And then there are my worries. Why is my cat so fat? Will my 19-year old find a major? Will I ever find a good man/read Dickens/lose weight?  Is there life after death?

This, my friends, might also explain why I drink a lot of wine, but even that is starting to grow old.

I’d like to lie down and forget about it all, but I can’t, because my eye is twitching.

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