How to Exercise Clothing Store Etiquette

Retail is not an easy job, and clothing stores have their own share of problems, from rude customers, battling endless messes, and shoplifting. Here is a quick guide on how to make the life a clothing retail worker just a little easier.


  1. Image titled Exercise Clothing Store Etiquette Step 1
    Ask. If you do not know something, asking does not hurt and will invariably save you, and the workers, valuable time.
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    Be observant. Look around for any signs on sales, prices or clothing information. A lot can be said in a sign, and you'll save yourself from asking a stupid question.
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    Remember that more often than not, the style/size of clothing that is on the top of a stack is the style/size that is on the bottom. Find your approximate size, lift up the top of the stack and grab the size, and gently place the rest back where they were. That way, there is less folding for the employees. A stack can take quite a long time to refold, and if there are a lot of stacks that need folding, it is quite a mess.
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    Be choosy about what you take into a dressing room. When there is no limit on how many things you can take into a dressing room, please be mindful of other customers and limit what you take in there to about five articles of clothing. This way, you won't accidentally leave a pile of clothes or hangers on the floor and take up too much time in the dressing room, thereby leaving other customers hanging.
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    Mind the return policy. Ask what it is before you leave the store and remember it. Some stores accept exchanges only, while others accept refunds with the tags attached, while still others accept unconditional refunds. If you do not ask, do not be shocked and angry if your items aren't accepted back. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to leave the tags attached and bring it back in 30 days.
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    Just like you make mistakes, so do retail employees. Please do not question their value as a human being in their faces when they make a mistake. Just because they work retail does not mean that they are automatically exempt from feelings.
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    Employees have lives outside of work. Please be mindful of closing times and do not be offended if you are asked to leave.
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    Keep an eye on your children. Children are terrible about ripping tags off, messing up displays, and being nuisances to the staff of the store. Do not expect the employees to be babysitters. This is also for your child's safety, as there are things that can hurt them in a clothing store and potential child predators lurking in the aisles.
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    Do not reach into windows/displays even if it is easy to do so, ask for assistance
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    Do not say "I could get this cheaper at the mall/online/etc". It is annoying and offensive to the employees. If you can find something cheaper somewhere else, you need not announce it.


  • If you know you don't want something, but the store won't let you have a refund, consider donating your clothing to charity or even selling it on consignment. With consignment, you get some of your money back (rarely all of it), and someone gets a nice fashionable outfit for a discount.
  • If you go to the clothing store a lot, consider taking out a membership card; this will save you a couple of dollars, and the employees may warm up to you.
  • In the United States, if the tag that has the fabric content is ripped off it can't be sold by major retailers. Do not to rip it off until you know you are going to keep it.
  • If you don't know how to fold something when you remove it, find an employee and politely ask what they want you to do with it. They may just tell you leave it where you found it or they may want to take it with them.
  • If an employee is busy with another customer please be patient and wait your turn. If you don't have time, leave and come back later. Most stores do holds for 24 hours!


  • No one likes upselling, but employees are often required to do it. If the cashier asks if you'd like to apply for a store credit card, politely decline instead of snapping his/her head off.
  • Employees get into trouble if they are rude to you, and the same applies to customers. Be polite, and hope others do the same.
  • When visiting the store's restroom, practice etiquette. Place used paper towels in the trash receptacle instead of throwing them on the floor.
  • If someone is rude to you, try not to take it personally. They may be having a bad day, really need to use the bathroom or need to eat something, but can't leave.
  • Wash your hands before going shopping for clothing. There is nothing more disgusting than picking up an item of clothing, only to find that the last person to inspect it left unnerving greasy marks on the hanger, or the item. Consider that the store will never be able to sell anything if it is all covered in your greasy germs!
  • Always consider prices before you purchase an item. An embarrassing moment can occur if you suddenly realise that you cannot afford the things you want!
  • Shoplifting is a serious offense, and it can almost never be justified. Never do it, unless you are prepared to deal with the consequences.
  • During the holiday season, expect employees to be pushier than they normally would be. It's extra important to sell during this season because of commission or sales goals that need to be met.
  • In small stores, there's usually only 2 people working at a time and sometimes one person is by themselves. Please be considerate of meal times and try not to shop during that time if you can help it.

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Categories: Etiquette