Friday, March 27, 2015

That Time I Tried On A Wedding Gown

It was the first appointment I made to try on wedding dresses. The whole process was rather daunting and foreign to me. I hadn't really set a firm budget on a dress but I had an idea in my mind. So when I came into this one bridal shop with my sisters-in-law one evening, I probably seemed rather flustered and overtaken when the attendant asked me, in front of everyone in the store, what my budget was.

I stuttered something out, looking back at the ladies, and proceeded to feel unsure of my answer. The lady noted it and then moved on to find me some dresses. While trying to figure out where to put my things and find a way to undress in the dressing room without being seen, I kept feeling unsure about this whole process. What do I even like in a dress?

The attendant brought several dresses that were alright. I really did not feel good in anything and even when she brought a bridesmaid dress, that was in white, and told me it was a good deal I shrugged. But while I was standing up on the pedestal surrounded by mirrors, I spotted a dress on a mannequin by the door. I quickly mentioned to my sister-in-law that I wanted to try that dress on, while the attendant was mysteriously away for what seemed like forever.

When she came back we pointed to the dress and to our dismay the attendant said "That is way out of her price range. You won't want to try that on." My sister-in-law quickly shot back, "She will try the dress on, PLEASE."

This whole situation was rather humiliating and rather weird. I felt like I was in the way and inconveniencing this woman. I also felt that if I really liked a dress I would do what I could to pay for it, even if it was "out of my budget or out of my price range." The funny thing was, I did not even feel like the shop was all that extravagant or posh. So what was wrong with this situation? Didn't the lady want to sell her products?

Let me tell you about what went RIGHT at a different shop. On another occasion, my mother-in-law thought I should check out this one last shop before we were done for the night. We knew that this shop was "by appointment" but she thought we should give it a try anyways. I was at the end of my rope in feeling encouraged and felt like it did not matter either way what we did at this point.

As we walked into the shop the ladies were very accommodating and gentle with us. While we had just walked in, they fit us into their schedule even though they had another bride-to-be in the dressing area, created especially for brides. Without hesitation, the manager of the shop, ushered me over to another area and said, "I know that this is a dressing area for bridesmaids but this is all we have for now since we already have a bride here." She showed us where to put our things and proceeded to make sure the room was prepared for me to change in. I immediately felt welcomed and special, even though I wasn't up in the bridal section.

She asked me what kind of dresses I liked and showed me around to different ones. I don't really remember the prices of everything or what all I tried on, but when I tried on the one that I would soon purchase I did not care that it was over the price I had initially set out for myself. Despite the fact that it was probably the cheapest dress in the shop, it was beautiful to me and the woman made sure that I felt good about my experience. I never once was made to feel like I did not have enough or was out of my league. Never before had I felt like a queen in a store. When I finally had the opportunity to try the dress on again, in the special area, I loved it even more. I loved the way the light would hit the little glass crystals and how silky smooth it looked. My dress didn't feel stiff or stuffy, I felt pretty darn good in that thing.

So if this shop had not treated me with such kindness and value, I would not have had this experience or this dress.

We can see here that the later shop had real salesmanship. They knew how to sell a product quickly and efficiently, while pleasing the customer and making them feel valued. At the first place, I was made to feel insignificant and under valued even though the establishment was less refined. What I am discovering about this situation is that it applies to our Christian witness and how we make others feel when they "step into our shop."

We label others and put them in boxes, when we should be encouraging them to discover the most valuable "purchase" of a lifetime. Our closed minded thinking and judgmental placement of who they are sometimes inhibits them from really finding what they have been wishing for all along. They will come into our lives not really knowing what it is that they are looking for, but if we help them they will spot it right away and do what ever it takes to obtain it. No matter the cost.

It is our duty as Christians to help others find Christ, the perfect fit to their life. No matter how simple or refined they are we need to be available for them. It is a little crazy that I had to use a sales lady as a metaphor, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. As Christians, do we really know what we are selling? Or who we are selling to?

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