Dear Babe,

How should I dress/look if I want to get good service at Barneys, Neiman Marcus or Saks?

Sick of Snotty

Dear Sick of Snotty,

I hate that this question has to be asked, but I know it does. I get sales people giving me the top to bottom measure up look all the time.

The short answer is this – look like you put care and effort into yourself and the presentation of yourself. Or wear an expensive or interesting bag or shoes or jewelry. Looking sloppy will work against you. Sloppy means things like sweats, dirty clothes, dirty unkempt hair, hooker wear. Really, all you need to do is look like you value yourself. If you present yourself in a way that shows you don’t treat yourself well then others won’t treat you well.

Still though, NEVER buy from anyone who doesn’t treat you well. Everything is sold in multiple places by multiple sales people, so let the snotty ones lose your business. Being treated well means being treated with respect, politeness and helpfulness, NOT someone kissing your ass. No one should be required to kiss anyone’s ass, ever, and if you think they should then it’s you who are the problem.

The sales people in these stores are there only, and entirely, to be of service to the customer, aka you. Also they’re only making about $20 an hour, plus commission based on your purchases, so they can’t afford any of the stuff they’re selling any more than you can. They only own the stuff because of their employee discounts and first access to sale merchandise.

One reason why judgment of people by what they wear makes me laugh, is that all of the richest people I know don’t give a damn about how they are dressed. They’re so often judged by their money that they know the only people worth dealing with are those who treat everybody well by default.

Sometimes, for fun, I’ll carry a rip-off of an expensive bag so I can watch snotty people decide to treat me differently based on their false assessment of my outfit. I find that using someone’s prejudice against them is always a good time.

The final answer is that you should treat yourself well, expect good treatment from other people, and remove yourself from the company of anyone who doesn’t behave to your standards. This applies to all aspects of life, shopping, dating, working etc…

Of course, all of this depends entirely on you behaving equally as well. If you act like a jerk, then you deserve to be treated like one.


Nagging questions holding you back? Babe Scanlon’s got your answer. A SF native, she’s been figuring this place out far longer than she cares to admit, and now she’s ready to share. Email her at and let the veil of confusion lift. Please do keep in mind: Babe Scanlon is not presenting herself as an expert in anything that means you can sue her or the Appeal if you take her advice and your life tanks. Her recommendations are just that: recommendations.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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