In case you aren't blessed with a Nordstrom within driving or wagon train distance, allow me to illustrate their incredible customer service with this authentic urban shopping legend:
Once upon a time, a woman and her husband went to the tire store to buy themselves a set of tires. They picked some out, paid for them, went home, and lived happily ever after.
Well, scratch that. They lived happily ever for awhile, but then, like fifty years later, the husband dies. The woman lives alone for a couple years but one day she's going through the garage and she finds one of the tires. It hadn't lasted for that long, so they'd put it on a shelf and forgotten about it, but now the woman was mad. I have half a mind to return this tire, she thought. Then she got a whole mind to do it, and she did.
She goes back to the place where they'd bought the tires over half a century ago, but there's a problem: it's no longer a tire store--the building has been converted into a Nordstrom. Unfazed, the woman walks in, lobs the old, flat tire up on the pristine counter and says, "I'd like to return this." The Nordstrom employee is confused, sure, but she smiles, calls her manager over, and eventually they take the tire back.
I understand the phrase "authentic urban legend" has a slight oxymoronic feel to it, but what I mean by that is I have no idea if this story is true, but it actually is circulating out there in the world. Do I believe it? Well, yeah.
Today, Nordstrom customer service is still tops (only when I'm very tired do I start saying things like "tops"), and while that translates to stellar help in the store and hassle-free returns, it also means that often you get very bad advice.
The staff there is so friendly and so eager to please and so on a commission that suddenly everything looks good on you. There have been times when I have opened the dressing room door in a shirt so small and ill-fitting that an entire one of my breasts has squeezed out of the armhole, desperate for air, and been met with coos of affirmation from the staff. "Oohhh that looks so good on you!" They will say without irony. "It's a totally different look but it WORKS!"
So a couple weeks ago, when I stood in Nordstrom, stroking this gorgeous DVF dress (I'm big on dress-stroking whenever I have a free minute) and seriously considering draining my little brother's college fund to buy it, a clerk came over and whispered, "You know, I've never seen that dress look good on anyone*," and sweet mother of jesus did I take heed.
I slowly backed away from the garment and got the hell out of there, thinking about the Nordstrom employees' past championing of the perpendicular boob shirt and wondering what sort of horrors this dress has wreaked on the world in order to deserve an honest, commission-breaking opinion. I'm not sure I want to find out.
*Except the model in the picture. Of course, she has to look really good in it and totally disprove my dramatic thesis right in the middle of a post. Damnit.