Now that I've had 3 months of observing all different types of shoppers at Zoe, I feel I can devote a blog post to the experiences with men in the store.
If I had to classify the experiences of men at Zoe, I'd say that about 80% of them look miserable to be in the store. The next 10% aren't thrilled but are happy once they find the "man chair" and can flip through a magazine or browse their smart phones. And the final 10% are active participants in their female companion's shopping, whether it be picking out items for her to try on or providing his opinion as she comes out of the dressing room to model different options. I have also had male shoppers come into the store alone and shop for a gift for their significant other. Rarely do they seem completely confident in their abilities to choose something she will like but the fact that they are making the attempt earns them major "good guy" points with me!
Last Sunday, I had my first private shopping appointment with a man shopping for his wife. In the interest of full disclosure, the shopper was my brother. He had come to see me from Georgia and wanted to shop prior to the store being open. I will freely admit that I had a much greater confidence in working with this "client" since I know my sister-in-law but it was really quite a lot of fun. We went through the store and selected some things that we thought she would like. I will say that, as his sister, I never imagined he would ever put this much care and consideration into shopping for a woman. He was picky about fabric weights (nothing too heavy - it is too hot in Georgia) and colors (rejecting one item because he had never seen her wear that color). All reports have been that he hit a home run with both the sizes and the items selected.
I have been in a situation where I had to talk the man out of purchasing something. In one case, a man had something picked out and I asked about his wife's size. His choice would have been too small and I advised him against buying it. No sense in having her mad at him (and me!)
Then there were the two men who came into the store shopping for one man's wife. As he looked through the items, he began complaining that I did not have a size 12 in one particular jacket/pants combination. I apologized and told him that my larger sizes seemed to be selling faster and it was a lesson learned for me to purchase more of the larger sizes in the future. I made the comment that the average clothing size for women in the US was a 14. His comment back to me "You women are getting fat." This coming from a man who definitely had NOT missed any meals. Sometimes, the only answer is to smile and say nothing....
Back to the "man chair" - my brother suggested that I get some pro and college football magazines to put on the table there so that any man sitting there will have something interesting to read. I plan to pick up some tomorrow just for that purpose. While the female spouse/significant other tries on clothing, I will frequently chat with the man if he appears interested in talking and have covered topics such as football, literature, garment manufacturing, architecture, computer software, movies, and travel. I never know who might walk through my door and what their interest might be!
There are also funny moments. I greet everyone who comes into the store. Frequently, the female half will come in first followed by the male. In one instance, I had spoken to the female and then greeted the man with her. He said "No one ever speaks to me! I'm usually invisible in these places!" I assured him that I considered him a person too! In another instance, I spoke to a man and he said nothing in return. His significant other chided him and said "Don't be rude! She just spoke to you!" (He was definitely one of those who appeared in the 80% category above).
The one plus for Zoe is that in addition to the "man chair", the men like the water fountain (in the store) and the decorative fountain (on the terrace outside Zoe's store). If I could somehow have a free beverage refrigerator next to the man chair, they may start insisting their wives/significant others shop longer!