J Press Redeems Itself: or at least that one guy did

Walking past the Washington D.C. Brooks Brothers ‘Gatsby’ window felt like Halloween. I like some of what I saw but getting dressed shouldn’t be playing dress up.

A few blocks further down I felt like I was looking at a lackluster meal. The kind with all the right ingredients, a lot of labor, that just doesn’t turn out right. Not a bad meal at all yet still a huge disappointment. Remembering Cambridge, I inhaled and stepped inside.press doorsI was dressed much like last time, flat front khakis, blue button down, tan v neck, solid blue tie.

A man behind the counter said something along the lines of “hello.”

madrasI explained I was just looking a little but mostly wasting time he replied that he thought that was great and to enjoy myself.

Panama hats are obviously a thing right now. I saw one that might suit me, picked it up to maybe try it on, when a gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out the window. Outside was a little old woman sporting that Panama hat. The man chuckled and in a heavy accent said, “I guess it is summer time.”ivy books

While staring at cuff links a man asked, “which ones were you looking at?” I told him which ones I liked but that I was on strict orders to buy nothing. He smiled and said he understood.

He had grey longish hair. Not long enough to tuck behind an ear but enough to pass the collar in the back. I’m sure he must have had some wrinkles but his face, his eyes perhaps, seemed young. He was not bothered by me and I consequentially relaxed.

What he did next was remarkable.summer weight

A young black man walked into the store wearing shorts and a hooded sweatshirt. The salesman looked up, smiled a hello, and went right back to our conversation.

I wandered off on my own and the salesman directed a cheerful, “how are you doing today?” to the guy wearing Air Jordans. He did not tailgate the guy, hover over his shoulder, not did he ignore him in hopes he would go away. It was almost the same greeting I got, perhaps a little friendlier as the guy in the hood was a little nicer than I was.press capitol

By the time I walked away those two were chatting away. The black man had just gotten a job at a local shoe store, the sales rep knew everyone there, including the one who had just left. The black man knew every make of shoe imaginable but wanted a new suit. “well, you obviously aren’t working today. I’m sure {insert female name of shoe store boss here} wouldn’t have you walking in dressed like this?”

“Naw. I have today off,” he chuckled.sweaters

Maybe it was just Spring or perhaps not having your location listed on the corporate logo strips away the pretension. Whatever it was, this location was not like the last. Maybe it was just the grey haired guy with the young eyes but when I left there that day I wished I had money to spend.

I liked the clothes better, the sun was a little brighter, and I felt better about me.

Those two were still chatting when I left. I have no idea if a suit was purchased but I’m sure the newly minted shoe salesman will be back.

Me too.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “J Press Redeems Itself: or at least that one guy did

  1. A great story about salesmanship or actually treating people as people not matter what… I had just the opposite experience when shopping for suits after landing my first sales job waaaaay back when. I was in a tee shirt and shorts walking into the store…. no one ever asked to help me… totally ignored me…. I finally had to let them know what I was there and then all of a sudden I was GOLD. 🙂 Another time I went to buy my first new car…. similar experience… went to local dealership, I was 19 and they didn’t take me seriously, in fact they laughed at me as I told them what I wanted…. I went down the road (20 minutes) to the next Chevy dealer and bought the very truck I was looking at there. The first stop I made when I drove it home was…. yup, you guessed it, the first dealership making sure they saw me as I waved with a big smile. 🙂

  2. AVC

    I always walk by this place but have never walked in. Iv’e always kept walking, afraid that I wasn’t wearing the “J. Press” look or not wanting to be haggled while just browsing. Nice to know they have helpful sales people and with your endorsement I think I will finally stop by.

    I couldn’t agree more with the new Gatsby collection.While I think the wardrobe looks great for the movie, translating it to real life feels gimmicky..

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