For All The Progress I’ve Made, Did I Just Get Bullied?

After all my progress I just got bulliedThe other day I browsed in a local shoe store after my yoga class. The owner has a unique collection of shoes, boots, sandals and hats. Even so, I hadn’t found my sole mates there, (hehe) until that day.

I was bullied into buying a pair of shoes.

Actually? True story. I walked out of that store with a pair of Mary-Jane’s. I love a Mary-Jane shoe but hear me out. I had zero intention of buying anything that day. I just wanted to have a browse.

Why does this matter to me or to you? I’m a big girl who controls her own destiny. I can take or leave whatever I want, including shoes. It’s my own fault for caving to the temptation. Or is that really true…at least that’s what I was wondering when I left that store, a new pair of shoes in hand.

Ultimately, I learned a valuable lesson about myself and it’s one that’s worth sharing here. As you likely experienced going through a divorce, the person you used to be isn’t the person you’ve become. You’re stronger, more confident and most of all, don’t let anyone walk all over you. Incidentally, I’ve written about this very topic in the early years of this blog—therefore, of all people, I should walk the talk. But, alas…I did not.

Here’s the situation: while I was the only one in the store and at the sales lady’s insistence at the shoe’s comfort, she had me persuaded to try on a pair. Then another pair because you can’t just try one pair of shoes on, am I right?

So, away I go into shoe-land, trying this and that pair on. Before I know it, an awkward scenario has ensued. She was determined to sell a pair of shoes and I was apparently not as determined to keep my wallet in my purse.

As I looked in the mirror at my one foot adorned with a funky heeled shoe (does not pair well with a yoga pant), the sales lady told me “Women of a certain age don’t wear heels.” What?! Lady, don’t lump me in with your old lady crowd! Then after I hesitated over the color indicating maybe black or brown would be more appropriate she says this: “You’re conservative, is what you’re telling everyone.”

Excuse me?

I never said anything like that. I told you I wasn’t sure I loved the shoe on my foot. That’s hardly a self description of conservative style.

Apparently, I was an old lady, afraid to wear a high heel who wants to announce to the world that I’m conservative in my style choices.

Suddenly, I felt insecure and I had something to prove. So, naturally, I chose the red pair of Mary-Jane’s (yes, red). In my defense they were super comfortable and made in Denmark. That part had me convinced that they would last forever like a true sole mate.

It didn’t quite end there though.

When the owner (of course she was the owner, a sales person with zero vested interest in the store would not have been up to these bullying sales tricks) rung up my reluctant purchase, she then announced the total at an astronomical amount that made my heart race and my throat tighten.

“Pardon, me?” I said.

She repeated the absurd number. I asked, with a frown “I thought they were $1__.__?”

“Oh, yes that’s right. I thought you wanted the brown pair, too.” she said with a look of utter surprise and not so innocent confusion.

So, not only did I feel I had to buy something to prove this lady wrong but I almost had to double my money.

I drew the line though. Instead I smiled, shook my head and got my credit card out to pay for one pair of red shoes. One pair!

I walked out feeling manipulated and coerced. Or was I just weak and not strong enough to stand up to this lady? It kind of reminded me of being at summer horse camp as a child. The older girls convinced me to ride with them instead of my friends, so that I could ride a ‘better horse’.  My horse was a dud and I certainly would have had more fun with my friends.

Dammit, why must I let people walk all over me? After all I’ve been through and all I’ve learned about people’s motivations, using me for their own purposes—I let the shoe store lady bully me. I was upset for a while because it made me question my own inner strength, and my lack of ability to call people out on their B.S.  After all, I want to be the kind of woman who calls people out on their bullshit when they’re bullshitting me, not later.

After wearing the shoes which admittedly are very comfortable and stylish, I have forgiven myself. I’ve also learned a valuable lesson; manipulation and bullying can happen anytime by anyone—stay steadfast in your confidence to stand up to these types of personalities. Although we grow and learn to be stronger during our divorce, we also have minor set backs. Nevertheless, I have vowed to not return to that shoe store.

Have you been recently taken advantage of, manipulated or feel set back from your progression to self confidence? Hit the comments.

image credit: Art image by Linda Boucher.

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27 Replies to “For All The Progress I’ve Made, Did I Just Get Bullied?”

  1. Here’s why you’re awesome because this happened to you. We’re conditioned to think fierce and on guard is the way to go. No one can hurt us. No one can bully us.

    If you’d walked into a store to browse for shoes, and the sales associate approached you with no malicious intent, and you’d puffed up at her, it would have stressed out a casual situation.

    We don’t expect to have to fend off a bully in a situation like that, so it’s kind of a sneak attack. That you didn’t default to fight mode immediately tells me more about your journey than you think it might.

    1. Thank you, Eli. You’ve made a point I hadn’t thought of. Yes, indeed this was a sneak attack.Those are the worst kind. I often don’t want to cause a scene so I’ll smile and nod but there are times I wish I could have a verbal comeback. 🙂

  2. Puh, I’ve been in situations like this. Now, I want to say, I would have left her standing right there at the cash register and walked out after she almost tricked you into buying not just one, but TWO pairs of shoes that you didn’t really want in the first place, but I know how hard this is. It’s a good situation to practice standing up for yourself though.

    PS: Stopped by via the Peaceful Posse 🙂
    San recently posted…May FavoritesMy Profile

    1. Hi San, welcome to TGE blog. Thanks for stopping over. I know, right? Part of me wanted a new shoe so I guess that is why I ended up with one but still—the pressure wasn’t right.Yes, recognize the signs and act quickly 😀

  3. I’m horrible with confrontation so I’m not sure how I would have responded. I might have done the same or I might have even taken the brown shoes too, so I think it’s awesome you took the red ones only.
    Beth recently posted…Hump Day ConfessionsMy Profile

    1. Aw, thank you, Beth! Haha, I resisted the insinuation that I should have both pair. I don’t like confrontation either and I think because I’ve had to be strong in other areas of my life–I just wasn’t able to pull the guns out here.

  4. Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I hear you totally. I think it has to do with being a generally nice person as well as being generally human. You are not “wrong” or “bad” to have walked out with a pair of shoes. Be gentle with you!

    Also, I think there’s something in the air. I’m about to write a post about it, about how now I’m feeling more confident these days to say what I feel when confronted with something I think is hurtful. Before, I’d tiptoe quietly in the night, and sometimes, i do think tiptoeing might be the safer option, but other times, some times, it’s good to say what’s on your mind.

    And even though you have a pair of shoes, you’re still saying what is on your mind. Reflection and working through meanings–it’s worth more than anything–especially after all that we’ve been through… <3

    1. Thank you, Jane! It is true that I have had the ‘nice’ problem my whole life. I’m only now learning to express to people when I’m not happy about something. I’ve always tried to see the best in people and that’s where I can get caught off guard. Not that I want to automatically see the worst in peeps, cause that would be wrong. But I need to see people for who and what they are. Working through right now after writing this… 😛 Hugs!

  5. Your story reveals how gentle and kind you are Lisa…also proud of yourself! I love those shoes from the description and the picture you have shared. I agree some people are too good at convincing others and can sell anything before you realise you have to pay!
    I have faced a similar situation with jewellery and when I resisted, was even assured that I could pay later but I could wriggle out successfully. 🙂
    Balroop Singh recently posted…When I Met Death…My Profile

    1. Thank you, Balroop. That quality is the very thing I’ve had problems with. I felt manipulated when I walked out of the store but I also do really like the shoes and have worn them many times with pleasure. Oh, you were strong to resist the jewelry offer, Balroop. I would have caved on that one, too. 😛

  6. That is some terrible, outrageous customer service you experienced, dishonest and manipulative. If I were you, I’d probably walk out of the shop and not buy anything. I thought you held your ground very well and insisted on customer rights, not giving in and you were the strong one. For me, if someone if being sour over selling me a product I am not inclined to buy the product though I may need it – it’s just the introvert in me running away from someone trying to intimidate others. I think you won in the end and all of us can learn from that 🙂
    Mabel Kwong recently posted…Why Do Australians Call Each Other “Mate”?My Profile

    1. Indeed! That’s exactly what I should have done, Mabel. Instead I got sucked into the sales vortex. I really was mad at myself after. Lesson learned. Also, at least the shoes are cute!

  7. It was a sneak attack! Happens to us all. I recently bought a hair dryer from one of those kiosks in the mall. She would not let me go and I let her talk me into handing over my credit card! I was appalled at myself! (I do like the hair dryer, though)
    Tamara recently posted…Grilled Hot Dogs With Spicy SlawMy Profile

    1. Oh, thank you Tamara for sharing that because it made me feel better x3. Those mall kiosks can be obnoxious. At least the hairdryer is a good one lol. Speaking of which I need a new hairdryer, mine is ancient.

    1. Yes, I hope so! It really was uncomfortable. I like to support local, independent stores but if the owner is going to do that, I won’t be back.

  8. You are so right Lisa, this woman wanted to sell. And you were there so she made it happen, her way. I can imagine how uncomfortable it must have been. I often find myself in the same position, wanting to say “no” but feeling pressured to say “yes”. I hate it!
    It looks like we do learn things every now and then. It’s part of the process. Maybe we’re vulnerable at some stage and think we can handle everything till something bring us back to situations we knew before and suddenly we feel lost.
    In the end you got nice shoes and you learnt a great lesson. All good Lisa!
    Thinking of you. xoxo
    Marie Kléber recently posted…Writing and Chocolate ice creamMy Profile

    1. Marie, sorry I left you hanging here…I was away and then forgot to check that I had answered all my comments. Sweet Marie was ignored 😛

      It happened so quickly, before I even realized what she was doing. It takes an expert to succeed in manipulation that way. Next we’ll say ‘no’! In the meantime I have some red shoes that I can click for power. They do look a little like Dorothy’s.

  9. Ugh, this makes me so angry on your behalf! I’ve been in those situations myself (it sucks that so many people here have!) but I think there are always valuable lessons to be learned.

    Who knows what goes on in that woman’s world.

    Which is certainly NOT to say that what she did was excusable… it is absolutely bullying… but at the end of the day, she has to live with herself. You were in her presence, what maybe 20 minutes? And you got to see some pretty horrific behavior. Strut your stuff in those shoes and let them give you confidence and power and conviction in the badass chick you are. No one can ever take that away from you.

    Though I’m still angry she said certain things to you. WHO THE HECK DOES SHE THINK SHE IS?! See? There I go again. I swear, it’s the Jersey coming out of me, HA!
    Charlotte recently posted…Best dates for summer (that won’t break the bank!)My Profile

    1. Indeed a valuable lesson for me. She’s quite the sales lady 😛 Aw, I like being a ‘badass chick’!! The Canadian in me LOVES the New Jersey in you, Charlotte!

  10. Oh I just HATE that feeling… I have been there too many times with too many people. I understand this so much, Lisa. For me, it’s all about this awful people pleasing issue that goes deep and I always feel like I can’t disappoint people! I often sacrifice my own opinions/values/priorities/needs for someone who pushes their agenda on me… and I succumb. Sigh.

    I know this feeling all too well. And I know the regret in the aftermath! (I’m so glad you at least love your shoes… and you DID set limits on buying only one pair, so take THAT bully sales lady! lol)
    Christine Carter recently posted…How To Support The Writer In Your Life- A Step By Step GuideMy Profile

    1. You’re so right, Chris about the people pleasing issue being deeper than we realize. That’s exactly why I was so mad at myself. I even lecture here on the blog about not being too nice, and there I was…suckered in. SIGH. I’m still learning. We need to disappoint people more often! Haha. I know that doesn’t sound nice but, you know what I mean.
      lisa recently posted…Choose Your Word For the DayMy Profile

  11. Fab post Lisa. You sound so much like me, including the fact that I’ve have definitely been buying those red shoes!
    I recently watched a documentary on people who live past 90 and an woman 100 years of age being interviewed wearing wildly bold attire accented by leopard print accessories. She made a statement that resonated with me: “I love fashion but don’t follow the trends. I wear what makes me feel good and expresses who I am” she summed it up beautifully, Nobody should be swayed to wear what they don’t feel represents who they are, and nobody should feel coerced into buying anything that doesn’t fit them or their budget. 🙂

    1. I want to meet that old lady! 😀 You’re so right, DG. I think the same goes for how we design and decorate our homes. I think it takes us a while to figure that nugget of wisdom out. When I was younger, I felt I had to dress a certain way (and we do for our work for example). Thanks for popping over, DG and I’m glad to hear you would’ve bought the shoes, too. I’ve been wearing them more lately.

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