When I lived in Montreal I was a regular (actually, too regular) shopper at H&M. I used to swing in for a browse between classes or on my way to catch the Metro home and always found versatile pieces-many of which I still have in my closet. I loved that I could stay up to date with the cutest hottest trends at an affordable cost. But then things changed when I moved to Vancouver.
I have been living in Vancouver for two years and since then my experiences at H&M have all been the same: pathetic. The three locations I regularly visited (note the past tense since I have no desire to visit the Vancouver stores anymore) were Coquitlam Centre, Metrotown and Pacific Centre. All three locations have the exact same problems that have annoyed and infuriated me to the point that I am typing this lament:
1. The only sizes they stock are sizes 2-8, with the majority of items being size 2, 4, and 6. RARELY is a size 10 or 12 available. Size 14 is pretty much extinct or limited to clothing that ressembles a sack of potatoes.
2. The customer service is despicable. I have been shoved numerous times by employees restocking the racks that cannot utter an “Pardon me” or “I’m sorry.” I have lost count how many times I have been waiting in line for the change room even when rooms are open or waited for assistance because the two associates were too busy gossiping about their coworkers, complaining about their job, or talking about their after-work plans. Completely unprofessional.
So why the sudden urge to post my dissatisfaction on this blog? I was downtown last week for a press event and had some spare time to quickly pop in to H&M. There were a few pieces that I had noted some of my favourite Vancouver fashion bloggers wearing and wanted to see them in person. The new collection was given its own display at the front of the store entrance for the mall and the shirts were particularly gorgeous. There were 20+ shirts for each design on the racks and as I sifted through hanger by hanger the sizing went like this: 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2…And on and on it went until I reached the end of the rack. Every single item in the whole display was a size 2. I moved on to other sections of the store and I could not find a single item over a size 8. For anything.
But that is not what broke my heart. I can deal with not finding something I like in my size without my world coming crashing down. Beside me was a mother and her teenage daughter shopping and the daughter looked very dejected. She looked to be about a size 6 and was sorting through the clothes with mounting aggression. After a few moments she turned to her mother and said with tears in her eyes, “I want to leave. I hate this store, it makes me feel fat. Nothing fits me and they never have my size.” They left and I soon followed but the look in that girl’s eyes stayed with me all night. H&M is that the message that you want to perpetuate to young girls-that a size 6 is fat?
Online many of the sizes go up as far as 14-16/XL and when I go in to H&M stores when I travel this is never an issue. So what is going on? Is H&M in Vancouver stocking with demographic sizing? Are they intentionally snubbing curvier or more developed girls? Is the lacklustre customer service a cause or a symptom of customer dissatisfaction? The one thing I do know is that I have no desire to step foot in a Vancouver H&M despite all of the cute clothes. I always leave aggravated and berate myself for wasting more of my time.
I know I am risking a lot of fury by targeting such a beloved brand and store, but I just can’t hold it in anymore. I make a consolidated effort to keep negativety and pointless complaining off this blog but this is an issue that I personal felt had to be addressed. A brand cannot improve or meet consumer needs if they are never given performance feedback. I am not asking H&M to turn themselves in to a plus-sized brand (although 14 and 16s would be appreciated), but only for them to realize that the average woman fits more solidly in the 6-12 size bracket than the 2-4. Oh, and I smile and basic manners would be nice too.
That is all I have to say about that aside from I hope something changes soon.