By: Blonde One

This weekend I have been doing some of my second favourite thing: shopping! Bank holiday weekends must always include a spot of retail therapy, don’t you think? Usually at about this time of year my outdoor kit shopping is at an end. I will have bought everything I need for the training season usually by now and shopping will not resume until about September :(. This year however, I have a D of E season still ahead of me and a mountain climb in Morocco to look forward to, so the purchasing will continue for a while. Hooray! Unfortunately this weekends shopping trip was not as pleasant as usual due to shop staff making judgements about me. I admit that I am a woman of a certain age, who likes nice pretty things (including handbags and shoes), so when I go into outdoorsy shops I sometimes look as if I would be better off in Laura Ashley or John Lewis! I was a bit miffed though to be treated as if I should not be in this particular shop (not naming names) and was just a little bit barking mad to be asking for advice on items such as a Thermarest. The first shop assistant clearly thought that I was wasting his time when I asked for help deciding which mattress would be best for a combination of hot summer camps and very cold winter camps. He dismissively suggested that one particular mattress was probably of no interest to me as it was much more suited to long distance trekkers or marathon runners. Now, I am no maraton runner but I do believe that a trek up a 4000 meter mountain would count as a long distance trek! After giving me a dismissive look he left me “to think about it”! A little while later in the same store I was treated in pretty much the same way by the assistant on the till. I am annoyed that after spending hundreds of pounds in this store over the years (and over £100 on this trip alone) I have been treated in such a patronising way.

I am going to start a one (or two) woman campaign to make sure that the outdoorsy people who work in shops remember that even when a lady has a handbag with a pretty design and is over a certain age, it does not mean that she is past it and incapable of tackling any adventurous activities. So remember, shop workers the world over: never judge a book by its cover!