In which a giant registry store loses our business by ignoring my groom

Guest post by rumorsofmydemise
Clearly dudes love registering for awesome stuff too! (Photo by: Collin Harvey)

Husband of the Future (HOT F) and I made an appointment to go to a major retailer to get a start on our registry.

When we got there, the manager was all smiles and welcomed me to the store. She found out we were there to register for our wedding and hopped on the intercom to call a consultant, “Can I have a registry consultant to the front of the store? We have a BRIDE IN THE BUILDING!” I was a little put off by this; but willing to keep it friendly, so I smiled and said to her, “and BONUS, you get a groom too!” The manager looked me straight in the eye and said, “Oh, he doesn't matter. Grooms don't matter at all! Everyone knows it's the bride's day!”

Flabbergasted, I looked over at my fiance who was clearly uncomfortable. “Um… should we leave?” he asked me. Meanwhile, manager lady was completely oblivious to our exchange because she was still going on about “THE BRIDE'S DAY.” I put on my serious face, looked the woman in the eye and loudly announced, “We're done.”

It would have been so much smoother had we walked straight out; but I tried to go out through the “in” door and then got caught up in one of those awful impulse buy gauntlet mazes. This woman steps around my fiance in an attempt to stop me from leaving by apologizing profusely and spouting some lame bullshit about it all being a joke.

Mind you, in all of this she had yet to acknowledge my fiance's presence. In fact, she just literally treated him like a piece of furniture. HE was the one she should have apologized to, not me.

I told her that WE didn't find the joke funny and that we were taking our business elsewhere. My fiance grabbed my hand, led me to the correct exit, and out into the parking lot where he promptly high-fived me. We could still see the entire sales team staring at us dumbfounded through the windows.

So we went to the retailer next door and registered there. They were very nice to BOTH of us and we had a great experience overall. Then I opened their wedding coupon booklet and was treated to some corporate-sponsored body shaming. Eh. You win some you lose some. Spanx coupons I can deal with. But NOBODY treats Husband of the Future like a non-entity and gets away with it!

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Comments on In which a giant registry store loses our business by ignoring my groom

  1. This. Is. PERFECT. This is how we change the world into one that reflects our values – one person standing up to bullshit at a time. You’ve given the people in that store something to think about, for sure. Way to go!

  2. Wow, that just seems rude period–not just because of her focus on it being a day for the bride, but because she openly ignored your soon to be husband.

    On the other hand, if that retailer was someplace I preferred registering at, I probably would have gone to a different location, and also wrote a letter to the corporate office. I don’t write off an entire company because of the experience I had at ONE store. How the company responds to my complaint would determine my final decision.

  3. I totally felt the same way when I got married. Marriage is a partnership so how dare you say my husband-of-choice doesn’t matter! In spite of the wedding trend, I made a careful effort to always put my husband’s name first on any signage and invites…I hate the implication that it’s the bride’s day only. It’s important to note though that that concept doesn’t come out of no where. It was a female associate who made the comment to you–and it is often females who say it. If they want to start their marriage on such uneven ground, let ’em! They’re probably also associated with the term “bridezilla.” Ha!

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one putting him first! I’ve slipped a couple of times, worst of all being on the invitations (then again, my folks are paying, so it sorta makes sense there) and people have REPEATEDLY asked about it. Our favours say His Name + My Name with the date, all the envelopes are addressed from (or in the case of our RSVPs, to) His Name + My Name at our address, our wedding website has his name first… and I’ve designed all of these things.

      People have taken notice, too. My mom asked me the other day why his name’s been first on pretty much everything, and I told her it was two things: one, I was brought up not to be selfish and self-centered, but two, everyone’s always caught up on how it’s THE BRIDE’S DAY and I want to remind everyone that it’s HIS day, too! He’s just as giddy about this as I am, though when we started the planning, he was a lot more, “Well, if it’s what you want, that’s fine, I just want to marry you.” I’m not going to let anyone forget that it takes (in our case, not judging!) two to make a marriage work. My birthday’s my day. Our wedding is just that, OURS.

      • Ugh, I actually got chastised for putting his name first on our save-the-dates. My mom tried to argue with me about it. “It’s tradition!” or something. ARRRRGH!

      • Oh wow I didn’t even know if was considered normal to leave his name off or not put his name first on things…

        I hope it doesn’t start a stir because his name is going to be on everything and I want it first because I think our names sound better that way.

        I’ve only been engaged 2 days so now you’ve got me all worried that this will be another argument I have to deal with.

        • Traditional etiquette does dictate that a lady’s name precede that of her fiance/groom/husband. It’s much safer to violate this rule for oneself, of course, than it would be when addressing others.

          It’s similar to the tradition of a gentleman allowing a lady to go first when entering a building or a vehicle.

          There is also a stronger rule that a gentleman’s name should not be split. If a lady has taken her husband’s surname, “John and Jane Hisname” is technically incorrect because it separates his first name from his surname. Obviously, this is based on the somewhat outdated notion that the name remains conceptually “his” and not “hers” even after marriage, as he is the one who brought the name into the coupling.

        • It’d weird me out putting his name second on any stationary when my beau and I end up getting married. It’s always been his then mine.

          We have friends with the same first names as ours that are married and the guy’s name is first there, too. Another friend his ex and current girlfriends names were second to his (and they’re from our circle of friends so they’re not strangers or anything where it’d make sense to prioritize). Then other people we know the girl’s name is always first. Even just duos of friends that hang out together, one name is always first.

          I’ve never been able to decide if it’s just habit or if certain names just sound better first/second.

      • I love the equality in this, but I am also painfully aware of how terrible it would sound if I did his name then mine (just phonetically) and I don’t think I could do that to myself. Our names sound wonderful together….just not his name then mine. I think he will shine through plenty in our wedding though. Im not the type to make it about me, and he’s not the type to get washed away just because I’m the bride.

    • They’re probably also eventually associated with the term “divorcee”. Glad to hear that you stood up to that corporate BS!

  4. Wow. I would’ve gone all Pretty Woman on them and walked by with registry information, or maybe walked in and said “Big mistake!”

    Also- I love your phrase “Husband of the Future”. Brilliant!

    • There’s still time to Pretty Woman these people.
      Vengeance: make a list of everything everyone bought for you AT THE OTHER STORE and send a grand total of $$ to the manager and corporate of the store, along with an explanation of what drove away your business. Wanna make change? Relate it back to dollar bills.

  5. Bed Bath and Beyond is gross anyway (assuming that’s what it was because of the impulse buy section and the confusing exits!)

    • Honestly, we had a surprisingly excellent experience at BB&B; I made it clear from the start that WE were getting married and that WE wanted to register for shiny things, and the associates were happy to work with us as a couple 🙂

      • I had a meh experience at BB&B. I looked at the registry after the consultant led me around and told me to get this and that and it was over $10,000. I whiddled it down to $5,000 though.

        • After the experience registering in store at our first retailer, I registered at BB&B online. Plus that way I didn’t even have to leave my office. 🙂

    • I also had a really good experience there. However, we went there during a “registration party”, and not only did they have experienced people assigned to each couple, but they had representatives from the companies of the products they were selling there; the kitched-aid lady and the i-robot lady were most helpful. I didn’t notice any sexism going on- in fact, I think my hubby picked out more stuff than I did, and the lady helping us never said “bride” once. We even stupidly showed up late to the party (time mix up that was our fault), and the lady stayed there until midnight with us. I wonder if this happened because the lady at the front just wasn’t trained on weddings? I mean, it was a stupid thing to do in general, but I bet it’s just one stupid employee- not a company wide policy. I am actually going tomorrow to a post-wedding party to buy some things off of our registry for 20% everything. Hooray! We have so many gift certificates we hae to use 🙂

  6. You guys are my freaking heroes. This cracked me up because I would do the same thing (including the high-five in the parking lot)! I loathe the idea of weddings being a girly to-do where only the women matter. It’s about joining TWO people, not one dragging the other into it.

    • He’s pretty solid at making up for my weak points and vice versa.
      That’s part of why it was such a big deal to us. He’s been a vital part of making this wedding happen from the invites to doing the math to figure out if we could have an extra hour for our reception. He was even vehemently opposed to having a groom’s cake because he didn’t want a “token” to symbolize his involvement in the wedding. He wanted credit for helping to make all of it happen!

  7. +10 for awesome response! Seriously, our future lifemates will be living in the same house – they have to have a say in what they’ll be using and looking at, too!

  8. Love this! I’m also very uncomfortable with the “it’s all about the bride” crap. Do I want my way? Of course! Do I want my way at the expense of Future Husband? No thanks.

    I love that you walked out. I love that you got stuck in the jungle of impulse buys (so something I’d do in a huff) and I love that you two high-fived in the parking lot. Way to be a team!

  9. That is such a sad experience but a superb response 🙂 Fiancé and I are always stressing that it’s OUR day and I don’t get why women allow their male partners to be sidelined.

  10. Ugh, gross. We went to talk to a woman about renting her event space for our reception. Everytime my husband asked a question (a well-informed, detailed question based on things we had discussed as priorities ahead of time), this woman would look me in the eye to answer. Several times, as an answer to my husband’s questions (such as, “Do you do standing cocktail tables, or regular height, dinner tables?” and “Can the deck be used as a dance floor?” and “How early that morning can we come in to decorate?”), this woman would look at me, wink and smile, and say “Oh, its all about what the bride wants!”.

    Needless to say, we went with the venue across the street that treated us both equally. Three years later, my brother is getting married, and his finance liked Venue A based on looks. When she went back with my brother they got the same treatment we did, so they’re not using them either!

    • We used the same litmus test when picking our venues. We ended up going with our reception venue because while my fiance was walking around the space and yelling back to me the many possibilities for our wedding, the consultant turned to me and said, “Wow. He looks really happy. It’s nice to see a groom so invested.”

      When we decide not to use a vendor because of their attitude or because we find something unsatisfactory, we try to communicate that to the venue when we inform them of our choice. It is never helpful to be rude about it; but it is important for businesses to know why they are losing revenue. A store or vendor has no incentive to change their behavior if they are unaware that it is a problem.

      tl;dr: Vote with your dollars but don’t forget to fill out the comment card!

    • “Everytime my husband asked a question, this woman would look me in the eye to answer.”

      Wow, it’s like car shopping in reverse.

  11. Thank you for this!
    My fiancé and I looked at a venue where the woman in charge constantly interrupted my fiancé and when he asked a question she would look at me and answer his questions. Needless to say we will not have our wedding/reception there!

  12. LOVE THIS!

    I just wish they had disclosed the name of the store so that we may be more wary.

    • If it’s a chain, it’s likely a phenomenon limited to one specific location in one city.

  13. Great post! With my business, I have a good number of grooms who are in charge of ordering the invitations. Vendors need to realize it’s not just brides and their moms planning the special day!

  14. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess the retailed was either …and beyond or … and things and the helpful positive one was Target. I always get trapped at the former by the throwback attitudes of their employees and their ‘impulse buy’ exit maze (why can’t I get through the right door!?!)and generally they’re typically built not terribly far from the latter who are known for their ease of registry and inclusiveness…but I could be wrong…

  15. I love this! I got this line from a bridal store I went in to when I was explaining the types of gowns my husband doesn’t like. The consultant said, “But it’s not his dress, or his day, really. All he has to do is show up.” Um, no. We were equal partners when planning our wedding, just like we are with everything. I asked her if she was being serious, and started looking up other places to find the dresses I was trying on right in front of her before leaving.

    • I had a similar experience – though my fiance doesn’t care a bout styles – I kept trying to picture us as a couple, and the big dress I might have looked great in would have overwhelmed him! I had a similar reaction of “but it’s YOUR day”

  16. Yes! We are a TEAM! It’s about BOTH of us. I hate when people say, “It’s the bride’s day”….yes, it is my day. But it’s also my FH’s day, my mom’s day, my dad’s day, his parent’s day, our friends’ day, and it’s our goshdarned dog’s day because his parents will finally be married…it’s a day for us AND everyone else who cares about us and is family to us.

  17. I do not find the retailer in fault here, in the sense that this “it’s all about the bride” culture is created by the brides themselves. I have done 450 weddings and have seen ample proof of it. I am not saying it is right, but that is how most of the society and brides see it.

    • I don’t know that anyone would argue with you, but when it comes to social trends like this, the only way to put a stop to them is to make it clear that not everyone is ok with the fact that “that’s how it is.”

      Because that’s just NOT how it is for many of us, and the more of us who make that clear to folks, the less likely it’ll be assumed that it is.

      • Well said Ariel!

        I understand your point Jeremy, that the manager likely didn’t come to the conclusion that it is all about the bride completely on her own and that various experiences she may have had could have contributed to her behavior. Society has a lot of widely held beliefs that are not positive or inclusive to various people, and I believe it is my job as a human being to question those things and to behave in ways I believe is right and decent to others, to the best of my ability, despite the fact that I may have many experiences with other people that are pulling me another way.

        Everyone (including the manager) has a choice in her or his behavior no matter what messages we get from society. I’m not remotely suggesting it always easy or that people/society won’t be resistant, just that we have the choice. The manager is in a position that puts her in contact with a lot of grooms and brides, which makes it possible for her to have a wider effect on people involved in the wedding industry than people who are not. Hopefully this experience will help her question how she treats the people she comes in contact going forward.

    • I see your point, Jeremy. There are A LOT of brides and families who feel that the wedding is just about the woman getting whatever she wants. I do not blame the manager for buying into that.
      What I do blame her for is ignoring a customer and continuing her dismissive behavior after being told that is was not ok at least twice in our interaction. Blowing off the wants and needs of your customer while they are standing in front of you telling you exactly what they expect is not only rude, it’s bad business.

    • Yeah, but there’s a pretty simple fix here: if the partner is *there in the room,* acknowledge them. If they’re not, or if you’re speaking with a bride-type-person via phone or e-mail, ask “So, to what extent is your partner (or anyone else) involved in the planning? I want to make sure everyone’s in the loop who needs to be.”

      In my case, the answer would be something like: “Well, my partner tends to process the decisions with me, so while I’m usually the one who’ll be getting back to you, it would be super helpful if you could cc him on everything so we don’t have to keep forwarding it back and forth.” Or “My friend/Wedding Ombudsperson is helping me coordinate food options, so I’d love it if you could loop her in.” Or “Actually, I give fewer than zero f*cks about cake, but it’s suuuuper important to my mom, so now that I’ve introduced you, I’d love it if you two could figure things out between you, and I’ll show up for whatever part of this process has to be done locally/in-person.”

      And a more WIC-traditional bride might say: “Oh, it’s my day, so I’m the one making all the decisions! He’ll show up and do as he’s told!” Or “Yeah, he doesn’t really care about the planning process as long as no one makes him wear a cummerbund, so other than that part, I’m the point person.” Or, I don’t know, whatever.

      The point is, you use your words, and then the potential client uses theirs, and the whole thing takes like ten seconds and helps you not be egregiously offensive. Kind of a win/win, I should think.

  18. Oh my, I would have done the exact same thing! We’ve had a few vendors look confused when my fiance expressed an opinion or asked a question about something, but nothing like this. Good for you and I hope the manager has learned a valuable lesson.

  19. Oh wow. Yeah, Fiancéface and I went to register at big chain store for one of our registries, and I was really put off by the registry manager’s attitude at first. I tried to make it clear from step one that it wasn’t all about me – in fact, the registry was more about Fiancéface, since he’s the one who does most of the cooking. To make things worse, we’re both extremely practical and want most of our registry gifts to be useful items, rather than fancy picture frames. After a few feeble attempts to convince us to look at crystal drinkware, she eventually got the picture and we wound up having a good deal of fun with her picking out tupperware, fans, and a good set of flatware that really won’t break.

    I would have preferred registering with smaller stores or online vendors, but FF and I both agreed that we needed to do at least one big box store for our families.

  20. I really enjoyed reading about how both of you stuck up for him and made it clear that the manager’s behavior was not an acceptable way to treat someone. I can be a bit introverted at times, so I loved how your responses were to immediately not put up with it at ALL, even if it could have felt a bit confrontational. If people continue to react like you both did, it can hopefully bring about positive changes leading to more inclusive behavior towards grooms.
    Also I want to add that I think this story speaks volumes for your relationship! While the situation itself came across as a negative experience in the store, it reads as a positive outcome for the way you two worked together as a team and were united in having each other’s backs (both from you standing up for him and him guiding you out of store).

  21. This is so brilliant. I’m always saying that people should stick up for themselves when this kind of treatment happens, but I totally found myself in a situation the other day where I could have, and should have, said something.

    FH and I got some professional photos done and were looking at the shots deciding which ones to take with the original consultant (not the guy who took the photos – who we got along with REALLY well). There were a few times where the consultant made (I assume what he thought were) amused comments about “who wore the pants” and when we ruled out photos that were taken of me leaning over FH because we just purely didn’t like them (they didn’t look natural at all), he made a jibe about “Yeah, don’t want photos on your wall that show who’s really in charge!).

    Both FH and I were really uncomfortable but neither of us said anything (or, to give ourselves credit, acknowledged what he had said). When we got home we KICKED ourselves that I didn’t address it right then in the moment, but I guess I still have an opportunity to provide some feedback… perhaps after we’ve received the photos we shelled out a ridiculous amount of money for.

  22. Such a shame… Luckily, when my FH and I went into BBB they treated both of us very nicely. I would have walked out too.

  23. This is especially hilarious to me because my FH is the one who’s put all the things on the registry (seriously, I think I have one thing on our registry). He’s the one who does all the cooking and stuff and knows what we need/want in the kitchen. If we’d gone to a place that treated him that way I expect we would have done much the same…!

  24. The brides day? Barf.

    What’s she going to do when a lesbian couple comes through the door?

    Or a gay couple?

    Or gender queer?

    I never felt it was MY day…in fact…my husband had more opinions on things we registered for, or how we decorated the reception than I did.

  25. The same happened to me when we registered for our baby at one store… so we went to another store… where the salesman successfully convinced my husband to baby wear a tickle me Elmo. 🙂 It sucks that a lot of the family milestones are geared towards the woman’s hopes and dreams and the guys are left out. You totally did the right thing!!!

  26. My HOT F and I went to a jewelry store to look for a ring for him. Within ten minutes, the saleswoman had turned the appointment around to try to find my ring rather than his. We looked at each other and rolled our eyes, then left. It was frustrating at the time, although I will say, mocking her rude behavior and stupidity has since become a high sport between the two of us. Imbeciles exist for a reason!

  27. Woah- good on you for standing up to that!

    We had a bad registry experience as well. The consultant kept saying “for younger couples we’d do it like this, but for you I suggest…” or “since you are an older couple, you might like…” and “brides often come in with their mothers but since you are more mature…” My HOT F and I are 26 and 25. Certainly not old by any stretch, and even if we were, why in the heck would you talk to customers that way! My HOT F finally said “how old do you think we are?” and the consultant apologized.

    Of course we live in an area where marriage at 19 is not uncommon. And we were both professionally dressed as we came in after work and he’s a lawyer and I’m an almost-lawyer. But still- not ok!

  28. My partner and I will possibly never get married (the main potential reasons are an Israeli passport one day and that button bouquet Offbeat Bride featured), in part because of these sorts of attitudes surrounding the whole wedding culture. I love so much about it but I find it difficult to deal with, for instance, women making “mere male” jokes about my partner. The world includes female serial killers, footballers and wrestlers and male (straight) fashion designers, homemakers and perfumeries, yet they still hold to these mutually sexist attitudes?

    But its really reassuring to read these sorts of accounts. Keep shaking their simply world views until the hidden spiders drop out. 🙂

  29. I’m so with you on this! It’s frustrating having to constantly correct people that it’s OUR day not MY day! I’ve gone to great lengths to make sure everything is equal. Sometimes his name is first, sometimes it’s mine. Some things he’s decided (and gets credit for), and some things I’ve done. We’ve got a plethora of entertainment in the evening too, all of which are 50% his influence and 50% mine. Our families are equal too. 50:50 on the guestlist, and nods to his grandma and my nan through vintage games they enjoyed in the 30’s. I think some people can take things too far and try to make it too much about the man. I get that they’re trying to make a point about it not being all about the woman, but where is the equality if the other gender simply gets preferential treatment?

  30. I love this! This gives me more confidence to stand up to people making the same kinds of comments/assumptions for our wedding.

  31. This is all so sad to me.

    I’m just now starting planning and I really hope my fiance doesn’t get pushed off to the side. I have a little more time than him and my parents are funding it, so I’m sure I’ll be doing more of the grunt work, but he wants and deserves a say in everything and deserves respect.

  32. This is excellent. Fortunately my male wedded-partner-to-be and I haven’t had this experience – when we registered, all three stores treated us equally. Since he is the cook, most of what we registered for was “his” stuff – so if anything, I felt like the tag along sometimes. We are, however, having trouble with bridal showers. One aunt flat out refused refused to include my partner or other men. It felt weird to be accepting all these kitchen items that my fiancé selected and pretending that they were “bridal” gifts.
    I have been putting my name first on invitations and other things. I didn’t realize it was tradition. I am doing it to assert my equality in this union – I am terrified of becoming Mrs. His-first-name His-last-name and want my own name to appear prominently throughout this process. Apparently, though, I am inadvertently subscribing to paternalistic traditions without knowing it!

  33. LOVE this! A few years ago when I was purchasing a new car I went to dealership with my partner at the time. The salesman would only look at/ask questions to my partner. After letting him know three times that I was purchasing the car for ME and that he should speak to me, he continued to talk to my partner….so I turned around and walked out of the dealership. No matter which role a person has in a relationship, BOTH members need to be acknowledged.

  34. Not quite the same thing, but here’s my off-putting vendor stories…

    There are two bridal shops in my town. One of which I’d been to and even tried on a dress – traditional white lacy thing, very nice, but at €800 with 50% off and a dirty hem? No thanks.

    The other one opened in the last six months. It’s mainly a menswear and suit shop, but it has a bridal section at the back. Being comfortable in jeans and a frock coat, I went in a few weeks ago on a day off to look at styles (I’ve already bought a dress but it needs a lot of alteration – but I am open to another one if the right jaw-dropper comes along). The salesman/manager/owner/only guy there was working on a computer at the register. I walk in, cheerfully saying hello as I remove my headphones.

    No response.

    As I walk past the counter, he mumbles a greeting. I walk into the bridal end, look around, inspect a few dresses closely.

    Not even a glance.

    I left without a word. Or any desire to send FH, bridesmaids, groomsmen, or sworn enemies there.

  35. Ok the picture made me laugh hysterically! Brought back some great memories!
    Sales clerk=super rude! ….but in my case the groom should be acknowledged but never allowed to carry the scanner gun!
    When we went to register my husband got a hold of the scanner while I was filling out the registry information (you know where this is going don’t you?) He and my son thought it would be great fun to run around scanning ridiculous items…like underwear warmers!(not kidding these exist) When I caught them he was like”come on honey no one would actually buy us this stuff!”
    Well guess what, everyone did! And turns out they were at it way longer than I thought!
    LOL we did get some pretty interesting gifts!

  36. I work in the wedding industry and most of my inquiries are from brides. My first question to them is usually who are you marrying because I feel it’s important to AT LEAST know the name of the other partner in the partnership. I had one bride snort / laugh at me and she sounded like she was thrown off by my question. I still dumbfounded by this response!

  37. My husband was working in France the whole time I was organising our wedding. Every time there was a decision to be made, I said I was gonna call or mail him so we could discuss it. There would be surprise in most people’s eyes. “You’re the bride, why don’t YOU decide?” “Wish MY fiancé had been out of the country so I could choose everything alone” etc etc. Sheesh.

  38. Good on you, girl! 🙂 Definitely the correct response to that kind of treatment. You and your hubby to be are awesome.

  39. Hell yes! curious as to what store it is. vote with your wallet (or the wallets of your friends).

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