For Display Purposes Only


By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin

The other day I was in a clothing store, loving all the new spring fashions. Totally my season! I noticed an adorable shirt on a mannequin. I wanted to try it on. I checked the stock of shirts to find my size. None to be found. So, I asked the salesperson to check the size of the shirt on the mannequin as I was certain it might be my size. She told me that she can’t remove any clothing from the mannequins as it was “for display purposes only”.

Seriously???   Ah yes, seriously! The clothing on the mannequins was not for sale.

The salesperson suggested that I buy the shirt at their on-line store. But…I was already in the store and what difference would it have been if she gave me the shirt from the mannequin and replaced it with another shirt from the stock? I suppose my money wasn’t worth the effort to undress and redress the mannequin. Perhaps it was store policy – which is dumb considering the fact their business is to sell clothing.  No?

So I left the store and they lost that sale. I’m not interested in buying the shirt on-line and pay the additional shipping fees when I was clearly in the store, willing to try it on and perhaps purchase it.


This got me thinking of the term, “For Display Purposes Only”. I understand the term for things that are sort of permanent display objects like furniture and appliances. In the IKEA store everything is on display as a sample and from this you make your selection. If you want to buy a table, you simply take down the display table code and then retrieve the item from the warehouse.Suzanne Reisler Litwin, Keeping it Real, Rhonda Massad, West Island Blog

A shirt on the mannequin! How is this a permanent display fixture? I’m SO over the shirt now.

This past weekend I was surrounded by women wearing gorgeous high heal shoes.  I commented on one particular friend’s shoes. “How do you manage to spend all night walking and standing in those shoes? They are stunningly high!”  Her response was interesting. “I don’t!  My husband drives me to the front door of the restaurant.  I walk from the car to my table seat.  I SIT wearing them.  Then my husband picks me up at the front door again and I walk to the car.  Voila! ”

So here comes my questions:

So… you really don’t wear them as a functional shoe? Are these shoes for display purposes only? Were those shoes bought with the intent to be seen in rather than worn in? And you paid WHAT for them? Are they safely stored in a special box? Can we call them your SITTING shoes?

Actually, those shoes were more a work of art rather than a shoe with a simple function.

Every once in a while I like to indulge myself in a special purchase.  I can’t resist certain things like antiques and art – in any form (even shoes).  The antiques I usually buy have little function.  In most cases, I just like to look at them and understand their history.  Unfortunately, I don’t have much display space in my home for all the antiques I have.  So they get circulated.  These items are definitely for display purposes only, for fear they might crack or chip and lose their value.

I also love to in indulge in beautiful lingerie, which I definitely consider a form of art.  I usually don’t need any.  I just can’t resist the way it’s crafted and how it makes me feel.  I go to a wonderful store which specializes in just what fits me and what I love.  Every now and then, the store owner calls me and tells me she just received something incredible that she knows I will love. 

So, last week I dropped by to see her latest spring collection.  The four changing rooms in the store are right next to each other.  When trying on clothing, you can’t see anyone, but you can hear their conversation.  The woman next to me was saying how she loved the stunning bra she was trying on, however, it wasn’t very comfortable and she didn’t think she could wear it all day.  The sales girl suggested, “Perhaps you would consider wearing it for display purposes only.” When I heard that, I started to laugh out loud and nearly collapsed in my neighboring changing room.  Will this woman display her purposes only?  Hee, hee, I’m still laughing.  What a concept!

Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column. 

She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper.   She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real.  Please visit her website  to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.


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