Appearance does matter, but so does attitude…

IT TURNS OUT what your mother always tells you is true: People judge you by your looks.

Just ask Shannon Nichols, a senior at Livermore’s Granada High School. Nichols, 18, recently tested that theory when she was applying for jobs.

Since Abercrombie would probably jump at the chance to hire the preppy-looking Nichols, she decided to test their tolerance for someone dressed as a goth. She sprayed her sandy brown hair black, layered on the heavy black eyeliner, added a fake lip ring and bared her jeweled navel.

Nichols’ Anglo poster girl pal Adams, 18, is a blue-eyed blond who looks like she just stepped out of an Abercrombie ad.

The two went to Pleasanton’s Stoneridge mall, Nichols in goth garb, Adams dressed in a jean skirt and red Abercrombie top. Adams entered the store first, followed a short time later by Nichols.

“The most dramatic was how the Abercrombie employees treated Sarah in comparison to how they treated me,” Nichols says. “As soon as she walked in, the cashier started talking to her and told her she could meet with the manager.”

Adams explained that she had no retail experience, and really no job experience. That didn’t matter, she was assured by a young man identifying himself as the store manager. In fact, she didn’t even have to fill out a job application, she just needed to come to a group interview being held in the next two weeks.

Nichols experienced a far different response from store employees, who basically made it clear: Don’t let the door hit you on your gothic backside on your way out.

There’s a big discussion going on about this on FARK, but I’m of two minds on this subject. On one hand, there’s no way in hell Nichols should have expected them to be willing to hire her. Presentation is part of a first impression, and such impressions do count.

On the other hand, if I had been a customer in the store when Nichols was in there, I would have walked out. I didn’t paste that part, but the clerk treated her extremely rudely despite Nichols being very polite. I don’t care if it’s a customer or an applicant: if you can’t treat someone with basic courtesy when they’re being courteous to you, then I have no desire to do business with you.

It’s kinda like that scene in Pretty Woman, where Julia Roberts’s character (in full prostitute gear) goes into this store and is trying to be very nice, but is told very rudely she isn’t welcome. She comes back in hours later much more well-dressed, and the clerks (not recognizing her) fall over themselves to try and help her. That’s when Julia’s character bluntly tells them that she was in earlier, and because of their attitude they lost a sale worth several thousand dollars.

The lesson to be learned here, kids? Attitude is a big part of one’s presentation, and it doesn’t help to mean to those who are trying to be courteous to you.