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“What The Eff?” Wednesday: Ross Dress for Less

28 January 2009 11 Comments

I shop at discount stores all the time – Marshalls, holla! T.J. Maxx represent! But I have been a little perplexed about my love for Ross Dress For Less because it just may be the worst retail store in the United States yet I still shop there on the regular. This week, I’d like to take some time exploring my inexplicable adoration for this store.

The Staff

I have been to numerous Ross stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and the quality of the staff has been consistently terrible. The cashiers are usually rude and exceptionally unattractive. I swear I’ve never seen as many bad weaves outside of the hood as at Ross, except for maybe at the airport. The staff is not at all helpful when you’re looking for something and usually don’t announce when they’re about to take a break, which means that just when you think you’re about to be at the front of the line you’re suddenly told to get to the end of another one. I have been pushed aside by Ross shelf-stockers when looking for something in their section, and I have had a Ross staffer with a suspiciously similar body-type as yours truly swipe my clothes off of the fitting room rack to keep for herself, I just couldn’t prove it. On the day after the election, some African lady was all heated because she was being accused of having cut the line. This black cashier said to anyone listening “We got a black president and this mess is still goin’ on?!” The whole place turned into a brouhaha. No one who works there wants to work there, and it shows.

The Shopping Experience


Ross just started taking layaway again, and the last time I was in the store a lady was complaining to customer service because although she’d put money down on some items, there was no record of her deposit and the items were gone. There are dust bunnies EVERYWHERE in this store, and the dressing room is off the chain. Seriously, if you ever wanted to go into business selling broken hangers, bent pins, and plastic clips, just check out a Ross fitting room and you’ll have enough inventory to get rich. The bathroom is hit or miss, of course, as the sign above suggests. That is the sign on the outside of the bathroom at the Mercer Mall store. Once again, someone has taken the time to type a ridiculous passive aggressive notice filled with errors and unnecessary quotation marks! Of course the bathroom was smelling like hot garbage when I walked in, and of course the lady coming in after me thought I was the one who’d blown it up. Typical!

The Merchandise


There is some great stuff at Ross but you have to watch your back big time. It’s not as bad as the notorious Jomar where my dad once bought a pair of warm-up pants with a glue-trap attached to one of the legs, but some of the clothes seem used or already worn. I once bought a box of ceramic bowls from Ross and although I checked each piece before buying the set, just as fast as the ride home two of them crumbled to smithereens right before my eyes. I’ve purchased “brand name” items from this store, only to get home and realize that they were clever imitations of real brands, with mock logos and all. The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in a store was the “Shorty” cup pictured above. I SWEAR that I saw this in a real Ross, it was just before my WWTD days so I didn’t think to take a photograph of it, but this is the exact same one. At the time, I turned to another shopper to point out it’s ridiculousness but she didn’t seem too disturbed. I think she only thought a $15 bedazzled Pimp Cup with the word “Shorty” on it was absurd only because it was a plastic pimp cup with fake jewels. The shopper clientele at Ross is top-notch!

My Conclusion

Why did I really write this post? Well, my birthday dinner is on Friday and I need a new dress. I went to TJ Maxx and they had nothing. Marshall’s had nothing. Even in a fancy fly move I went to Macy’s and they had nothing. But when I went to Ross I found 3 dresses under $20, each of them cute. Yeah one had some deoderant on it, and the other had a dust bunny attached, but they were really cute little no name items. I furnished my bathroom and kitchen with Ross stuff. They have a liberal return policy and we’re in a recession. Call me tacky if you like, but I will contiinue to brave the wilds of Ross Dress for Less for my bargains!


  • [fung'ke] [blak] [chik] said:

    Get out of my head!

    I was just at Ross on Saturday, and I swear, every dress that I wanted to buy had a foot print, make-up or deodorant on it or was ripped! I don’t even bother going to the bra/panty section out of fears that someone has probably tried them on and put them back on the rack.

    So I headed to Marshalls, and found a few dresses, but of course they weren’t “less”.

  • Phil said:

    lol @ the glue trap stuck to one leg. That’s gotta be good for 10 or 15 percent off. It’s all about irregular Polo gear from Marshall’s though.

  • Lola said:

    We don’t have Ross stores here, but I’ve heard good things about them. So I hit up one on the Las Vegas strip a few years ago…it was everything you mentioned above, well maybe not that bad. However, it was dim and dingy and was not comparable to TJMaxx and Marshalls here at home.

  • Sabrina said:

    I thought that these things happened at the Ross here because I’m in the South….and I saw that cup at the Ross down the street from my house last week!

  • Boris said:

    “We got a black president and this mess is still goin’ on?!”
    hahaha that had me on the floor
    did she reeeally say that

    i work in what would be the equivelant of Ross over here in england except we sell just clothes. im a poor uni student and so the store is a Mecca. i dont go to expensive stores much just like u too but ‘cheap’ stores do sell some fly shit, u ALWAYS find some jems……shout out to my £20 fake leather plastic jacket. but our store doesnt have rude employees tho its just too laid back. like we lean on things and dont do shit.

  • jazzfan360 said:

    Oh…my god. I will never complain about Value City again. I have a whole new appreciation and respect.

    That bathroom sign filled me with a rage I rarely experience.

  • yamma said:

    I went to Ross in Salt Lake City near the church and it was clean, well stocked and beautiful! I commented on the pleasantness on my way out to the cashier and she looked at me like I was crazy. Those Mormons are some tidy folks.

    When I got back home to Denver, I was still all dreamy about my previous visit and had a heart full of hope for my local Ross. When I got there I saw that the front door had been shattered by a random thug, and you could hear the manager shouting at customers over the loud speaker. Needless to say, I didn’t shop there.

  • Jean said:

    Ross is a disrespecter of their employees over 60. They make up any ol crap they can to get rid of them. Wonder what will happen to the management when they get over 60? The chopping block my friend. There is a particular District Manager in Dallas … thinks he’s cock of the walk. Likes to take his prejudice out on older women employees. Anyone upset other than me? How do I have this info? Well, there are lots of employees that have many tales to tell.

  • frannie said:

    i actually have a ross in my home town and it is my favorite store! it actually all depends on where you live, because the dresses i get from my ross store is the cheapest and prettiest dresses i could ever ask for.

  • me said:

    hi, i have a ross that i can actually walk to, we live just inside the border of really nice suburbs and the gritty city. it’s incredible addicting. my latest finds are: just tonight, a gorgeous black “Laundry” evening gown for $50 in size 0 that retails for $295. it is incredible and i do have to get it shortened (i’m petite) but it will be well worth it. i’ve also gotten 3 calvin klein dresses, each for $50, one elegant grey one for work that people drooled over and 2 for going out, one in black one in blue. i got a “Marilyn Monroe” bustier that also slims me and that’s why i went back tonight, to try and find another one but didn’t find one and instead got other amazing camisoles. Also tonight found some BCBG awesome jersey tops that retail for $39, for $9.99. Have found tons of cute clothes for my girls and my son, got him Ralph Lauren shorts that are really cute and unique. Great housewares dept., tons of baskets and Ralph Lauren towels, and tonight I also got new chair pads for $5.99 each that are adorable. Ok, I spend a lot of $ each time I go there, and you have to return things immediately if you don’t have the receipt, otherwise things get marked down…and the store IS disorganized and dirty, but it’s totally worth it. Not a great place to take kids because I worry about them there, it’s a little bit trashy, so I only bring them when I absolutely have to and always during the day. I always find something great for $2.99 and $3.99. There’s also a TJ Maxx about a block away but they are more expensive, I shop both and TJ Maxx is much easier with returns (they don’t mark down) but Ross always has amazing finds. Great toys/presents for the kids’ friends. Great designer stuff, I have a closet stuffed with designer things from there. I got an adorable Maxx Studio top there that everyone compliments me on. Great Levis for $4.99, no joke, that’s like free. Oh and a pimp cup that says “Playa,” for Halloween and gags. You do have to search thru racks, stuff is never put back, the staff is not very pleasant usually and uneducated, but it’s totally worth it. Even if I were a billionaire I would still shop there (kinda sad, I know)….but I love finding a bargain, it’s fun! You gotta go…

  • me said:

    I meant to say, I did get one of the pimp cups the reviewer was laughing over, and my husband was like “what are you going to do with that??” I was going to give it to our only remaining single guy friend but now my husband thinks it’s a riot, and I can’t find the receipt, so it stays with us…one tip I have is, ask the staff to staple the receipt to the tag of something you’re not sure about/might be returning. It might cause a mini riot at the register because people get very impatient if there’s a line, also a lot of times they separate people into “credit only” and “cash only” etc with no explanation, but still…oh I’ve gotten some great luggage. Oh and none of my designer items are fake, I used to work in fashion and I can tell…at least not the Calvin Klein, Laundry, Maxx Studio, BCBG Generation, Ralph Lauren, clothes…the fluffy white Ralph Lauren towels I’ve gotten are super soft and awesome. If stuff is dirty and you’re sure you want it, they will take off 10%. I think trucks deliver at least twice a week so there’s always new stuff (addicting…). Got an Ed Hardy clock for $10 that retails for $30 on the internet, exact same one….ok to bed now! Hope this helped

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