Clothing Speaks

Friday, September 18, 2020 (Happy Rosh Hashanah!)

The studies of human communications reveal that 93% of how we communicate is nonverbal. This matches communication studies outcomes in my long ago college days. The ways humans communicate with other humans, and ways humans communicate with animals, keenly are interesting. Human physicality–an individual’s appearance, style, expression, and way of moving–says much more than words alone.

I amuse myself by people-watching while in my part-time job as a sample-server. These days we’re doing little sample-serving and so there’s space to observe shoppers. I work on trying to understand and put into a context what individuals seem to be communicating.

Most folks shopping in Costco wear masks and correctly. A portion though seem to defiantly question the existence of a real pandemic. These folks say aloud something like, “It’s a political ploy”. Ahead of this statement, I see that attitude coming. It’s suggested by their masks, set below their noses or hanging under their chins.

Many comments related to pandemic aren’t vocal. I like to read t-shirts. Many squarely hit on frustrations from physical distancing, shortages of supplies, and concerns about health, politics, and the economy. This t-shirt added it up: “I want to drink coffee, create stuff, and sleep.”

Some women shoppers young and old wear dresses or pants with variations of combat boots. It’s a look that suggests a self-bolstering in complex times. Male shoppers haven’t much changed their styles, many enjoy wearing messages that menace, like this one, “Ban idiots, not guns.” These days, however, men’s t-shirts may also comment at “a combat boots level”. Here are examples, “I need my space”, or “Bourbon and cigars”, or “What I have in my heart, I’ll take to my grave”.

Much is communicated nonverbally. Shoppers’ masks, clothing, tidiness, and ways of moving and looking around, reveal lots about individuals. We who work in the store don’t escape observation. Shoppers may pause to comment, “Aren’t you bored?” I quickly try to rearrange my posture and expression. Yep, sample-servers who aren’t serving samples can’t unendingly appear engaged.

Lots of new orders daily arrive for food demos, with producers accepting any arrangements possible in this pandemic environment. I’ll be there and standing in place, while also people-watching, t-shirt reading, and feeling grateful to have a paying job.

Dear Friends: It’s fun studying and trying to interpret non-verbal communications. Diana

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s