The Tequila Lady (Non-Fiction)

Written for my book, In Love With a Sailor + The Captain in Me, 2013-2014 © Karen Maeby

Since I reference the adult beverage more than once in my book, I felt that I needed to share a really funny story from my retail days about the Tequila lady.

It was midday on New Years Eve in 2005. Several customers had already come in after last minute New Years outfits, paid for their items and left. It was quiet for a few minutes until this lady presented herself outside the fitting room. 

She was blonde, aged somewhere between 20s and 30s. Her eyes burned holes in my body as she walked near me. She asked, “Does this look good on me?” 

Oh dear… That was the most dreaded question you had to answer while working in retail. Now, if it was a “yes”— it wouldn’t have been so bad. But, if it was a “no, no, no”—it was a “please don’t make me answer that question.” 

She had a black dressy top and a denim skirt on that didn’t even compliment her body at all. Taking that chance I might offend her, I told her the truth that it didn’t look good. 

“AND WHY NOT?” She demanded, as her jaw dropped to the floor.  

“I think you… just need a different shirt,” I told her, as I silently prayed she would go away. 

I felt like I was on a hidden camera show. As she continued to oddly stare at me for about what seemed like ten minutes, I sighed a huge sigh of relief when she finally walked away. As soon as I turned around to walk back to the cash register, the other employees were near me, looking and grinning from what they had seen. 

As she walked out of the fitting room, she asked, “Does this look better?” 

I turned around to get support from my coworkers and every single one of them split! I slowly turned back around to her and said, “Yes… it looks…better.” Honestly, it did look better than the other shirt. 

After she had another battle of the shocked deer-in-the-headlights look, she walked back to the fitting room to gather up her original clothes and walked up front to check out at the register. 

This time? I stared at her. 

“Ma’am.. you’re going to have to put your original clothes back on.” 

“What do you mean, you can’t check me out when I’m wearing these clothes?” 


“You mean to tell me you can’t get these tags off with me wearing them?” She asked, as she proceeded to put her leg up on the counter, displaying the tags. 


As she walked off, I held back what would have been the loudest laugh in the world. 

Minutes later, she arrived back at the register with her original clothes, and handed me the ones she was buying. 

The lady and I talked while I rung her up. She told me that she wanted the new clothes for when she went out that night for New Years. She paid for her clothes, then looked around as if she misplaced something. 

Oh, and she did. 

Just as serious as could be, she asked me, “Where are my clothes?” 

I looked at her and she looked down. “OH! I’ve got them on!” Then she quickly walked off towards our bathroom to change into her new clothes. 

When she officially left the store, I finally had the chance to laugh. Tears were POURING out of my eyes I was laughing so hard! Oh my, amazing. That was such an amazing moment. My manager who had seen and heard the entire conversation was laughing just as hard as I.

For days, I told and retold this story to the coworkers who had missed it. 

It definitely brought a whole new meaning to the lyrics of the song “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” I still haven’t forgotten the story and every time I hear it (even years later), I grin as I remember the Tequila lady. 

2019 UPDATE: I don’t hear this song very often, but when I do, I still think of this story. Last year when I went back home, I visited with someone who used to work with me there, and I brought up the Tequila Woman and we laughed like it happened yesterday. It was too bad she didn’t see that. In 2016 or 2017, I wrote a short play about this, but it turned out terrible….so I am in the process of converting it into a musical.

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