I recently sat down with friends for lunch, most of whom are in luxury retail. We got on the subject of this past holiday season, and what it was like- busy, good customers, making money, etc. But what dominated the conversation was actually the topic of the “customers”. Now to clarify, there are “Clients”: (those who are repeat shoppers who work one-on-one with their Sales Associate, and generally spend more money than the average shopper- THEY ARE GOOD!). The “customers” are the “one-time-buyer”, who is NOT (yet, or ever will be) a client, and usually shopping in a place CLEARLY out of their league. Some of these stories I heard made me realize that: A) there are some REALLY stupid people out there, B) the English language & grammar is finished (as we know it); C) LuAnn De Lesseps song sings true: “Money Can’t Buy You Class”.
Story 1- STUPID PEOPLE
A woman came into a Luxury store, looked at some men’s loafers, and asked the Salesperson, “it says (brand) here, but it doesn’t say “made-in-Italy” anywhere”. The Salesperson replied, “yes, you’re right. Actually none of the Men’s shoes say that.” She replied, “But some of the Women’s do?”. The salesperson responded, “correct, some of the Women’s Collection Shoes do say it.” She takes a moment to think about it, then says,” well…. are these… copies?” (REALLY LADY??!?!?!?!!? You’re IN the ACTUAL STORE and you’re asking if they are REAL?!?!?!?!) The Salesperson said, “Excuse me, you are in a (brand) store- we don’t sell copies.” DAMN GOOD ANSWER! Tell her to GET OUT!) Another friend said that if it were him, he would have loved to mock her, and say, “oh yes, these are copies. We have such a high demand, that we can’t make enough; so we get copies made in China and sell them under our own roof.” (GOD, I WISH I COULD HAVE SEEN THAT HAPPEN).
Story 1.5 (more stupidity)
A woman comes into a Luxury store’s shoe department. She asks,”are you having sale?” Salesperson says, “yes, all sale shoes are in this section here.” The customer walks over to a completely different shoe section and asks, “are these on sale?” Sales associate, “No, only these shoes here.” (pointing back to the sale section just shown). Customer asks, “So these aren’t on sale then?” ( NO !!!! THOSE AREN’T ON SALE!!! OTHERWISE THEY’D BE IN THE SALE AREA!!!!!)
PART 2- THE END OF PROPER GRAMMAR (… and more Stupidity)
A woman walks in to a luxury store, and says,” you don’t got any red bags?” THE CORRECT QUESTION WOULD BE, “Do you have any red bags?”.
Person walks into a luxury store. Salesperson greets with a smile and says, “Hello!” Customer responds with, “I’m just looking.” My favorite Salesperson response to that? Salesperson, “and I’m just saying hello…”
A man picks up a black display shoe and asks,”what color is this?” The salesperson responds, “It’s Black”. The customer says, “Is it? It looks Navy. Are you sure it’s not Navy?” The Sales Associate (WHO KNOWS WHAT COLOR IT IS- HI, THEY WORK THERE) responds, “Yes, I’m sure. It only comes in Black”. The Customer: “Oh yeah, it is. I’m looking for black, just wanted to make sure.” Then a pause, “You don’t have this in Navy?” (NO THEY DON’T HAVE IT IN NAVY!!!!!) Salesperson says, “no, like I said, it only comes in black.” Customer asks, “you don’t have my size?” Sales associate says, ” I don’t know, you haven’t told me your size.” (THESE “CUSTOMERS” ARE SO STUPID!!!!) Then the customer asks, “well, what size is this?” The salesperson takes shoe, looks at size, and replies, “It is an 8”. The Customer says, “that’s not my size”. Associate has to ask, “well, what size do you want?” The customer answers, “I need a 10”. (DUH YOU F***ING IDIOT!!!!!!! JUST TELL THE SALESPERSON WHAT SIZE YOU WANT IN WHAT SHOE!!!!!!!! IT’S ACTUALLY VERY EASY!!!!! ALL THAT STUPID CONVERSATION FOR NOTHING!!!!!)
Woman walks in to luxury store, asks, “Where are your wallets?” Salesperson replies, “They are in all the cases here. Are you looking for a specific color?” Customer answers, “no, just looking…. can I see this black one?” Salesperson shows it to her. Customer asks, “what other colors does it come in?” Salesperson responds, “grey and blue.” The customer asks, “you don’t have it in pink?” (IF SHE HAD IT IN PINK, DON’T YOU THINK SHE WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU??????) Customer then says,” I really want a bright color wallet.” (THEN WHAT ARE YOU DOING LOOKING AT A BLACK WALLET??? THE SALESPERSON ASKED IF YOU WERE LOOKING FOR A PARTICULAR COLOR!!!!)
When people ask, “you don’t have this..?.” , or “you don’t “got” this..?”, (GROSS) or “you don’t carry…?” ALREADY SETS THE TONE in a NEGATIVE manner, and having the salesperson NOT want to help you. (ie: you are “setting self up for confirmation of disappointment and failure”). The correct way to ask for something would be, “DO you have this…?” or, “DO you carry…?” Asking in a positive manner would be more engaging in having the Salesperson WANTING to help you!
PART 3- “Money Can’t Buy You Class”
This last part will probably anger people, but hey- I’m writing what I see and hear.
Recently, during my shopping excursions/outings/researching, I have noticed more and more….how shall I put this…. “conflicting demographics” in luxury stores. On one side of the boutique is an upscale Jewish family, wife carrying a $12,000 Hermes; while on the other side is a bunch of “rapper wannabes” (Not an actual real successful rapper), with their pants hanging below their butts, underwear in complete exposure, Gucci belt, shoes; and smelling of marijuana. Or a young Korean couple shopping, the lady done up in a Chanel jacket, jeans, and Louboutins; while a group of Middle Americans, overweight with dyed hair, piercings, (and clearly a decade behind in fashion), wander through the store, saying,” this store is so expensive, look how much this is, lets try things on”.
While there is a part of me that believes, “everyone is created equal”, … that’s where it stops. Created. Everyone WAS created equally- It’s what people have BECOME, what they have MADE OF THEMSELVES, how they REPRESENT THEMSELVES, that make me think they are not “equal”. Imagine you have gone through college, earned degrees, finally made a name for yourself, and can create a lifestyle you can afford. Like the Jewish/Hermes bag-woman, and the Korean couple: they have clearly made their mark, paid their dues, worked hard to get the things they want, or have inheirited a lifestyle that continues to involve themselves in a surrounding they appreciate and respect.
On the other hand, everyone can aspire to be someone, or be a better person, or want the “finer things in life” right? But how are we to take them seriously when they represent themselves in a place where, what they represent, does not in fact, belong? I can imagine a whole bunch of people telling me I’m too judgmental, racist, stuck up, etc. Try this: the “rapper wannabes” I used for example? When I see this, I think, “What would Barack and Michelle Obama think? Or Oprah? They don’t dress like this. Would they be saddened to see their fellow race representing themselves like this? Or do you think they would embrace the culture and think nothing of it?” I believe they would feel embarrassed, JUST the SAME way I WOULD , when those “Middle Americans” represent themselves the way they do, and people would think to put ME in that same category.
Luxury isn’t Luxury when the co-habitat of different groups of people are all of a sudden “fish-bowled”. It isn’t meant to be, for these groups to be shopping under the same roof together. Think of their living situations- Do they live in the same neighborhoods? NO. Do they eat at the same restaurants? NO.
Luxury is not luxury when anyone can just go in and buy it. You have to EARN IT, and RESPECT IT.