Every once in a while I’ll receive a message from a reader about a bad experience in a luxury shop – the snooty salesperson, the uncaring manager, the security guard who follows you around like a hound dog while you simply browse. Its always disappointing to hear these anecdotes – while one can find bad service at any type of store – discount to luxury – with a higher price tag usually comes some expectation of service.
I’ve written a little bit about my own great and not-so-great experiences shopping in department stores, and today I thought I’d share a few stories from two readers – Belle and Rosita – who were kind enough to relay their own experiences at luxury boutiques. Both of these women are seasoned luxury consumers, who regularly travel to and shop all over the world, so I was eager to hear their stories. I thought these shopping snippets were fascinating (and sometimes hilarious), and I hope you do too. I’d also love to hear any of your surprising customer service experiences with luxury brands!
Rosita’s Story #1: Throwing Off Inventory
Store: Goyard – Printemps , Paris
In Saturday, April 18, 2015 I visited the Goyard boutique in Printemps Paris and met with the Manager Willem. I purchased two Senat PM pouches, one black, one blue. I also purchased a St. Louis PM and had it customized. I paid for these items in two separate transactions, because I was leaving with the Senat but the tote would be shipped to me in the US when completed. On Saturday evening when I was compiling my detax forms, I noticed that I was charged the same price for both the Black and the Blue Senat, whereas the Black was supposed to be €120 less that the blue. I was flying out on Sunday morning so I did not contact Willem until Monday morning from the US. Willem said, “Yes, I remember you and I did realize the mistake at the end of the day, I threw off my inventory.”
So I asked if he could credit my Amex? No, he could not. Could he send me another color one and charge me the black price? No, he could not. He did suggest I give my credit card to a friend who might be coming to Paris in the next week so he could do a credit since he needed the physical card in order to a refund. I asked if I could have a credit on account since I would be back in a few months, no, I could not, was his response. He had no resolution and acted like it was no big deal.
In October 2015, I again visited the Goyard boutique in Printemps Paris. Willem was out to lunch but when I spoke to another sales associate and told him about the experience in April, he said, “Yes, I remember, it threw off our inventory!” I asked if I could possibly have an adjustment to the St Louis GM I was about to purchase and he responded “No, that would throw off the inventory”. I Hope you are laughing about now, because I can’t stop every time I tell this story.
Rosita’s Story #2: The Mission Socks:
Store: Tabio – Paris
On this same October 2015 trip, I visited Tabio (a Japanese hosiery shop with 3 locations in Paris), as I always buy my daughter socks when I visit Paris. I purchased three pairs of socks and another six pairs of foot socks. This was on a Thursday evening; I left Paris early Friday morning. When I arrived home on Friday evening, I unpacked and could only find two pairs of socks and the six foot socks, 1one pair was missing. I checked my receipt and I was charged for three pairs.
On Saturday morning I called the store and was told, yes, we have your socks, the associate forgot to put them in your bag; we found them at the counter at the end of the day. I asked if they could send them to me and they said they would have to charge €24 for shipping. The socks cost €28.00. The associate asked me to send them an email with a copy of the receipt attached, as their customer service department would have to arrange for the shipping and payment. Since the next day I found out that friend was going to Paris that week, I asked him to pick the socks up for me. I called Tabio and informed them that he would be coming with the receipt to pick up the socks. The socks were brought back by my friend. When speaking to these salespeople at the time, I just got a sense like they did not feel obliged to accommodate me even though they were 100% at fault.
Katherine’s follow up: Will you shop again at Goyard and Tabio?
I did shop again at Goyard and will shop again at Tabio. I was back in Paris in March 2016 and I did not visit either store but probably because I was just didn’t have time. I have come to accept the French and their indifference…