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Try shoes on in the store, then buy them on-line?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
How do the bargain seekers who purchase shoes online deal with the conundrum of needing to try the product on before buying? I ask because I have ordered Alfred Sargents, Trickers, and Aldens on-line, each without having tried the particular model on. I guessed on the Sargents and Trickers. I tried the Aldens on at a store, but was relieved when they didn't have the E width that I knew would be more suitable than the D that I tried on. I am considering purchasing a few pair of Crockett and Jones, and of Edward Greens. I faxed C&J an outline of my foot, and recieved a size recommendation. Going directly to the source doesn't give my conscious any twinge because I assume that whatever retailer I purchase from, the manufacturer makes a sale. This weekend, I am thinking of visiting the Green boutique. Does anyone feel guilty taking the time of a clerk to check shoe fitting, all the while planning to purchase the same model on line for significantly less than the retail price? For shirts, Malloy in _Dress for Success_ recommends buying the first high end shirt from a high end store, then (if absoloutely necessary) returning it the next day. I would be particularly interested in the comments from current and former sales people. Bic
post #2 of 13
I personally won't do it, and find it a bit cheesy.  Retailers that charge retail or close to it have the costs of the store front, inventory, (presumably) knowledgable sales staff, etc.  For somebody to go in and tie up a sales person knowing full well they're not going to buy anything is wrong. Included in the price of the retailers shoes is the service, and in this scenario you're essentially stealing (perhaps "taking advantage of" is gentler) that service. If you're not willing pay the premium, then order from your discount source, and if it doesn't work out you eat the cost of shipping them back. my 2 cents at no charge today, /richard
post #3 of 13
I did this, and I'm not ashamed of it. Of course, it took me 15 minutes, and I left the store with the non-commital reply of "I'll think about it." Oh, and this store carried shoes that run around $200. I got the same pair for $70, online. Of course, I wouldn't spend two hours in the store browsing around and taking up the time of the staff with my demands. I much rather prefer a fast, do-it-myself approach to trying on shoes when I know I won't be buying them there. Of course, if the staff offers me their help and snags onto me like remoras on a shark (they do that here in Korea), it's not my fault.
post #4 of 13
some arrogant schmuck came into my shop recently and was banging up my shoes while telling me how I should be pleased to offer him the same price as the defective ones on a web site - it's ashame how sometimes the manufacturers leave a tack in the shoe
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the comment Rider. (If you are the same "Rider" that posted in the other forum I posted this topic in, I now understand your comment.) With the Aldens, it was my full intent to buy my first pair at the shop. But the salesman admitted that they only carried D widths, and it was clear that the E was the proper one for me. With C&J's, I tried on several pair at the New Year's sale. There were nearly no sales people, just all of last year's stock on the shelves. Had the price (and fit) been right, I would have bought a pair of the samples on offer. I have gone to a very large boutique to see the color of a particular pair of Albert Thurston boxcloth braces, then ordered them online. Would you put this in the same category as trying on shoes with no intent to purchase? Bic
post #6 of 13
No, taking someones time is the issue with shoes and tailored clothing. In a commissioned store, like Nordstrom for example, the salespeople work on an UP list. If there are 8 salespeople, they work in order of a list, not all at one time. If the day is slow, one might only see 2 customers unless he has personal trade come in. If one of those customers takes his time with no intention of buying, he has taken half of his earning potential for the day. In a case like mine, where I do all the fittings for our salespeople/shop, it is just plain rude to take a chair for a fitting and waste my time and take time away from a legitimate customer. I agree that if you require no assistance, you owe no allegiance to the shop.
post #7 of 13
In the days before e-commerce, this question was so much simpler to answer. No one who went into a store was a waste of a salesperson's time. Even if the person could not afford anything during a particular visit, the salesperson could look at his or her time spent as an investment in a future customer, or at very least, good P.R. Frequent window shoppers are enthusiastic shoppers, generally, and can spread the good or bad name of a store. I think that it is still generally the case that a salesperson's time is still generally well spent with anyone who is interested enough to walk into the store (especially a high end, luxury good store.) It is the courteous thing for a customer to tell the salesperson if they are not at all interested in buying something, but would like to use the store's services nonetheless. On the other hand, I don't think that, except under extenuating circumstances, the salesperson's time is wasted, if just for the goodwill engendered.
post #8 of 13
i want to agree with la guy on this, but the fact is that there is usually some deception involved. not many people will go into a shoe store and announce to the staff that they merely want to find their correct size in a given model so they can order it on-line. it's an issue that goes way beyond clothing. one example is people going to stores to see the latest electronics, play with them, ask about features, ask the salesperson to make recommendations, and then going home and looking for the lowest price on the internet. i've been buying a lot of photographic equipment lately and it was a no-brainer for me to buy everything on-line, where the prices are 20% lower. i didn't go to any camera shops pretending to be a potential customer because i knew that if the items turned out to be not exactly what i needed, i could simply return them. on the other hand, they say that it's a good practice to spend your money where you plan to make it. in other words it's best to spend (invest) money in your own neighborhood or city rather than sending your cash overseas. i like to follow this practice if the price is at least close.
post #9 of 13
When I go into retail shoe departments, I am very upfront with the salesmen. I tell them that I collect shoes, but that I am not wealthy and that I buy only on sale, so they should give their other customers priority over me. And I don't get impatient if it takes them a while to answer my questions.  Generally they understand, and are very courteous and helpful. I don't make a practice of trying on shoes in stores and buying online (I just buy the shoes, and resell them if they do not fit.) I would probably do it if I needed to, but would not leave the store without buying something to make up for their time. In a shoe store? At least stock up on polish and polishing cloths, buy some shoe trees, that sort of thing.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Retailers that charge retail or close to it have the costs of the store front, inventory, (presumably) knowledgable sales staff, etc.
This really isn't the consumer's problem or concern, and it's hardly a justification for paying fool, er, full price. Retailers have other options (channels) for selling clothes and shoes than investing in an expensive store front, sales staff, etc. That they choose to do so in the reality of today's marketplace is the the risk they elect to take. Guilting people into making purchases from a store front is not a sound business strategy in the long run. The consumer has only limited financial resources -- price vs. value will always play a role in the purchase decision-making process. It's tough to compete against eBay, IMHO.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
It's tough to compete against eBay, IMHO.
For some things, yes. For shoes (or, at least, the shoes that I want to buy), no. Months sometimes pass between instances of auctions for shoes in my size from manufacturers that I'm interested in. Other resources offer more selection and less frustration, albeit at a higher price. To answer the original question, I'm sensitive to price, but I am willing to pay for good service and good selection. I don't feel obligated to buy something from someone who provides me service, but I'm not going to waste somebody's time when I have utterly no intention of buying from them.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
When I go into retail shoe departments, I am very upfront with the salesmen. I tell them that I collect shoes, but that I am not wealthy and that I buy only on sale, so they should give their other customers priority over me.
I generally do the same sort of thing, both with shoes and with clothing. One of my favorite shoemongers likes me (I think) because I'm a consistent customer and because I don't mind at all browsing stock, flipping through leather swatches, or looking at digital pictures of the special orders that he's done by myself when there are other customers in the store. And if I want his undivided attention, I go when the store is likely to be dead. Show consideration and you get consideration.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
For some things, yes. For shoes (or, at least, the shoes that I want to buy), no. Months sometimes pass between instances of auctions for shoes in my size from manufacturers that I'm interested in. Other resources offer more selection and less frustration, albeit at a higher price
I'll second this. I run an ebay search for shoes every day (it doesn't take that long) and I can't remember the last time I was outbid on a pair I was interested in. Yet, at the end of the year, I'm probably only 5 pairs richer. I buy more than that but a lot of them don't fit and I have to resell them. It doesn't make any sense as your primary source for high-end shoes, unless you love the thrill of the chase like I do. Ebay sellers certainly are not competing with retail stores.
Quote:
On the other hand, I don't think that, except under extenuating circumstances, the salesperson's time is wasted, if just for the goodwill engendered.
They will get you in the end. For instance, I went into Wilkes Bashford last year intending only to scout it out as a potential future sale point for Vass. I walked out $300 lighter and one pair of Mantellassi's heavier. I didn't expect them to have the exact shoe I was looking for, on sale for 50% off.
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