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Small boutiques... (a short rant)

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I've been amazed, yet again, by the terrible attitude exhibited by people working at small boutiques. I walked in to one recently, just shopping the summer sales, and the first thing out of the guys mouth after saying hi, was "so how much do you have to spend?", to which i didn't really give an answer. He then gave me PERMISSION to look around the store, as if having a customer in the store was a burden. So i walked upstairs and looked at some artioli shoes, at which point the one that was following me around like a lost puppy said "a thousand five," in a "why are you even here" tone of voice. It must have been my poor attire. I guess armani, ferragmos and zegna just don't cut it anymore ;p Heh... I really don't know where they find these people. I highly doubt that people with gobs of money to spend are always wearing good clothes, so to dismiss people that quickly is just bad business. What really made me laugh was that when i asked if they had a bespoke service, the answer i got was "what's that?" So they have an elitist attitude, yet they don't even have the inventory or level of service to support it.. i don't know why i even bother trying new stores.
post #2 of 47
I am beginning to think that many people who work in high-end retail have some serious issues. I should start out this rant by saying that while I own a lot of expensive clothes, I almost never pay full retail -- I either wait for sale season, or, more often, buy things in places where they're inevitably cheaper (eBay, Century 21, Lohmann's, etc.). At one store at which I shop, there is an older fellow who follows me around every fucking time I come in. No matter how many times I say that I just want to browse, he will not leave me alone, showing me this suit or that, and inevitably trying to get me to sign up for the store's made-to-measure service (despite the fact that I fit almost any off-the-rack 40R). It's gotten to the point where I am incredibly reluctant to go into the store because I don't want to deal with this guy (and feel badly occupying his time because I know it's highly unlikely that I'm going to buy what he's trying to sell me). At another store at which I shop -- this one a department store -- a salesperson (from whom I don't think I have EVER bought anything) greets me like I'm his nephew every time he spots me from across the store. It's bizarre, given that I don't even know his name, and given that there's people at the store with whom I'd rather deal, to the extent that I'm actually going to buy anything. At that same department store, however, there are people who cop attitude to me, almost beyond belief. I think particularly of people who work in the shoe department, who act as though they're doing me an enormous favour by bringing out a pair of shoes for me try on. On one occasion, I had to remind a salesperson rather bluntly that he was the one who had to work there for a living -- and that I was the one who got to shop there. Which, in close, reminds me of a run in I once had with a manager at Future Shop (which, as I'm sure almost any Canadian can attest to, is notorious for poor customer service). He was giving me shit for attempting to return a $25 DVD which I had received as a gift and which I could not say with absolute certainty had, in fact, been originally purchased at Future Shop. (Bear in mind that this is a store at which I probably spend over $1000 per year, on average.) He told me that "I should be ashamed of myself." My response: "I should be ashamed of myself? I'm not the one working at Future Shop for a living."
post #3 of 47
What was his response to that remark?
post #4 of 47
Quote:
He told me that "I should be ashamed of myself."  My response: "I should be ashamed of myself?  I'm not the one working at Future Shop for a living."
While the attitude and behavior of the sales manager is inexcusable, I can't say that I support your response. There are many people in retail, and likely at the very store you mention, who are hard-working, honest people. Going to work everyday and earning a living, whether it's at JP Morgan, Davis Polk, Barney's, Future Shop or the garbage dump, is nothing to be ashamed of and certainly nothing to insult. While this manager sounds like a royal pr*ck, I'm afraid you may have sunk to his level in this case. My advice to anyone who runs into the situations detailed above would be this: simply turn around, walk out, and don't shop there again.
post #5 of 47
Quote:
While the attitude and behavior of the sales manager is inexcusable, I can't say that I support your response. There are many people in retail, and likely at the very store you mention, who are hard-working, honest people. Going to work everyday and earning a living, whether it's at JP Morgan, Davis Polk, Barney's, Future Shop or the garbage dump, is nothing to be ashamed of and certainly nothing to insult. While this manager sounds like a royal pr*ck, I'm afraid you may have sunk to his level in this case. My advice to anyone who runs into the situations detailed above would be this: simply turn around, walk out, and don't shop there again.
Of course it's an obnoxious thing to say -- it goes without saying. I think it slightly more obnoxious, however, for management at a store at which you shop regularly to all but accuse you of being a fraudster over nothing.
post #6 of 47
Unfortunately, I bet many store managers have to deal with "frequent customer fraudsters" all the time, and he may have surmised, incorrectly, that you were one of them.
post #7 of 47
Quote:
While the attitude and behavior of the sales manager is inexcusable, I can't say that I support your response. There are many people in retail, and likely at the very store you mention, who are hard-working, honest people. Going to work everyday and earning a living, whether it's at JP Morgan, Davis Polk, Barney's, Future Shop or the garbage dump, is nothing to be ashamed of and certainly nothing to insult.
I agree with PeterMetro in this case. Honest work is honorable work, regardless of how much you make and what your uniform is. (On the other hand, there are oil executives and Third World dictators who should be made to suffer various indignities daily.) That said, the guy was a huge prick, and I can understand the frustration of having to deal with dime store Napoleans.
post #8 of 47
Quote:
(On the other hand, there are oil executives and Third World dictators who should be made to suffer various indignities daily.)  
Oil executives?  What do they have to do with Third World dictators and why should they have to suffer daily "indignities"?
post #9 of 47
Thread Starter 
I think he was just trying to point at that there are nasty people at both ends of the earnings spectrum.
post #10 of 47
Thank you GQgeek. Also, as an environmental professional (note, NOT an activist,) I can't think of a (legitimate) industry whose practices are more exploitative and generally destructive, both environmentally and socially, than the oil industry.
post #11 of 47
As an active investor, I cannot think of many other industries other than the oil industry that provide such great returns on investment. In the current market of 1% or less interest in the money market, CDs, etc., I'm getting 11% to 12% yield on oil and gas royalty trusts. Some pay out monthly checks. Check out San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (Ticker: SJT, Web: www.sjbrt.com), Dorchester Minerals (DMLP), and Hugoton Royalty Trust (HGT). Great stuff. Also, Warren Buffett just bought gobs of shares of PetroChina (PTR) *AFTER* I bought several hundred shares myself at $18.99. Today, it closed at $28.99 after going over $30.00 last week. Meanwhile, it continues to spit out a 5.1% yield of quarterly cash to my brokerage account. Thanks Warren. Don't knock oil executives -- they provide a valued service to many of our country's senior citizens. My feeble 96-year-old grandmother down in Waco, Texas bought ExxonMobil decades ago and it's quarterly dividend distribution now allows her to live a comfortable and secure life. Like her, I'd trust my future to an oil executive any day before I'd trust it to the Federal government and its lame Social Security program. Besides, you can't blame the oil executives and the companies they run for the environmental issues -- blame the SUV drivers who DEMAND more and more gasoline just so they can (they think) feel safe and look cool. Oil companies are just supplying the product that fulfills the demand at the market price.
post #12 of 47
Well, I'm not saying that the oil industry isn't *profitable". The problem with the multinational oil companies is that they are largely not accountable for their practices, either overseas or domestically. In the name of the practicalities of commerce, they are complicit in many human rights abuses throughout the world, ranging from their lining the pockets of bloody dictators to use of obsolete and dangerous methods that would be banned in the developed world. At home, they are, more than any other industry, not monetarily responsible for the direct consequences of their product. If the oil industry was made responsible for environmental cleanup, air pollution control, amelioration of MTBE contaminated groundwater, etc... as well as for fair business practices in third world countries, to a degree acceptable to right-thinking human beings, I would submit that oil companies would suddenly become much less profitable than they are now. However, the oil companies are rich, and the U.S. government is always at least a little beholden to them (well, GWB is a *lot* beholden to them), so change in not a coming. It is also due in large part to the oil lobby that alternative energy sources have not been invested in to a larger degree. Ethanol is a prime example. As a fuel, it has a set of issues all its own, but the problem of MTBE (which allows engines to run more efficiently and was introduced as a substitute for lead) contamination would have been avoided, at very least. Doing right by grandma does not exonerate them of their record elsewhere.
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Besides, you can't blame the oil executives and the companies they run for the environmental issues -- blame the SUV drivers who DEMAND more and more gasoline just so they can (they think) feel safe and look cool. Oil companies are just supplying the product that fulfills the demand at the market price.
One last thing - this is a specious argument, morally and legally. If it was in fact true, I'd going right down to the lab, and mix myself up a bathtub full of meth (not really that difficult a synthesis, btw,) and becoming a primary supplier. And do you really think that oil companies do nothing to create demand?
post #14 of 47
In America, we have freedom of choice. Most Americans CHOOSE to not drive a Toyota Prius or other energy efficient vehicle. They DEMAND gas guzzlers like SUVs. I don't agree with their thinking myself, but there we are. Companies WILL change to meet demands of consumers -- look at consumers' reaction to New Coke and how quickly a multinational corporation changed to bring back the original formula as a consequence. If more people CHOOSE to not drive SUVs and replace with a Toyota Prius, demand for petroleum will go down in the long run, hurting the oil companies. Don't blame the companies, blame your fellow Americans and their petroleum-rich lifestyles. Also, note that oil companies MUST resort to doing business with dictators and despots because most Americans practice NIMBY (not in my back yard) when it comes to drilling for oil in our country -- consider the uproar over drilling in Alaska and Clinton's "federalizing" of millions of acres of land out West to prevent logging, mining, drilling, etc. The oil demanded by Americans must come from somewhere. If we Americans ourselves won't give it up, oil companies must go to where the oil is -- Russia, Africa, Middle East, offshore, etc. Once you leave the United States, you are not in Kansas anymore -- the world is an ugly place in many parts. Some ugly places have lots of oil that can be used to propel America's SUVs. That is where the companies must go to fulfill the demand for oil. As an investor, I give them some of the capital they need to get the oil out of the ground in those ugly places. I expect a return for the capital I put at risk. The oil industry rewards accordingly. Meanwhile, I zoom around town in an energy efficient Geo Prizm that gets well over 30 miles to the gallon. Well, "zoom" may be a bit exaggerated...
post #15 of 47
Hmmm...this is an interesing thread. Went from a rant on snobby boutiques to a debate about the oil industry. Thats a good investing tip VG, thanks. Sure sounds like a good pay-off. I have a CD now, started it up a few years ago when the economy was better; it paid 3.5% when I first set it up, and the bank keeps honoring that rate when I renew it, but I don't know how long I'm allowed to keep the rate for. The ones I've seen as of late are all close to 1%. I don't have much money at all since I'm a college student, but trying to get a head start on the financial game. Eric
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