regarding the ALS strap story that apropos related, i think it boils down to a few things. as a person who has worked most of my career in sales or sales related positions, in the jewelry industry and others, and both in sales and managerial roles, the onus in my opinion falls on a both parties a little bit.
the customer: i dont know the whole story, but this is what it seems to me. i know everyone wants to hope that because they are a baller people will insta-recognize them without them having to say a word. but i hate to break it to ya, thats not reality. even a-list celebrities sometimes get turned away because they are not recognized. sure, this guy bought a very significant amount of high figure pieces, but guess what, lange makes expensive watches, and i bet there are many customers that spend like he does. and if he did not buy them in that boutique, its highly unlikely that anyone would know that he is a major customer, for all they know he got the watch on ebay.
and lets be honest, the guy is not a fool, he knew he was asking for something a little special. what he should have done, imo, to avoid that, would be to politely walk over to a sales person and either right off ask for a manager, or just put all the cards on the table. hi, my name is so and so, i have been a customer for a long time and have purchased x,y,z.... watches from ADs. i recently bought this strap here and i realize i dont really love it, it was only worn a few times, would it be possible to swap it out for another? i can almost assure you, had he done that, the outcome would have been significantly different.
now, for all i know he said all that, and did just that, but based on the result and what i read, i am confident that he probably just walked in, said hi please exchange this. the salesperson said no, because that is probably their standard policy, and yes all companies need policies or people will abuse them. and he said ok and walked out all mad that they did not recognize him and service him as he deserved. many many issues in these types of situations break down to poor communication. dont wait for people to figure out who you are, just tell them. it saves everyone a lot of aggravation and time. if i am wrong and he did that and was still turned away, whoever made that call is a moron and should be fired.
the salesperson: the hiring process for most of these sales postions is pretty simple, be pretty or handsome and well enough spoken or charismatic, and we will teach you enough product info so you can reasonably sell. many of them dont have much interest in upward mobility, they want to put in their hours, get their commissions (if there are any) and go home and take vacation. very run of the mill wage employees.
for such a person, when a customer walks in out of the blue that you dont know has bought through authorized channels, and asks for a favor, they pick up their head, and politely (hopefully) say, no i am sorry we can not do that. and then they wait for something more exciting to happen or for a smoke break.
a better sales person would have realized that something more might be as stake, asked a few questions to get the whole picture, and then said, let me ask my manager. the manager would have said yes, and everyone would be happy. but, not all sales people are astute like that, and its kind of a pity.
however, the only way to truly fix that, is to hire better people. and better people cost more money. and with all the growth these companies are experiencing that can add up fast. and guess where that cost goes? thats right, right into the price of the watches. because that is business. sure, it would be nice if every company could only employ top notch amazing sales people, but that is just not the reality. that being the case, know that going in, and say what you have to say, dont leave any guess work. and if the person you first speak to is not getting it done, ask someone else.
just my opinion.