Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by LA Guy, Apr 22, 2004.
I like your style, Kalra.
Hi All. I am new around here and while not new to the men's fashion world per se, I am a relativee youngster when it comes to that. I first must mention that the forum is an amazing one, with individuals posting incredible information. Talk to me about Children's clothing and I can tell you whats hot in Italy/France/all of Europe for that matter. WHo is making what for whom and who is devouring whom. Men's Clothing is (as I am now finding out) another universe Entirely. However, regarding the topic of Rude and or Unhelpful and or Ignorant Sales People and Employees I am gonna throw in my 2 cents as a business owner. Its really (double underlined and bolded as well) extremely difficult to find competent help. Many in the industry are here because (at least where I have my stores) its simply a job. The fashion schools that they attended were done so not so much as to follow a calling but because they were the only ones that in two years they could get a degree of sorts and perhaps a job to pay some of the bills. The fashion schools they had attended were usually the easiest ones to get into and the intelligence level was subpar (however we will define par it was sub that). For example, I received a resume from someone that had graduated from one of the aforementioned accredited universities, who claimed to have been a Barrister in previous employment and then proceeded to list the responsibilities in that capacity. "Mixed and Served Drinks, cleaned counter etc... In any event I have a whole folder of similar resume horror stories and have been encouraged to print some of them. Yes, its comical but not fun when you are trying to screen for quality employees. ANd while it is difficult to find good employees its almost that much more difficult to find good DEDICATED employees. You know, the ones that care about the business. And even if you are that lucky, to find one that cares as much as the business owner is impossible (and if you as an owner do find one that fits that bill, it means you must not care all that much about your business, so the bar is low. (not that bar but your care for the business bar.) That being the case, I think that its unfair to judge a store as to how an employee acts. Rather I wold recommend you take it to the owner of the store and see how it is handled. If you get that kind of response from the owner then that store is finished with you (and give it some time and I would say doomed, there is so much competition in the retail environment that storeowners cannot afford to act that way). Trust me when I tell you that some of my best customers have had unpleasant employee situations that because they were handled and resolved (even at short term loss to myself) in a manner that was satisfactory to them have paid for those losses manifold. Great board again (I hope you people arent saying...there goes the neighborhood with this post). All the best. JJF PS: On a humorous note, a friend of mine with a weight problem (but not quite grotesque as was implied) went into a really expensive RTW store and the horrified sales clerk (rhymes with jerk) came running over to him and said "we have NOTHING here in this store in your size"
Browsing through the archives and found this thread. It brought a slight smile of recognition to my face. I hope you won't find offense if I bring this thread up again.
I don't know that this thread was really titled appropriately, in that I don't see how the Andover Shop is "ignorant"; however, the reply that LA Guy received is not unsurprising. In fact, I'd expect nothing less from Andover, given the context. And for them, you should probably understand that they've been selling clothes before you were born. (They've a very rich history, in fact). I don't think it was snobbism, as much as I think the very idea of mentioning a "label" or "maker" is (for them) quite gauche. It's simply not done. I am not trying to insult you, LA Guy; just trying to suggest from where these guys are coming, so to speak.
At any rate, LA Guy, can you describe the person who helped you? And have you been in the shop since?
You do realize that the the very semantics of your proposed reply from Andover: "I'm sorry, but our company policy...." is the very antithesis of Andover? Not only because it's so wooden and corporate, but simply because Andover is not run so much as a company as it is a club? That is, they don't even really need the business, and in a way, it's sort of refreshing to see that this notion of American customer service is checked at the door.
Of course that doesn't excuse the fact that you felt (and that they perhaps were) rude to you.
PS Just curious: are you a student in Cambridge?
This thread reminds me of an issue I had with a local merchant about ten years ago. This was one of those family owned men's stores that had been around for generations. Woefully overpriced in a less than affluent area. I think the name of this establishment was "Mur-Lees" or something to that effect.
While browsing their windows I came upon an outfit that loooked rather nicely put together; nothing special mind you but the coodination of the italian wool sweater and pants was enough to pique my interest so I went in to get a better look. Both objects were quite overpriced however I suspect I was in an agreeable mood so I purchased them both and asked to have the pants hemmed. I left with the sweater and a claim ticket for the pants which were to be ready in two weeks.
As luck would have it I happened to be in the area about 10 or so days later and figured I'd stop into this shop to see if, perhaps, my pants were ready. I approached a young salesman and explained to him that Â although I was a few days early would he kindly see if the alterations on my garment had been completed as it would save me a return visit. This young salesman gladly took my claim ticket and Â hurried towards the tailor in the back of the store to check on the status. Suddenly an older salesman appeared, he obviously had heard my remarks and reprimanded the younger associate right in front of me for even attempting to see if the garment was finished. "If the ticket says 14 days then it won't be ready until 14 days" he boomed "Don't even bother to ask". I responded that, as I said, I was merely in the area and only a day or two early which I didn't feel was particularly egregious so, again, would he kindly check to see if they could save me a return trip? The younger salesman continued into the back and, lo and behold, returned with my pants which were, in fact, completed. In the interim the older guy continued to mutter. Rather than apologize and say something.....anything that could make him appear better he merely blurted out to anyone within earshot "If it was me I wouldn't have even checked to see if they were ready."
The young sales associate then spent the next 10 minutes apologizing for the brusque behavior of this older "gentleman". When I inquired as to who that guy was he replied "one of the owners". I took my garment and left. Needless to say I never returned.
There's a dude that needed a crash course in Business 101.
I have actually used Rizzo tailoring on several occasions and concur with your observation that he is considerate,friendly and above all,low pressure.I like the fact that he does not pooh-pooh garments that were not made by him.In fact,he highly praised a vintage Brioni blazer I had him take in commenting that "they don't do detailed tailoring like that today".In respect to his bespoke suits,I think he is more than capable,as many of the high ranking deans and professors from nearby Harvard are clients.Judging from his array of gorgeous cloths from Holland and Holland to Dege to Loro Piana,one would be in good hands.I believe he won the Best of Boston award for tailoring.
The "ignorant" remark was directed at the buyer I referred to in paragraph previous to the one about the Andover Shop. Sorry for the use of confusing antecedents. Or maybe I was just commenting on the ignorance of common courtesy to customers. In any case, I don't think that it is an inappropriate question to ask where a MTM suit will be made, given the vast differences between the quality of individual factories; and I did find it rude that the salesperson assumed that that information would be of no use to me, especially since my expressed interested in it should have indicated otherwise, and therefore that I had no need or right to know.
Older gentleman with white hair and very raspy voice.
Unless their older clientele live forever, or unless they have some sort of endowment, they will eventually need new clientele. And there are many more options then there were "back in the day".
I'm a postdoc - essentially an academic peon.
Oh, come on -- you made that up. Â Ha. Â But seriously, having spent 11 years in retail management in a former life, I must say that although it can undoubtedly be a challenge to find good people, retailers have to find a way to do it. Â They can't offer a poor product and then offer excuses for it -- for retailers, the quality of service provided is just as much a 'product' as the suit hanging on the rack. Â A retailer has to create an environment that demands a certain level of professionalism from its associates.
I agree. Â I think it makes sense to give yourself the chance to see if the sales associate is just a 'bad apple' or whether the store's general customer service attitude is lacking.
Can you pass on a notion of what Rizzo's "house style" is for suits/jackets?
"That being the case, I think that its unfair to judge a store as to how an employee acts. Rather I wold recommend you take it to the owner of the store and see how it is handled."
sorry, I judge a store by all aspects of the experience. If I have good reason to give the store another chance, I may talk to the managerment/owner. if not, they screwed up their one and only chance at my business.
I spend about 120 nights a year in hotels. about 12 years ago I stopped staying at one chain because of something rude a clerk said to me. maybe 4 years later a sales manager for that chain got me to tell him about it, and convinced me to give them another chance, but they lost maybe $40-50 K in business because of that one remark, and they would have lost more if they hadn't activly tried to change my mind.
that is business.
At a discounter, I can understand that employees are undertrained and overworked. And I'm sorry that good help is hard to find, but there is no excuse for poor service of any kind at a a store where one may reasonably be expected to put down a car payment for a shirt, and a good size rent check for a suit. And the best retailers out there (Louis, Maxfield, *especially* Wilkes Bashford seem to be able to make a go of it. And those are the salespeople. At a small, independently run store where the proprietor is also doing sales - well - then there is no excuse at all, is there?
Are you sure you meant to quote ME? I don't think I was offering any excuses for bad service -- to the contrary. Besides, I don't think even discounters have any legitimate excuse for providing bad service. Â Regardless, I don't have any reason to believe discount retail salespeople are 'overworked' in general. Â I'm not even sure I know what that means...
I agree. In this day and age, unless I am in a place where it would be unreasonable to expect good service, I expect store management to take service seriously and to take steps to assess whether service is good. Generally, those stores that take service seriously find ways to instill such an ethos in their staff and to periodically review performance without reying on customer feedback exclusively.
I am of the view that my shopping dollar is buying more than the product. I am buying, among other things, the experience. This is similar to me to dining in a better restaurant. I expect professional service as a component of the experience.
My post was just to agree and elaborate on yours. Â We don't disagree on this point in any way.
edited to fix stupid mistake.
Your salesperson was Charlie Davidson, the original owner. I've met him over the phone and he seemed pretty affable.
Virgil Marson now owns the store. He's also quite cordial on the phone. And I believe their MTM is done by Samuelsohn, but I could be wrong.
Separate names with a comma.