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Try on in a store: but buy on E-Bay?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr Checks, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. thinman

    thinman Distinguished Member

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    I do this all the time at large department stores, but never at small menswear stores. If I get outstanding service and an OK price, as I did recently at a small store, I'll buy. If I get decent service, as I did at a Brooks Brothers recently, I buy something small that I need. I always ask good salespeople for a business card, so when I do decide to buy from their store, I can ask for them.
     


  2. norcaltransplant

    norcaltransplant Distinguished Member

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    BTW, New York City is the perfect environment for this type of practice. I can't afford ANYTHING at my favorite Madison Ave boutiques regular price, but I will often browse with my limited free time and then inquire by phone during sales time. I got to own my Paul Stuart shell cordo loafers following this practice...
     


  3. Matt

    Matt [email protected]

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    back in my student days I worked in the suiting department of both of Australia's leading department stores - and I can say that from my point of view, I never resented customers coming and trying and not buying.

    Perhaps if I was on commission it would have been a different scenario, but I always, even in a department store environment, viewed suits as a relationship sale.

    So the guy comes in, tries this suit and that suit, asks me what I thought, where it would need to be altered, what looked best on him, I would always give my best advice - and he would appreciate it.

    He walks away and doesnt buy, "out of my budget", "want to try a few others" whatever - that was fine, no skin of my nose.

    My opinion was always that he would appreciate the effort, be back next time, refer his friends to 'that younger guy at David Jones'....and ultimately the service would pay for itself.
     


  4. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior Member

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    I once posed this question specifically about shoes, because I felt uncomfortable doing this.

    Except at half yearly sales, or big discount houses where the shoes sitting on racks and customers help themselves, I usually have to catch the eye of a sales person, ask her to go into the back to get an 8E. After she has laced the shoe up and helped me slip in my foot, I realize that the 8E doesn't fit, so I have ask her to go back for a 7.5E, or an 8D (or an 8.5E). If I have confirmed that the shoe fits perfectly, I feel awful making up an excuse, then running to the Internet cafe down the street.

    Two years ago, I visited a high end shoe store to be fitted for Alden's Barrie last. I planned to buy a pair from the clerk (at a price $400 more than the shoe lists for online). The 8D was not wide enough, and I was relieved to learn that the store does not stock the 8E. I went down the block to the Internet cafe and ordered the shoes without remorse.

    Bic
     


  5. A Harris

    A Harris Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

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    If you do this, be honest with the salespeople and don't waste their time. Let them help the paying customers.

    On the other side of things, they will get you sooner or later, I always end up buying something eventually...
     


  6. Mr Checks

    Mr Checks Senior Member

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    Gentlepersons:

    Thanks for the replies. Again, my only issue was those folks who use the stores' services - whether it is sales help or use of inventory - with no intention of ever buying from that store.

    I'll have to ponder the issue about whether a store is a moral entity, since my focus was on the shopper's morals, not the store's.
     


  7. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Distinguished Member

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    I am with the majority position here.  I would not take up a salesman's time if I had no intent of buying, but have no reservations about trying on merchandise.  That isn't an issue in DC, where "service" is virtually non-existent (with the notable exception of Sky Valet) unless you are middle age and/or look like you might have a roman numeral after your last name.
     


  8. uppercase

    uppercase Senior Member

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    Don't waste a salesman's time if you are not seriously considering buying in that store; that's not ethical and that's not gentlemanly.
    If you go to a self-service type place like Filenes, go ahead and try on clothing to your heart's content; but again, be considerate and put the items back where you found them.
    This is all pretty common sense courtesy, isn't it?
     


  9. Carlo

    Carlo Distinguished Member

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    I do see the store as a moral entity. There have been various threads on this previously phrased in different ways.

    A. Is it OK to swap pants on suits surreptitiously so that you can get the 46 jacket with 36 pants, leaving someone else the 42 jacket with 42 pants?

    B. Is it OK to 'hide' something and then come back at sale time?

    C. Is it OK to use the store as a try-on place and take the time of a salesperson whom you have no intention of buying from?


    Let's say you go see Rider and he spends an hour helping you try on shoes, explains all he knows about leather, construction etcetera and then you get them online for $50 less. Well, you screwed him. He was honest, his price was on the shoe, he paid for the chair you sat in while trying them on and he gave you his time and expertise with the understanding that you might be interested in buying from him. He might have missed a sale while doing it or he could have used that time elsewhere - his time/knowledge have value.

    I don't like it when some businesses market that way dishonestly either - OK, when they have a below cost clearance sale that is one thing - you know they are taking a small loss to clear space and that is honest.

    What cracks me up is the stores like car dealers who say the vehicle is being sold for $2000 below invoice. Now what invoice is that? I buy something, I expect the vendor to make a profit. I responded to that pitch one time by saying "Well we better buy elsewhere - if you lose $2000 per customer you won't be here to provide service later.

    ...almost as good as the $5000 cash back or 0% financing sales pitch. To me that is like saying "We're betting that you never had a math class." Hmmmm....$30k today or $35k over three years is not 0%... hullllooooooooo.

    Ideally, a customer is happy with the value they got, a vendor makes a profit and everyone wins. It should not be a contest to screw the other guy because you want your favorite vendor/customer to be there for you in the future.

    OK, rant endeth now.
     


  10. AlanC

    AlanC Minister of Trad

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    Chuck's right, of course.

    When I go to a higher end store and am offered help I tell them I'm just looking around. Sometimes the salesman decides to start handing me things to try on anyway, Oxxford, Canali, etc. I figure at that point he's already been put on notice I'm not buying anything. Of course, I don't try to take up their time.

    Alan
    (has hidden things in stores)
     


  11. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    To reiterate:

    1) I think that such practices are okay only if you are completely open and upfront about it. Retailers understand that not everyone can afford to buy retail. It is in the interest of a retailer to be courteous to every customer who walks through his doors. On the other hand, it behooves a customer to walk into a store in good faith. This doesn't mean that a customer is obligated to buy anything. It does obligate a customer to full disclosure.

    2) Discounters like Filenes Basement are open season. The service is non-existent, their draw is the low prices. If they can't provide the latter, you are under no obligation to buy from them.

    3) Retailers deserve their markup - I am sick of people saying that an Attolini is worth only 1.5K (i.e. less than wholesale) because you can get that on Ebay. The retail world is cutthroat, and retailers have to deal with overhead, personnel, and myriad other costs, and you are paying for the privilege of actually seeing, feeling, wearing the goods in a B&M. Ebay profits are made off the losses of brick and mortars, plain and simple. It is salvage, let's not elevate it, although we may benefit from it.
     


  12. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Distinguished Member

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    Does the initial "C" stand for "Costanza"? Â [​IMG]
     


  13. AlanC

    AlanC Minister of Trad

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    (AlanC @ Mar. 25 2005,12:49) Alan (has hidden things in stores)
    Does the initial "C" stand for "Costanza"? Â [​IMG]
    No comment... [​IMG]
     


  14. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Distinguished Member

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    Salvage, yes. Necessary to an efficient market . . . also yes. Ebay flipping ensures that the good goes to the user who values it highest. Is that elevating it too much? (Shrugs.)

    One thing about Ebay flipping that nobody has mentioned yet is that it actually serves a more direct benefit to retailers than merely providing an alternative channel of liquidation.

    For example: Let's suppose there is a $4000 Kiton suit. It goes on sale for $2000 at the retail store (we'll call it "Retail") but doesn't sell. The discount store (we'll call it "Outlet"), buys it from retail store for $1000 and prices it in Outlet for $2000, which will be reduced by 25% every seven days it stays on the rack, with a max of 75% off.

    So, the price points at Outlet will be: $2000, $1500, $1000, and $500. Obviously $500 between increments is HUGE. Assume nobody would be willing to buy the Kiton for $1000. But assume plenty of people would be willing to buy for $750, but not $1000. Problem is, there is no $750 price increment. This is where the Ebay flipper comes in. He waits until it goes to $500, then flips on Ebay for $750.

    Now, assume that there is at least one person who would have been willing to buy for $1000 (but that the Ebay flipper would not be able to profit if he bought for $1000 -- he still has to wait for it to go to $500). If there were no Ebay flippers, this person WILLING to buy for $1000 might be willing to risk letting the item sit on the rack until it goes to $500, at which time he could come to the store on his lunch break or after work and buy it. But, knowing that there is an Ebay flipper that will grab that sucker off of the rack the MINUTE the store opens, this buyer refuses to "risk" waiting for the 75% markdown and so buys at $1000.

    Outlet obviously directly benefits in the form of $500 more of profit, a profit that it can thank the THREAT of the Ebay flipper for. Down the line, Outlet's increased profits will allow it to buy from Retail for a higher price. Retail knows this fact and thus will have a higher BATNA price when it is negotiating with Outlet when it liquidates to Outlet.
     


  15. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Very astute, JN3. This is one of things that makes me wish I'd though of it before you did. BTW, PM me about a coffee sometime. My treat.
     


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