say please: how to shop at a Luxury Establishment

Anyone who loves fashion shops and anyone who shops knows that good service is that priceless rarity we so often insist on regarding as a commodity. The truth is, you do not get good service if you insist on acting like a) a snob b) a jerk c) a clueless dolt. So for those of you for whom the staff never quite seem to satisfy, this is what you really should do:

1. Upon entering a store, look at the staff in the eye and greet him/her with a smile before he/she greets you. This makes you look congenial and so not a bitch to serve. It also disarms the staff because the staff should never be less than proactive at greeting custom.

2. If you have an idea of what you want, zoom right in on the staff that you had so marvellously completed step 1 with and ask. Ask nicely with a smile as if it were an impossible imposition and you feel rather sheepish about having to. Some will greet this with indignation but I promised good service, nothing more. A Luxury Establishment is not the place to massage your ego unless you are a regular customer with a substantial expenditure record.

3. If you do not have something in mind, then you are, in fact, occupying precious retail space and the staff must now convince you to either buy something or leave the store. When the staff approaches you, do not treat the staff as if he/she were not there because you then get the same sort of treatment when you actually need help. Instead, nicely tell the staff you are but browsing and thank the staff for the help.

4. When you see something you like and want to know more about it: always ask nicely and sound apologetic about it. Be confident so the staff does not eat you up but be humble at the same time. This is the sort of fashion zen you must achieve to properly enjoy shopping at a Luxury Establishment. If it is something that you saw somewhere else and you wish to enquire about it, specify date of sighting and location. It is very aggravating when customers ask for past season stock and then insist they just saw it at the boutique in Paris when they are currently at some outpost in Bangkok. Above all, never ask for the article number unless you really must.

5. Say you see something you like and the staff has assisted you with it. In the event that you wish to consider the purchase, thank the staff and explain that you need time to purchase. The staff should smile and tell you to take your time, otherwise, he/she is being rude. Remember, the staff has a set of protocol to follow and he/she can only be insupportable/intolerable/inefficient within the limits of these protocols. It’s like robots and their laws in sci-fi novels (DISCLAIMER: PARSONS BOY DOES NOT KNOW WHICH SCI FI NOVEL AND DOES NOT CLAIM KNOWLEDGE OF ALL THREE LAWS. HE DOES NOT KNOW WHY HE KNOWS THERE ARE THREE LAWS). On the second time that you wish to enter said Luxury Establishment to mull over your choice, enter with a friend and try not to bug the staff again. Greet the staff like a long lost friend.

6. If you do wish to make a purchase, always make it with the same staff all the time and ensure that the staff who first served you is the staff you make the purchase from. This is important because this saves a lot of bloodshed in the backroom between staff and you accrue plenty of good karma in the process. Unless you are Russian, Chinese, Indian or any of the New Nouveau Riche, refrain from paying in stacks of US dollars. This ensures panic at the check counter and almost guarantees discrepancies with payment. At this point, the staff should be on the best behaviour so be gracious and thank them for their help. Ask for their names and they will memorise yours accordingly from your charge slip (another reason to pay by plastic).

7. Repeat on a regular basis and you will soon be on first-name basis with the staff, be on the pre-sale list, unofficial 24-day reservation list and have your ego massaged.


This entry was published on May 25, 2009 at 3:10 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “say please: how to shop at a Luxury Establishment

  1. cand on said:

    I’ll have to disagree with you on that, my dear! Staff in any kind of retail store, luxury or not, should provide good customer service ( i.e. not judge how well to treat a customer based on eye contact. everyone should be treated with respect) and the customer doesn’t have to sound apologetic for anything he/she isn’t apologetic for.. there is nothing wrong in asking a question!

    It all seems so pretentious- I think that everyone should just be themselves, whatever you know? but do try to be polite, respectful and humble. Clients/customers and staff alike.


  2. cand on said:

    parsons boy! i am assuming i know you! i wasn’t sure until i read up on who u guys are- slow, i know. wow, the power of four.

    i think that the aunties at prada dfs are such darlings. i bet they would be nice even if i went in flip-flops!

    yea right.

  3. saythefword on said:

    candice is that you! it’s me, jo! but yes parsons boy wrote this! yes i think it’s quite unfortunate that we’ve come to this, really, but i’d have to say that there are places in Singapore that are really snooty because the staff simply pass a judgment (and worse, a wrong judgment) on your spending power the moment you enter.

    at some point in time there was talk about how the staff at A Certain Luxury Boutique Down Orchard Road were nicer to some kids in certain uniforms, and then give dirty looks to all other students in a Not-so-Atas ones. but ok lah let’s just assume we never quite proved that because…

  4. saythefword on said:

    hello cand, nice to see you here!

    you are right in saying that customer service is a must and i definitely agree with it. as i have said, there is a certain set of protocols that staff must observe. it is after all, the reason that they were employed in the first place.

    nevertheless, we do not live in a perfect world and all you have to do is work half a year at a Luxury Establishment in retail to know that customers are not always on their best behavior either. one can only assume that they act the way they do because they forget that a happy shopping experience is often the effort of both staff and custom.

    the guide does ensure that you get great service in our less than optimal world. try it!

    parsons boy

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