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No Snubbing Required

I had a “Pretty Woman” moment the other day. Movie, not song. And no, I wasn’t picked up by a zillionaire knight in shining armour blah blah blah. Remember when Jules walked into a fancy shmancy store and they snubbed her? Then she returned with Dick and bought out the place? “Big mistake. Huge.”

My Pretty Woman moment started the same way. My friend and I went into a fancy shmancy store. I won’t name names. Let’s just say Oprah is no longer a fan of said shop. She thinks they were rude to her in their Paris boutique. But I thought most Parisian boutique employees were rude to Americans. Our Oprah thinks it’s ‘cuz they’re racist. But I thought most Parisians…Nevermind, I digress. This Store…OK you got it out of me; it was Hermes. ANYWAY, my friend and I went in. And guess what? Snub central.

The sales-hag looked at us, gave a tight smile and proceeded to ignore us in favour of fawning over the woman who walked in behind us. She even gestured for a different salesperson to help, and I quote, flicking her hand our way, “them.” (to be said dripping with disdain). Rude/Not Rude. RUDE! Apparently, this Other Woman had the right to be treated like, oh, a person, because she was about to purchase a $10,000 bag. Hmmm. And yet, this Other Woman barely glanced at the saleslady or her investment, I mean, purse, preferring to type feverishly on her crackberry instead. The whole thing was bizarre.

My friend wasn’t nearly as incensed as I was. But I found it vile. This saleswoman had no clue whether we were big spender movie stars or glamourama queens or couture collectors. In fact, we went into the shop because my friend was returning something she’d bought there. And the other, much nicer and supposed b-list saleswoman recognized my friend to boot. She was a regular, yet still treated like shit.

If it were me that was the reg, I would’ve huffed up a storm, talked loudly, and made snide comments about how rude everybody was. Oh wait. I did that. But no one noticed. Except my friend. And no, she wasn’t embarrassed. At least I don’t think so. She thought the whole thing was amusing. I didn’t get it then. And I don’t get it now. In fact, I never understand why salesfolk in fancy shmancy stores need to be such snot bags. It’s not like they’re shopping in these places. They’re working there.

Sure, there are those who are rude shoppers. Often they’re the same people who are rude to waiters. Not a good thing. But usually someone who’s worked retail or been a waiter (and by that I mean waitress too) is a nice customer. Not necessarily a drop-a-bomb, shop-a-thon customer, but a pleasant customer. I know I am. An ex-waitress and an ex-shopgirl, I know how to say please and thank you. I know how to be friendly – but not too friendly. Hell, that’s almost as bad as rudeness (see: Gap). I pick up after myself in change rooms, I don’t leave things in piles on the floor. I even try to re-hang. And I don’t get why salespeople at some places are just so bloody rude.

Again, a friendly reminder: they’re working there. I’m shopping there.

I understand the odd bad day. And I understand having to deal with obnoxious customers, but come on people, let’s give the good ones a break. When someone walks into store that sells $10,000 bags, say hello and smile. You never know who’s buying what. I wish my friend would go back to that store and really do the Pretty Woman thing. But she’s a lady, so she won’t. I wish I could do it. Actually, I wish I could afford to do it. After being treated like crap by the hired help, even if I could afford it I’d hit Gucci. Apparently, they’re much nicer in there.


Anonymous said…

Edina Monsoon moment– but she confronted the girl: “You just work in a shop, you know” or whatever she says. As much as I love AbFab I can still never understand what the hell she’s saying. Seeing as how you’re an ex-Londoner, maybe you can translate.

1:32 PM

Nicky said…

That is classic. Too funny!!! I will always think about this when I shop now…



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