What a fantastic story! Thanks for sharing it with us and happy new year 2006 to you too!
With best regards,
I have a story that I think you might appreciate. *I apologize that this story is a little long and somewhat mundane, but I think some of you might find it amusing. *
About a week before Christmas, I was in the local Nordstrom, and I just happened to find myself standing in front of the Chanel counter. *Although I was minding my own business, I was also INTENTLY STARING at the glass case of said Chanel counter. *I was staring at an open box of Chanel’s Rue Cambon Collection, one-quarter ounce each of Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie, and Gardenia pure perfume. *I knew that the San Francisco Chanel Boutique and both the Chanel.com and Gloss.com websites only sold Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie, and Gardenia in separate bottles. *I quickly leaped to the erroneous conclusion (this is called “wishful thinking”) that the boxed set of the three perfumes was probably a good price that was only offered at special times such as the Christmas shopping season. *A Nordstrom Sales Assistant (for the life of me, I cannot remember what she looked like because all of my attention was intently focused on the bottles of the Rue Cambon Collection) came over to me and inquired if she could be of assistance. *At this point, I should point out the fact that I am not a financially wealthy man; I labor long and hard to earn a paycheck. *However, I do own credit cards. *In fact, it just so happened that at that very moment, I had a Nordstrom credit card and some other credit cards sitting in my wallet, also innocently minding their own business. *So, of course, when the SA asked me if she could be of assistance, I immediately, without a moment’s hesitation, told her that yes, she could be of assistance, she could sell me that box of Chanel’s Rue Cambon Collection, one-quarter ounce each of Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie, and Gardenia pure perfume. *From somewhere, another SA suddenly appeared, and the two of them were absolutely beaming at me, and probably thinking something like, “Oh, what a nice, thoughtful man; he’s buying a Christmas present for his wife…or girlfriend …or sister…or aunt…or mother…or grandmother; he is such a sensitive, kind man to be buying such a beautiful gift for some lucky woman”. * Even a bystander woman customer came over, and the three of them were all beaming admiringly at me. *When the first SA asked if I would like that gift wrapped (which was free), I immediately decided that it was just going to be a lot easier on me if I pretended that it was a gift for a woman, and so I answered “yes”. *Well, in fact it was a gift, but it was a gift to myself. *I paid for it and went home. *Immediately, I got onto the internet to check out the Chanel Rue Cambon prices at the Chanel.com and Gloss.com websites, and I then realized that it would have been much more economical to purchase the perfumes from one of these websites or from the San Francisco Chanel Boutique, especially since I was only interested in the Bois des Iles and the Cuir de Russie, and I had no interest in the Gardenia. *Fortunately, Nordstom has a very classy returns policy, and I returned the perfume the next day, only about 12 hours after I had purchased it. *Of course, I had respectfully kept the perfume in perfect, unopened, and undamaged condition. *I then continued to be involved in all the wonderful hoopla of the Christmas Holiday season, and I didn’t think much more of the Rue Cambon perfumes for a couple weeks.
Then, on Friday, December 30, I “just happened” to make a phone call to the San Francisco Chanel Boutique, and I inquired as to the hours that the store was open. *I made a mental note of the fact that the store was open on Saturdays from 10 AM to 6 PM. *The next day was Saturday, New Year’s Eve. *All day long, I debated with myself whether I should go to the Chanel Boutique to buy the Bois des Iles and the Cuir de Russie perfumes. *I kept reminding myself that I could not afford to buy these perfumes, and that these were actually designated by Chanel as women’s perfumes, and therefore they would be inappropriate for me to wear. *Moreover, although I had tested and liked both the Bois des Iles EDT and the Cuir de Russie EDT, I had never actually had the opportunity to test either of the perfumes. *Also, I have had a lot of problems with perfume allergies, and I wasn’t at all sure that I would even be able to physically wear these perfumes if I did buy them. *And besides, I had been to the San Francisco Chanel Boutique in June to purchase a bottle of Chanel fragrance, and at that time the French Sales Assistant treated me with complete and utter disdain and scorn because of my poor pronunciation of French, which I had never studied in school.
On the other hand, I wanted these perfumes. *I think Basenoters understand why I wanted these perfumes. *Whenever I try to talk about my interest in fragrance with my family, friends, or co-workers, they invariably look at me as if I am totally insane. *But I think my fellow Basenoters understand. *In the end, even though I am not a financially wealthy man, I am willing to spend my hard earned money on perfume. *In the end, I am willing to risk perfume allergies. *In the end, I am willing to publicly endure disparaging scorn and contempt because of my poor pronunciation of a language I do not know. *In the end, I am willing to accept the fact that my perfume purchases might turn out to be spectacular flops. *In the end, I simply wanted the Bois des Iles and the Cuir de Russie perfumes. *I finally wrestled all of my doubts to the ground and realized this around 3:30 PM on New Years Eve, and I drove into the city of San Francisco, directly to the Chanel Boutique, which I knew would be open until 6:00 PM. * I arrived at my destination at 4:30 PM only to discover that the Boutique had closed early that day, at 4:00 PM, because of New Years Eve! *I had been foiled a second time!
The Chanel Boutique was closed on Sunday, New Years Day. *I had a day off work on Monday, January 2, so it was a perfect opportunity to go to the San Francisco Chanel Boutique, to once again suffer public humiliation by the SA, and to purchase the Bois des Iles and the Cuir de Russie perfumes. *However, Northern California was being lashed by severe wind and rainstorms and flooding, and a police officer had even been killed as a result of the inclement weather. *I decided I wasn’t going to be foiled again, this time by the storms and flooding. *Instead, I went to the Gloss.com website, and 90 seconds later, the Bois des Iles and the Cuir de Russie perfumes were mine! *Now, I only have to sit back and patiently, deliciously wait for their delivery! *When they do arrive, and I get to test them and wear them, I will let you know my impressions. *
As I mentioned previously, I have experienced some degree of difficulty with perfume allergies. *I have even had long periods of time when I was unable to wear any fragrance on my body. *Recently, however, I have been able to wear, and greatly appreciate, Chanel Antaeus EDT and Chanel Egoiste EDT, decants of which I purchased from Scentemental, our fellow Basenoter and my good friend. *Purchasing decants from fellow Basenoters is such a pleasure! *It is also so economical!
When I was a boy, I used to earn money in our neighborhood by mowing lawns in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter. *One of the things I did with my hard earned cash was to buy Chanel No. 5 (I think it must have been the EDT version) for my Mother, on more than one occasion. *It was several years later that she told me that the Chanel she really liked was No. 19, but she didn’t want to hurt my feelings by not accepting the No. 5. *For some reason, probably not unrelated to a boy’s childhood love for his Mother and his desire to give her a special gift, I have ever since always had feelings of good will toward Chanel. *This makes it even sweeter that I am now experiencing such pleasure wearing the wonderful fragrances from this venerable perfume house. *
I have heard some people say that Antaeus is too masculine for them to wear. *Fortunately, I don’t feel that way about Antaeus. *And, of course, other people might say that Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie are too feminine for a man to wear, but I don’t share those feelings either. *I feel perfectly comfortable wearing either the “masculine” Antaeus or the “feminine” Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie. *But my favorite is Egoiste. *Truthfully, because of my past history with perfume allergies, I am thrilled that I am able to wear any fragrance at all, but what a bonus that the fragrances I get to wear are these fantastic Chanels!
Well, like I said at the beginning, this story was a little long and somewhat mundane, but I hope that some of you might have found it amusing. *
My very best wishes for each of you to have a very happy and prosperous New Year!
What a fantastic story! Thanks for sharing it with us and happy new year 2006 to you too!
With best regards,
Thanks for sharing that story with us!
Thanks for sharing so entertainingly your very well-written story of the trials and tribulations of retail shopping. Bois des Illes and Cuir de Russie parfum. Wow. Now that's a buy.
Your article made me reflect on the necessity or otherwise of buying things at bricks-and-mortar stores. I have to admit that more and more these days I find myself ordering online for pretty much everything. I really can't remember the last time I purchased a bottle of fragrance from a store. I used to hate having to pay shipping costs, figuring I could avoid such costs if I purchased my items at bricks-and-mortar stores, but experiences like yours and ones that were even worse have made me rethink my purchasing modus operandi. I have now come to the conclusion that buying online helps one avoid the following:
The cost of gas
The hauling of whatever you’re buying to and from the stores.
Time (especially important when it's limited or is "of the essence"
Annoying sales people (not all sales people are annoying) and their limitations and prejudices, particularly when buying fragrances
Exceedingly poor customer service or no customer service--how many times have you stood in a store ready to buy something that you can't find only to find that you can't find someone to help you find it.
Misinformation. You know those sales assistants who assure you that the product your looking for is not in the store and as you're leaving you see a huge display of it near the exit.
Other shoppers and their usually absurdly spoiled, screaming children.
and most importantly, I've found,
Limited availability and choice, or inconsistent availability and choice.
Also Rockford, and you already know this, I have to say I really admire your passion for the fragrant life. For those of you who don't know Rockford, he has been heroically, yes heroically, struggling with allergies to fragrances. I have been fortunate enough to be privy to his inspiring struggles through private correspondence, and I have to say his story/struggle is a fascinating one, particularly his persistence and refusal to give up on the fragrant life and the passion for fragrances that fuels such persistence and refusal. If he’s okay with it, I might eventually post some edited version of the correspondence that I think will make excellent and inspiring reading for all.
Finally, I am glad you’ve taken the plunge and written about your experiences. I encourage you to do more of this in the future. It’s always a pleasure to read your thoughts on things scented and otherwise.
A final comment on Chanel fragrances. I am slowly coming to the conclusion, that along with Czech & Speake fragrances, that Chanel fragrances, men’s and women’s, are, ounce for ounce some of the most amazing examples of the perfumer’s art. Chanel womens' fragrances have always seemed very unisex to me. In fact, when I was wearing Bois des Iles EDT* recently, I noticed that some of its facets bore an uncanny resemblance to Égoïste EDT (not Égoïste Cologne Concentrée). My conclusion--more about which is to follow soon--is that Jacques Polges inspiration for Égoïste EDT was Bois des Iles. Rockford, I wonder whether you’ve noticed any similarities?
Again, thanks for your post. I share you pain, frustration, and joy.
*Edit: When I first posted on this thread I had suggested that Bois des Iles EDT might have been discontinued for purchase in the US; it hasn't.
Enjoyed your story!
I too have a soft spot for Chanel and think that many of their creations are wonderfully sophisticated- if not sublime. *I especially enjoy their parfum concentrations. *
I’m hoping that you’ll be able to wear Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie without allergic reactions. *If you are, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. *To me, both are perfectly suitable for either a man or a woman. *IMHO I feel these two are so masterfully crafted that they cross gender boundaries and speak the language of TRUE perfumery. *
The Bois is a wonderful, almost “creamy” sandalwood and the Cuir is a smooth, gently spiced leather. *No sharp edges on either once they move into the heart and dryout- aldehydes at the top are a bit bracing at first, but persist and the true nature of each perfume slowly reveals itself.
If they work for you, wear them with pride and confidence. *I highly doubt anyone will ever know you’re wearing “women’s” perfume- unless you tell them that is.
Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.
- Lao Tzu
Great story, Rockford!
I also enjoyed what Scentemental posted.
"He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative."-- G.K. Chesterton
Excellent postings, Rockford and Scentemental. I share your admirations for Chanel.
Great story, Rockford!
It's been a while since I've been up to S.F., so thanks for the vicarious 'fume excursions in The City by The Bay... 8-)