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  1. #1
    MFfan310's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    Well, I was just thinking about the snobbiness of fragrance sales associates and vendor reps for major retailers.

    Based on my personal experiences, here's my feelings, averaged on a scale of 1-10 (1: no snobbiness, 10: snob city)...

    Retailer SAs:

    Nordstrom: 1
    Nordstrom is always known for exceptional customer service, and they consistently deliver it without a snob factor. Even if you come in just to browse, you can expect excellennt treatment.

    Sephora (stand-alone stores): 1
    An open-sell environment and friendly SAs that offer help when you need it and not the other way around means no snob factor. Note: I've had very limited experience with the Sephora/JCPenney ministores... but, then again, they're only in their infancy.

    Macy's: 3
    As America's favorite mid-level department store, Macy's has to appeal to the masses, and they execute well with minimal snobbiness. At times, though, they can get on the snobby side when it comes to new products.

    Von Maur: 3
    Likened by some as the "Nordstrom of the Midwest", Von Maur delivers very good service, but their SAs can get a teeny bit snobby on occasion.

    Saks Fifth Avenue: 4.5
    Saks is a crapshoot: You can run into a nice store with minimal snobbiness like the one in Indianapolis (Hoosier hospitaility, anyone?), but some other stores can be snob city. We'll get to the Bond No. 9 reps later...

    Neiman Marcus: 10
    I can't even start on how snobby these folks are. The SAs are pure snobs, who won't serve you unless you're wearing the season's latest ready-to-wear. They say that fragrances are exclusive to NM "forever" just when they are about to enter Nordstrom and Sephora. Heck, even their credit card policy is snobby! Message to NM: Take a lesson from your sister company Bergdorf Goodman, who knows how to treat customers well.

    Note: I have no experience with Dillard's, Bloomingdale's, or Barneys.

    Vendor Reps:

    Beaute Prestige International USA (Jean Paul Gaultier/Issey Miyake/Narciso Rodriguez/John Varvatos): 1
    Consistently very nice vendor reps. Hats off to BPI!

    Clarins Fragrance Group (Azzaro/Thierry Mugler): 1
    Ditto.

    L'Oreal (Giorgio Armani/Ralph Lauren/Diesel/Viktor & Rolf): 2
    The home of Acqua di Gio also happends to have very good vendor reps around here.

    P&G Prestige Products: 2
    P&G's rising "tide" is also bringing along not-too-shabby reps for the ride.

    Coty Prestige: 3.5
    Not too snobby, except when it comes to heavy promotions of new products.

    Liz Claiborne Cosmetics: 5
    Slight snobbiness for generic, watery scents? Whoulda thunk.

    Bond No. 9: 8
    I love their fragrances, but I can't stand their pushy, snobby reps.

    Your thoughts?
    Last edited by MFfan310; 24th March 2008 at 02:18 PM.
    I am not afraid to keep on living - I am not afraid to walk this world alone.

  2. #2
    silverbullet's Avatar
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    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    Dilliard's #1 - Very courteous with no pressure, just a " Hi, can I help you?" and a "Let me know if you need some help " And then they direct you to the Usher.

    That's the St. Petersburg, FL outlet.

  3. #3

    Vivek's Avatar
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    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    I've experienced that a lot of the time, the lower paid, less articulate, less informed and generally worser SA's are usually the rudest in a snobby way. Most managers seem to be fantastic, if I ever detect abrasion from an SA in any sort of way, i'll ask to speak to their manager.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    Neiman Marcus: 10
    I can't even start on how snobby these folks are. The SAs are pure snobs, who won't serve you unless you're wearing the season's latest ready-to-wear. They say that fragrances are exclusive to NM "forever" just when they are about to enter Nordstrom and Sephora. Heck, even their credit card policy is snobby! Message to NM: Take a lesson from your sister company Bergdorf Goodman, who knows how to treat customers well.
    I can back this up from my N-M experience last week. Day one: French-accented SA who kept pushing Houbigant and saying everything was "natural", wouldn't leave me alone, insisted I smell stale coffee beans to cleanse my nose, and upsold me (thankfully, I slept on it and went back to my original decision for Acqua di Parma). Day two: overweaning SA pushing a different frag that was, of course, all "natural".

    I was able to sleep on it because "Sir, we only accept American Express or Diner's Club. Or a personal check or cash." Overeagerness to make the sale ("do you have your checkbook with you?" and "there's an ATM just one block over") was off-putting and belied the snobbishness. Greedy snobs, perhaps.

    In their favor: they did hold the fragrances for me (even though the N-M salesman gave the distinct impression he didn't expect me back).

    Noted: the gay couple in the matching crocodile loafers, who were properly put together, and who wasted the salesman's time did get more attention and better service than I did - the gay guy in work clothes who actually bought something.

    After that experience, it's highly unlikely that I'll darken their doorway unless absolutely necessary.
    Brent

    Catherine Deneuve: "You should put scent where you like to be kissed."


  5. #5

    Vivek's Avatar
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    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    Hoos, i'm sorry to hear about that, it's a shame really. No matter how well dressed I am, sometimes I get slack because of my skin colour. One SA that was describing a certain fragrance to me, and told me it smelt spicy and would make me feel right at home. I then gave him a long essay, on how i'm English, Dutch, Mauritian and Indian and not even the part of me thats Indian would feel at home. I then spoke to his manager (surprise surprise) and told him that he should ensure that his SAs are paid to inform and sell, not to judge, generalise, assume or to prejudice against people.

    I know it may seem like I was over reacting, but it really pissed me off. I then got my mom to write a letter of complaint, and we received £50 worth of gift vouchers, my mom wanted to send them back and complain furthermore, but I decided i'd rather have the vouchers :P This was at an upscale department store in Birmingham.

  6. #6

    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    I hate Neiman Marcus as well. Once, a couple of years ago I got excellent service there when I was buying L'Eau Bleue D'Issey. This guy, Mel, was so nice to me. He was extremely professional, yet had all the time in the world for me. I hadn't tried Creeds yet at the time, and I wanted to smell them. I told him I wasn't going to be buying any Creeds that day-- but still he took me over to the Creed counter and went through all of them with me, and let me sample everything I wanted. We had a nice conversation and I told him how I liked to collect fragrances. A few weeks later, I opened my mailbox and found a handwritted letter from Mel on Neiman Marcus stationary. He thanked me for my purchase and told me he hoped I was enjoying my L'Eau Bleue D'Issey and that if I was looking for another fragrance to come and see him. It still puts a smile on my face, thinking about what a good guy he was and what great service I got from him.

    Last year I went back to Neiman Marcus to buy Virgin Island Water, and unfortunately Mel was no longer working there. There were some women, and there was something very snobby about them. Nevertheless, I bought a bottle of Virgin Island Water. Then two days later, I came back to buy a bottle of Mechant Loup that I saw there. It was weird. It was like the fact that I'd just spent $230 two days earlier on a fragrance didn't even register when I walked in. They still gave me the same snotty service, while lavishing all their attention on the trophy wives who had no clue what they wanted. Then I was overcharged for my Mechant Loup, and I didn't realize it until later. On top of it, they never gave me a receipt! I called them up and they were like "bring the receipt",--I told them they never gave me one and they were incredulous. I mean seriously, I'd been in an hour before and it was a slow day-- I'd spent $350 on fragrances in the last three days there-- and they acted like I'd never been there. What bitches. I asked them if they could give me a store credit and they said no-- I'd have to come back in immediately. And the lady huffed and said they'd have to go over all of their transactions in their computer one-by-one. I just said forget it. I'm never going back there. Never.
    Last edited by Indie_Guy; 24th March 2008 at 04:34 PM. Reason: syntax

  7. #7

    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by MFfan310 View Post
    Bond No. 9: 8
    I love their fragrances, but I can't stand their pushy, snobby reps.
    What exactly are the reasons the Bond no. 9 people came off as 'snobby'? Just curious.

    There's a department store here called Boscov's (it's one of two that are near me) and everytime I go there to look at fragrances they're always "have you tried the Acqua di Gio? It's the number one selling fragrance in the world!" Well... duh... it is if you keep trying to sell it to anyone who comes into the store.

    I don't consider that snobbish, just annoying.

  8. #8
    kopah's Avatar
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    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    Holt Renfrew Ottawa: 1
    I had great experiences here. I was visiting the city and I went in twice, just browsing, not buying anything. I had four different SA's in total, two at the men's counter and two at the women's. All were very helpful, cheerful, and friendly. Not stingy with samples, either.

    Creed at Holt Renfrew Toronto (Bloor): 8
    Makes me think of V for Vendetta - because this guy's new nickname is Creepy Creedy. He sprayed the backs of my two hands (my wrists being already perfumed) with extravagant gestures, took each hand as if to kiss it and blew on it for a few seconds, then made a lavish show of smelling each. When I told him I wasn't interested in buying anything because I'd have to get my fiancee to smell it, he chided me and told me that what matters is whether I'm comfortable with the fragrance. Not exactly snobby - more like super, super pretentious.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    Holt Renfrew is really good. I bought Dior Homme Cologne Blanche there, and it's actually a splash bottle that comes with a separate spray attachment. The pump spray they gave me in store was actually for the largest sized bottle, not for the smaller sized one I had. I found out when I got home and called back, thinking I'll have to come back to pick it up. Instead the friendly SA on the phone said she'll ship it out for me instead and grabbed my address. One day later I got an Etro shoe box with a load of Creed Samples, NR For Him 10ml mini + Shower Gel, and various other niche and designer samples.

    Nop touch service......and the other places I go to are The Perfume Shoppe.....exceptional service, and some other places. Generally I don't have a problem, and prefer shopping in stores than online.
    Last edited by nsamadi; 24th March 2008 at 06:50 PM.

  10. #10
    ubuandibeme's Avatar
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    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    MFfan310 - fellow Hoosier! - I agree with your opinions completely!

    Indie_Guy - I've never been a frequent shopper of Neiman Marcus, but after reading about your experience I'm certain not to become one! What a slap in the face...whatever happened to quality customer service?

    The nicest fragrance sales associates I've encountered (L'Artisan Boutique aside) are the employees of Sephora. Whenever I've gone into one of their stores, which happens quite frequently, the SA's are consistently friendly, never pushy, never snobby, and practically do kartwheels down the aisle to please their customers. Just 2 days ago I was at Sephora and wanted to know if I could get a sample of a Hermes frag. The SA raced around to get her supplies in order and immediately d-----ed me a generous sample ~ in a spray vial! She also insisted that it was no trouble and would make me as many as I would like. Needless to say, I was completely satisfied. That's why I'm a Sephora shopper!

  11. #11

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    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    I shop at NM pretty frequently; it's where I get most of my skincare and fragrance. The prices are the same as any other outlet in my city. I think the reason I love my NM is because Austin has such a laid back vibe to it... not snobby, not high pressure... just right.

  12. #12

    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    Quote Originally Posted by kopah View Post
    Holt Renfrew Ottawa: 1
    I had great experiences here. I was visiting the city and I went in twice, just browsing, not buying anything. I had four different SA's in total, two at the men's counter and two at the women's. All were very helpful, cheerful, and friendly. Not stingy with samples, either.

    Creed at Holt Renfrew Toronto (Bloor): 8
    Makes me think of V for Vendetta - because this guy's new nickname is Creepy Creedy. He sprayed the backs of my two hands (my wrists being already perfumed) with extravagant gestures, took each hand as if to kiss it and blew on it for a few seconds, then made a lavish show of smelling each. When I told him I wasn't interested in buying anything because I'd have to get my fiancee to smell it, he chided me and told me that what matters is whether I'm comfortable with the fragrance. Not exactly snobby - more like super, super pretentious.
    holt renfrew generally kicks ass! in fact ive never ever ever had a band experience there. I try on anything and everything I want (clothes) even though they can usually tell im not about to buy it all, and it just doesnt seem to matter to the SA;s they are always friendly and helpful. I mean I have bought things there in the past, quite a few - never a fragrance though, but definatley not often enough for them to have any clue who I am. props to HR. On the other hand.. Harry Rosen... now thats a terrible place! one time I went in to buy my dad a belt for christmas and first no one was serving me then finally some old dude is like can I help you (obviously in a very antagonizing voice) and I was like sure im looking for a belt for my dad, hes like "right this way" - so as we're walking he asks "is there anything in specific your looking for" so I reply "haha not really, hopefully something is on sale" - you know, to try and make a friendly joke of the whole situation that yes im a kid in a grownup store you know... you wouldn't believe what happens next, immediatley he says "no theres nothing on sale right now" and just walks off

    WALKS OFF!!!

  13. #13

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    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    Macy's: Snobbiness 0, Helpfulness 2
    Lowest common denominator. The one at Tyson's I (the broad based mall) has brand pushers. NO, I DO NOT WANT JOOP SPRAYED ALL OVER ME! THANK YOU!

    The Fair Oaks Macy's is helpful, if a bit out of the way. Come to think of it there are 2 Macy's there now, not sure which is which. Well, one of them is helpful.

    Moderately helpful if you get the right salesperson, but it's a crapshoot. The one at Tyson's II (the snobby mall) is better if you want to be left alone to sample stuff, they have just about everything and seldom a pushy saleslady.

    Lord & Taylor: Snobiness ?, Helpfulness 0
    L&T at Fair Oaks has NOBODY THERE. I'VE BEEN THERE ABOUT 5 TIMES LOOKING TO BUY SOMETHING, BUT THERE'S NOBODY HOME. Bad department store! NO SALES FOR YOU!

    Sephora: Snobiness 1, Helpfulness 8
    Very helpful and not pushy. They don't always have people that know their stuff, but when they do (like a couple of days ago) it is a thing of beauty.

    Ulta: Snobiness 3, Helpfulness 5
    Not very helpful. Go to Sephora instead.

    Saks: Snobiness 5, Helpfulness 5
    Not very snobby, but VERY hit and miss. The only people that seem to know their stuff there are the girl that left to be a chemist (or something) and the immaculately dressed Hermes guy (who has days off). The woman I talked to last didn't even know they had gotten Angel Men Black Coffee in.

    Neiman's: Snobiness 8, Helpfulness 6
    Slightly better than Saks, but again hit or miss. Very snobby, but I saw Creed frags lined up on the table so I'll have to pay it a visit when a special occasion calls for me to pick a Creed frag up. It seems the salesladies there are brand pushers as well, I think the aforementioned Hermes guy called his Neiman's counterpart when I got Rocabar (out at Saks but in stock at Neiman's).

    Bloomingdales: Snobiness 3, Helpfulness 9
    VERY VERY helpful every time. The salespeople (one female one male) knew their stuff, and the female wasn't some gossipy middle aged foreigner (not to stereotype, but most often the type that doesn't know men's fragrances). Left both times with product. Going to test to make sure they know about Angel Men Pure Coffee, but if they do it's $65 that the silly Saks lady won't be getting. I have no reason to think they wouldn't.
    Last edited by BriGuy20; 30th March 2008 at 10:35 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: The SA/Vendor Rep Snob-o-Meter

    I agee... The Saks in Indy is wonderful....Mike is my favorite SA there. Their customer service is always top notch. They don't care if I come in sweats and a T.

    Niemans in Chicago....not so much. Recently I was there checking out Creed Baie de Genievre and the SA acted it like it was a bother to wait on me...heavy sighs and all!! Oh well. I will just call Mike at Saks and give him the sale.

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