So I was at a Bay store (kinda like a Nordstrom's in Canada, although not quite as high end) checking out some designer frags. I had sprayed some on paper and was sniffing them, killing a bit of time. I fully intended to buy one and likley two 100ml bottles. Out of the clear blue, the SA, who kept coming over and offfering her unsolicited opinions on things, blurted out in almost turrets fashion that clearly, I had no intention of buying anything and that there was no way I could even distinguish one frag from the other without using the coffee beans more. WTF? Seriously. WTF? Well, in the end, she was right. I went to the Sephoras down the hall instead and dropped $300 there.
Why in God's name should she care if I stood at the counter, even all day, smelling frags? And not using the coffee beans enough (in her opinion)? There was nobody else there. I wasn't hogging counter space or anything. And I wasn't bothering her - the only time we talked was when she tried to foist her opinion on me of how Mont Blanc Legend was the best fragrance ever.
I refrained from telling her what I really thought. I decided to not go there. Instead I just left.
Have any of you had similar experiences? How have you dealt with them?
Luckily haven't had rude SAs to deal with.
I stopped going to the Bay because of SAs. They have, from my experience, no clue about fragrance.
It was a calculated risk. Unfortunately, I'm bad at math.
The same SA who had the meltdown on me also told me, unsolicited, that people ask the stupidest questions. Like whether some frags "last longer" than other frags. According to her, there was no answer to this question. I suggested that while it depends in part on skin chemistry, certainly she would agree that as a general statement, Le Male, A*Men and 1 Million, for example, would have greater longevity (and projection and sillage) than a lot of the other designer frags, such as D&G The One, for example. She told me that such a statement was preposterous and that that is something she has never been taught in her training.
[As an aside, for whatever reason, The One can survive a shower on my skin, although it's a very close skin scent after 2 or 3 hours.]
Whatever. I don't really care except when they give me their unsolicited opinions on things as though they were statements of fact. And act as though they are the second coming of Christ, fragrance-wise.
Last edited by Mtnbkr123; 23rd February 2013 at 12:08 AM.
In my experience SAs know less about fragrance than I do. I also find that they tell me anything they think I want to hear. I spent a few years in retail myself and find their phony act to be really annoying.
The procedure here: flip them shit right back. Humiliate the really bad ones, laugh in their face, and then go spend money in stores that actually earn your business. Life is too short.
I have been lucky that SA's in my area are nice and helpful. I have spent a lot of money at their stores, and they work on comission.
Vintage Kouros rocks
75% of the time.
When they are that obnoxious, you should play dumb and quiz them - basically to embarrass them. Then, when they fail the quiz, ask for the department manager. Yes, cruel punishment, but the stores need to know.
I don't like the SA's at The Bay, either. There are a couple (like the fragrance manager at The Bay downtown Vancouver, Holly) that are nice and not pushy. I went to the Chanel counter asking if they have the Exclusifs and the SA looked at me as if I was asking a stupid question, exasperated she said, "Exclusive what!? What are you looking for!? Never heard of Chanel exclusives!" So I left.
Holt Renfrew can be horrible, too. I never like the ladies that work the men's fragrance section there. They sigh, like you're wasting their time. The fragrance specialist at the Chanel counter at Holts is another nice lady though. The best is Naz at The Perfume Shoppe. She will leave you alone to explore, offer knowledge and opinions when asked, totally without pressure.
That's a first. SA's tend to bug the customer, but that's their job. I've never seen one react that way though.
Coffee beans really don't "clean your pallete". It's an old wives tale.
I look very young for my age, so I assume they always think I'm shoplifting or they offer me Curve right away.
Other than that, I have met some very respectful and helpful SAs that help me out. Once they realize I'm a frequent buyer they stop pressuring me and realize they can be genuine in helping me get something I like.
I've only had one SA at Galeries Lafayette be overtly aggressive with me.
Over the period of 6 months or so, she'd observed me buy at least $2,000 worth of perfumes from different brands. She works exclusively for a local brand that I really really really do not care for. She'd always pop up in front of me to try and I'd politely say I'm not interested and if I am, I know how to approach your perfume counter.
This one time though she crossed the line. She actually blocked my path, shoved two paper strips in front of me to smell, out of politeness only I smelled them and said thanks, but she then insisted I come with her to smell more. I said no, she insisted aggressively again and again. This is when I told her I'd complain so hard to GL that they'd have her concession stall shut down and consequently her getting fired from her job because the owner of the brand surely doesn't want his counter privileges revoked because of blatant rudeness from an SA.
I can understand she is pressured to meet her sales quota but there are limits.
So far, nowhere near that extreme.
Yet I have had a fair share of occasionally pushy, opinionated, slightly superior acting SA's. Luckily, when I already do to the fragrance stores determined to buy something, not even the pushiest techniques can convince me: neither persuade me more about a scent I already wanted to buy in the first place nor about any scent I went out with the clear intention of not buying, even irrespectively if these other scents resemble very much the particular fragrance I wanted to buy in the first place.
Some nice, some a bit snooty. In the end one should always be aware of the fact that they're just people who peddle perfumes in a shop for a living and not take anything too seriously.
You should let someone in charge know because she might ruin the experience for someone in the future that takes it personally.
The Ned Ryersons of the Fragrance World.
These things cannot be long hidden: the Sun, the Moon, the Truth--Buddha
Aline SAs in Florence are among the rudest (and most incompetent) around. They couldn't recognize a good customer even if he/she walked the door with a black AmEx in his/her hand...
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