I’ve talked in the past about some of the things I dislike (and some of the unfortunate patterns I’ve noticed) when shopping in high-end department stores and boutiques, and whenever I share one of those stories, you guys respond in kind – it seems as though we’ve all experienced genuinely rude (and sometimes downright demeaning) treatment while trying to do something as simple as buy a bag or a pair of shoes. Luxury goods should be a luxurious experience from beginning to end, but too often, it just doesn’t work out that way.
What I’d like to talk about today, though, is the complete opposite of that experience: when you go into a store where you don’t have a previous relationship with any of the sales people and everything goes exactly how it should. I like to treat myself to Fabulous Amanda Day every few months, which is a day of shopping, pedicure, lunch or whatever I want, but all to myself, no buddies allowed. (Try it, it’s so relaxing.) I was having one such day last Friday when I decided to head to Soho to look for a new pair of shoes and found myself in the Miu Miu boutique on Prince Street.
Boutique staff can often be intimidating; I’ve heard a zillion stories of people being looked up and down and then passed over for service in the stores of some of the most famous brands in the world, and I’ve even had it happen to me a handful of times. At Miu Miu, though, I was helped quickly, everyone in the store was beyond friendly and welcoming and I walked out with a pair of shoes I absolutely adore, which you can see above. (Seriously, Miu Miu’s oxfords are so comfortable and perfect, even without socks. They’re exactly what I’ve been searching for for months.)
My purchase didn’t require anyone to go above or beyond to source a product or to solve a ridiculous problem, just like most boutique visits don’t require any customer service gymnastics. All of the little stuff, though, was handled perfectly. When they didn’t have my size in stock, I was brought a size in either direction without having to ask. That might not seem like much, and it might seem like an obvious move on the part of a sales associate, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a shoulder shrug and no offer of additional assistance when I’ve hit that same roadblock elsewhere. As a result, I ended up with a pair of shoes over which I’m positively giddy and the store has earned another loyal customer.
In the spirit of Friday and all the shopping the weekend hopefully holds for all of us, let’s celebrate the great sales associates or the brands whose boutiques you love to visit the most. Who has given you a genuinely memorable luxury experience, or who simply does a great job every time you visit their store?
(Psst: My shoes aren’t available online, but if you’re looking for a pair of good oxfords, Net-a-Porter has the same shoe in stamped snakeskin for $510.)