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07-08-2012
  1
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fashionista-ta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Hardly ever at Barney's
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Is it time to break up with my SA?
I've been contemplating this, and would like some other opinions.

My former SA has been recruited elsewhere, so this is a relatively new one. I've had some previous success shopping with him, but here are the issues ...
  • His taste. I'm a separates person, and his idea of what goes together well and mine are completely different. IOW, his opinion isn't worth having. It's not that his own outfits don't work at all (striped suit, plaid shirt, polka dot handkerchief--not kidding), they are very him, but that his womenswear recommendations don't work.
  • Narcissism/failure to listen. On my last visit, I called him ahead of time and told him what I was looking for--casual pieces for this very hot weather. Shirts with preferably at least a cap sleeve, cropped pants. In my dressing room: 3 dresses (he knows I don't wear them), silk blouses, multiple pairs of wool pants, printed items (he knows I don't wear prints), two pairs of suede pumps, a purple bag, purple cashmere scarf (I do share his love of purple), and more. Possibly one item that fit my criteria. None of his picks did I buy, and then he wanted an explanation of why many of the individual items didn't work. I was exhausted and bought one T that I found myself.
  • This was the real kicker. Since the items pulled didn't work at all, I was having to scour the floor myself. Just as I had gotten to the paydirt section, and after I had told him I wasn't ready to see the alterations person, he bossily summoned me to the dressing room. He had called the fitter on his own 'initiative.' More than a week earlier he had told me my alterations were ready, and then the afternoon I was coming in called to tell me that he had found "one more thing that needed some extra TLC." My skirt was being shortened, and the kick pleat lengthened. So I put the skirt on, and the kick pleat is in its original position. I stumble out (can't walk due to no pleat) and say, This hasn't been altered. I then get this lame explanation that it's been stitched down because the location of the original stitching would show when I sit down--basically the fabric was bruised. I don't know if it was inevitable, if the stitches weren't removed carefully, or what. I say that everyone is certain to notice if I can't walk at the wedding, but it's very unlikely anyone will be looking closely enough to see the bruised fabric that's only visible when I sit down. "If that's what you want," the SA sings, and the fitter summons me closer to rip out the extra stitches that are preventing me from walking. She also stated loudly and defensively, twice, "We discussed that the stitches might show" as I just gazed at her. I found all this manipulative in the extreme, and feel that the SA should simply have been honest with me about what he noticed, vs. arranging this whole charade that seriously disrupted my shopping trip (hour and a half drive time I might add).
What do you think ... and is it time to kick this guy to the curb? There is someone else I could switch to, but she's a little annoying (at least--could be a lot) in her own right, and has been somewhat rude in the past. It would also not be that easy to make the switch, I suspect. I might have to talk to the manager about it. I can do that, but it could be a big freakin' production to end up with just another set of problems.

In the meantime, I checked out another store's selection of casualwear online, made an appt with an SA there, and I believe she will do what I asked. Will see how that goes.

Shopping at this store is a must, btw. I cannot just switch to a different store.

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08-08-2012
  2
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OK, so 324 people have read this, and not one of you has any advice for me?

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09-08-2012
  3
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how about visiting the store when they are most busy and knowing someone else that chance brings?
unless that "guy" and "she" are the only staff members.

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11-08-2012
  4
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Thanks, runner. They aren't the only staff, but they may be the only full-time staff other than management. If they get half a dozen people in the dept, they think they're slammed, so you can't really go unnoticed ... however, I woke up the next morning and realized, he's got to go. If the alternative is no better, I'll just have to keep going till I find someone reasonable to work with ... this is just an unacceptable level of BS

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11-08-2012
  5
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why do you need any SA? when I'm going to shopping I don't want anyone near me ... I just need a good store and my credit card.

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11-08-2012
  6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marusenka View Post
why do you need any SA? when I'm going to shopping I don't want anyone near me ... I just need a good store and my credit card.
Before I worked in retail myself in college, I thought SAs were an annoyance to be swatted away like flies. After doing it myself, I realized how helpful they could be. Of course, a good one is hard to find.

This is not Banana Republic with an unlimited supply of merchandise. Quite the reverse ... and since 2008, buying has been tight. Without an SA, you don't have full access to information about what is available, in what sizes, and where. Some designers apparently won't allow their things to be shown on the store's website, and items and sizes in short supply often don't appear either. I often have to get things from other stores, and only an SA can facilitate that process.

If you're tired of shopping and haven't yet accomplished your goal, an SA can bring you things and encourage you to keep at it till you find what you came for.

I could go on ...

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11-08-2012
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I understand ... I just don't feel too comfortable when someone is around me all the time during shopping, even if it's helpful and especially if it's not.

if you have your own style ... if you're know what you want, what you need, what looks good on you (and even more important - what doesn't) and if you're well informed - you just don't need an assistant.

however, if you think you need it then it has to be someone that you feel comfortable with so, yes, I think it is a time to break up with your SA ... just try not to hurt his feelings (or reputation, if possible).

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11-08-2012
  8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marusenka View Post
I understand ... I just don't feel too comfortable when someone is around me all the time during shopping, even if it's helpful and especially if it's not.

if you have your own style ... if you're know what you want, what you need, what looks good on you (and even more important - what doesn't) and if you're well informed - you just don't need an assistant.

however, if you think you need it then it has to be someone that you feel comfortable with so, yes, I think it is a time to break up with your SA ... just try not to hurt his feelings (or reputation, if possible).
I thought I just clearly explained why someone with well-developed personal style would need an SA If you don't actually work for the store, it is not possible to be as informed as someone who works there.

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12-08-2012
  9
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Why on Earth should you continue with someone who don't meet your expectations?! Kick him out! Moreover, with every point you listed, I don't see how you could still deal with this guy any longer...

Give that girl a chance. She may be annoying, but if she does the job, that's what matters.

marusenka, never underestimate the power of a good SA I met mine two years ago at the opening cocktail of the boutique (I purchased a scarf that night and she was the first to help me, I've only been dealing with her ever since). I do not need her to advise me regarding what I should or should not wear BUT I must admit that it is very useful to have someone who knows what you like and what fits you. She even made me discover things I would have never paid attention to without her showing them to me Not to mention she does a wonderful job at facilitating my orders. Just a few weeks ago, I went to the boutique to buy something that ended up not being there anymore. It was on a Tuesday and I had to take a plane on Friday morning. I desperately needed the product since I had planned to bring it with me. She called their Paris HQ boutique right away and I got a call from her on Thursday morning, telling me that my product had arrived To put it in a nutshell, having "your" SA isn't just for those who would be lost in a job and have no fashion sense. They're here to facilitate your shopping experience and that's why some of us use them. I'm lucky enough to have found "the right one" ( ) and I would never want her to go!

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Last edited by Thefrenchy; 12-08-2012 at 05:14 AM.
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12-08-2012
  10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fashionista-ta View Post
I thought I just clearly explained why someone with well-developed personal style would need an SA
yes, you did ... and I'm sorry ... I really don't think that YOU don't have well-developed personal style just because you have an SA, I just tried to explain why I don't need one or why I THINK that I don't need one.

I always say to SA: "I'll ask you if I need your help." thing is that and I never ask. maybe I should try ... I just think it could be really hard to find perfect SA.

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14-08-2012
  11
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I don't really understand where you're coming from, but I'm sure your reasoning is justified in terms of why you would want an exclusive SA to begin with. Cute post title, by the way.

Personally, a shopping trip to me is loads of fun. Browsing the wide array of the unexpected is what makes it fun. The idea of an SA predetermining what I'm going to want to see and try on is annoying in itself. SAs generally make me feel uncomfortable. The experience you outlined here sounds like a nightmare! Fashion is a form of expression and the various collections act as something of a palette. I don't really understand why anyone would want to expedite that process as if it were a chore. I wont assume that you regard shopping as a chore seeing as you're a member of this forum/community, but to each his own. If it were a matter of basic pieces needed, well then it just seems like a lot of trouble, and a long drive, to go through for basics. Either way, I'm not getting it.
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Last edited by ShesElectric; 14-08-2012 at 12:21 PM.
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14-08-2012
  12
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^ Exclusive SAs is kind of a matter of store policy. Part of it relates to the pay structure. When I worked in retail, it was straight commission, and the SAs were very possessive of 'their' customers. There was etiquette among SAs regarding when the sale was yours, and when it was someone else's. The way the store or department is managed affects this as well. How much was store policy and how much culture and tradition, I don't know ... but I was given to understand how things worked.

Anytime a store pays commission or holds employees responsible for a quota, there's going to be some of this. So ending up with an exclusive SA can be part me, part them--or even all them. In this case it was some of both.

Shopping is a chore It can be fun, fun is a bonus, but in my view, if there is a specific goal to the shopping trip, the more focus, the better.

What an SA has that we don't:
  • They know what's in the back room, and what's wrong with it. I was in a store last weekend that keeps only 2 sizes on the floor--anything else you have to ask for.
  • They know what the other SAs have on hold
  • They know where the good stuff is--some stores keep it back for the people they like
  • They have access to information about every piece of merchandise in every store
  • They know how pieces have been fitting and working for other people
  • They know the tailors, their strengths and weaknesses (and can steer you to the best, if you don't already know them yourself)
  • They (should) know the inventory in exhaustive detail, and be able to lay their hands on things you may never find for yourself, especially in a poorly organized store
  • They know that they will never be getting in the color/item you want, and that it will have to be ordered

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