SAs in Europe vs SAs in the US?

coco5

Member
Oct 13, 2010
825
0
SF
I hope this is the right place to put this thread in.
I was just wondering what you thought about it and your experiences. I moved to San Francisco recently from Paris and was disappointed with the SAs especially at CHANEL. The first time I went there to look. Im 15 and I used to go to Chanel stores all the time in France and be treated very nicely even though I didnt buy anything. But this time nobody asked me if I was looking for something in particular. The SAs just looked at me suspiciously as if I was going to pocket something. Then i went there for a second time to ask the french SA how old she thought my Chanel bag was. Same as last, other SAs ignore me. While im waiting for the french SA who was on lunch break i look around the shop. Im surprised to see two japanese ladies behind the jewelry counter. I thought they were clients at first. Then I see that they are SAs doing a tug of war, yes a tug of war on a Chanel bracelet that they took from the shelf behind them and are both arguing very loudly that it suits them best. I was shocked. In France if any SA did that in front of a client they would probably be fired on the spot. At least the French SA was nice and helped me.
I went a 3rd time Saturday to buy a Rouge Coco lipstick. You know the guy standing at the door who is supposed to open the door for you? well that guy was standing a few feet away from the door, just staring into thin air. So I had to open the door. Im not sure of what its like in the US but never before have I had to open the door myself when going into a Chanel, LV etc. boutique. Its not as much the "i have to do it by myself" that I object, its that a luxury store is not supposed to be like that IMO.
Anyway i walk toward the makeup area. Like usual no one asks if they can help me or anything. The guy working in the makeup area was nice though. He advised me to choose the Mademoiselle. I loved it. So I pay for it and am walking to the other side of the store when im blocked by SAs standing in front of me. They can see me but instead of moving aside they just stand there chatting. I couldnt go left or right because they were standing in front of the stairs. So I just walked between them saying loudly "Excuse me!!".
The guy didnt open the door for me when I left.
I was very very disappointed. Im always going to Chanel, LV, and other boutiques in Paris and I was never treated like this. They were all very polite to me.
Also my other experience in boutiques in San Francisco was that they treat you a bit too i dont know "familierement". For example they ask me how I am in a very casual way. I was surprised by this a little. In my experience in Europe no matter how old the client is they would not talk to them like this. It just wouldnt be professional.

Ok long post. sorry!
 

isabellam

O.G.
Feb 16, 2009
1,598
42
....
Also my other experience in boutiques in San Francisco was that they treat you a bit too i dont know "familierement". For example they ask me how I am in a very casual way. I was surprised by this a little. In my experience in Europe no matter how old the client is they would not talk to them like this. It just wouldnt be professional.

Ok long post. sorry!
Americans are more casual than Europeans, for better or for worse. I am an American by birth and I often pine for a bit more elegance or formality, but it is hard to come by in this friendly and informal land. (I have had to instruct the neighborhood children to call me Mrs.XYZ and not address me by my first name!)

This 'familiarity' that you are experiencing has some of its roots in our history devoid of monarchs/aristocracy/castes. Like any place, we have our rich and our poor, but in America, anyone with some brains and some grit, a bit of luck, and a lot of hard work can move above their 'station'. We are not a country of people who 'know their place'. This is a country in which most people/families have had to start at the bottom and work their way up. We are a country of immigrants and each one of our families started out as an outsider. I think this has led to the people in America being a bit friendlier than you may see in other places. This is our cultural legacy.

An analogy: When you eat a hamburger, you will enjoy it more if you expect it to taste like a hamburger. If you expect it to taste like filet mignon, you will not be enjoying your hamburger, nor will you be getting a filet, therefore your whole experience will be wasted. My advice is to enjoy America for what it is and enjoy France for what it is.



Part of the reason for your less-than-stellar treatment at Chanel, whether deserved or not, is a function of your age. 15 year olds are not typically thought of as serious luxury consumers. I remember when I was your age walking along Michigan Avenue (in Chicago) with a girlfriend and browsing in luxury stores. I was watched closely and not 'helped'. (Being 15 years old and not from a wealthy family, I wasn't buying either, and so the treatment I received was fair.) Try not to take your treatment personally. I'm sure that once you start dropping some money at the stores, they will remember you next time and treat you accordingly. ;)



In any case, welcome to my country. I hope you enjoy your stay here, whether it is long or short.:biggrin:
 

coco5

Member
Oct 13, 2010
825
0
SF
Part of the reason for your less-than-stellar treatment at Chanel, whether deserved or not, is a function of your age. 15 year olds are not typically thought of as serious luxury consumers. I remember when I was your age walking along Michigan Avenue (in Chicago) with a girlfriend and browsing in luxury stores. I was watched closely and not 'helped'. (Being 15 years old and not from a wealthy family, I wasn't buying either, and so the treatment I received was fair.) Try not to take your treatment personally. I'm sure that once you start dropping some money at the stores, they will remember you next time and treat you accordingly. ;)

I understand a little but IMO SAs should always be polite no matter who the client is. Even if I'm not planning to buy I should still be treated nicely. But how do they know if I'm not planning to buy? I could just be choosing my bag and ask my dad to come with his credit card (wish I could do that :P).

In any case, welcome to my country. I hope you enjoy your stay here, whether it is long or short.:biggrin:
Thanks!!
 

mothbeast

O.G.
Jan 12, 2009
9,199
60
Ugh sorry to hear coco. One thing - San Francisco is casual even for the US so in general I wouldn't be surprised that people do treat you a bit more familiarly than you might be used to. I don't know if the Union Square SF designer stores have a particular clientele that they are more used to dealing with where if you don't fit that profile they aren't really going to try. I get ignored a fair amount but am usually not dressed up or carrying a pricey bag.
 

isabellam

O.G.
Feb 16, 2009
1,598
42
Coco, I agree that SAs should be polite and solicitous to every person that walks into the door. There are millionaires that dress like hobos, old people that are poor but look rich, and young people that look poor but are rich. Its crazy that SAs (and let's be honest, we all do this) judge potential customers by what they look like. I remember reading a book about the retail store giant, Nordstrom, and they recounted a story of a woman who was dressed very scruffily who came into Nordie's one day. Lucky for the SA, he treated the woman with respect, because she was a gazillionarie who was in the store shopping for uniforms for her yacht staff. Just goes to show- ya never know!

I experienced the epitome of class last summer when I went into the Chicago Hermes store. I was carrying a Coach bag and wearing J. Jill clothes, but the gracious SA there volunteered to educate me about the different H bags and spent quite a bit of time (on her initiative!) showing me the features of the different bags. She was a smart SA, because, although I wasn't prepared to plunk down several thousand for a bag that day, she certainly made it easier for me to do so at some point in the future. I still remember her, and if I am ever in a position to buy my dream Kelly bag, she will be the one to get a commission.
 

krinkles597

Member
Jun 29, 2008
426
0
NC
I'm young as well and I definitely get treated like that fairly often. What I actually find more annoying is when they ignore me and then see my bag or sunglasses or shoes and jump all over me or get pushy. I have found several good SAs though, who are courteous to everyone. There are two ladies at the local Chanel counter who are very patient and polite and I always shop with them.

I am sometimes guilty of judging people, but I've been wrong nearly every time I've jumped to conclusions. When I was first introduced to someone who is now a family friend, he was wearing worn out clothes and driving an old, beat up pickup truck, but little did I know he had started a business that had done amazingly and was worth several million. You just can't draw accurate conclusions about people when you know so little about them.
 

kells1983

FEAR DOES NOT EXIST IN THIS DOJO.
O.G.
Dec 1, 2008
1,906
726
You know the guy standing at the door who is supposed to open the door for you? well that guy was standing a few feet away from the door, just staring into thin air. So I had to open the door. Im not sure of what its like in the US but never before have I had to open the door myself when going into a Chanel, LV etc. boutique. Its not as much the "i have to do it by myself" that I object, its that a luxury store is not supposed to be like that IMO.

The guy didnt open the door for me when I left.
This gentleman was likely a security guard - he was there to monitor the store for shoplifting and suspicious activity. He was not there to act as your door-opener. Just because he was in a suit doesn't mean he wasn't armed in some way (stores use plainclothes security so as not to alarm customers).

Most stores in the U.S., even luxury boutiques, do not have someone who is paid to open the door - that is usually restricted to (perhaps) certain hotels and restaurants. His not opening the door would indicate such.
 
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calibabe742

Member
Dec 21, 2007
280
0
Los Angeles
I am from Europe and i think American stores have much better service and nicer SA's. I feel the arrogance much more in Europe.

I am American and also second this. I've gotten stellar customer service from Chanel SA's in the USA wearing jeans and flip flops but have gotten ignored and snotty one word responses when I was shopping at Chanel in Paris and London. Never took it personal though :P
 

ms-whitney

shopaholic
Sep 6, 2006
5,935
5
weird! I go into that boutique and I'm always greeted and asked if I need help, at the very minimal.

the guy that stands by the door is security not a greeter or door opener

I'm sorry that you felt that way, I think for SAs to ignore you is bad job but, I wouldn't say that their casual way of speaking to you is bad service so much as different culture, and seeing as how you are in San Francisco and not the other way around, you will need to get use to it, or at least understand it's a difference of upbringing but not by any means that one is better then the other or that one is poor versus the other..
 

mrsallan

Love my shoes
O.G.
Sep 29, 2007
119
0
Perth, Western Australia
Different country different style I guess.

Here in Australia, the guy by the door is usually the security guard too. But at the same time, when and if he sees you, he will open the door to let you in and out.
 

pradaLady

Bal convert
Mar 3, 2009
314
0
bay area, California
Americans are more casual than Europeans, for better or for worse. I am an American by birth and I often pine for a bit more elegance or formality, but it is hard to come by in this friendly and informal land. (I have had to instruct the neighborhood children to call me Mrs.XYZ and not address me by my first name!)

This 'familiarity' that you are experiencing has some of its roots in our history devoid of monarchs/aristocracy/castes. Like any place, we have our rich and our poor, but in America, anyone with some brains and some grit, a bit of luck, and a lot of hard work can move above their 'station'. We are not a country of people who 'know their place'. This is a country in which most people/families have had to start at the bottom and work their way up. We are a country of immigrants and each one of our families started out as an outsider. I think this has led to the people in America being a bit friendlier than you may see in other places. This is our cultural legacy.

An analogy: When you eat a hamburger, you will enjoy it more if you expect it to taste like a hamburger. If you expect it to taste like filet mignon, you will not be enjoying your hamburger, nor will you be getting a filet, therefore your whole experience will be wasted. My advice is to enjoy America for what it is and enjoy France for what it is.



Part of the reason for your less-than-stellar treatment at Chanel, whether deserved or not, is a function of your age. 15 year olds are not typically thought of as serious luxury consumers. I remember when I was your age walking along Michigan Avenue (in Chicago) with a girlfriend and browsing in luxury stores. I was watched closely and not 'helped'. (Being 15 years old and not from a wealthy family, I wasn't buying either, and so the treatment I received was fair.) Try not to take your treatment personally. I'm sure that once you start dropping some money at the stores, they will remember you next time and treat you accordingly. ;)



In any case, welcome to my country. I hope you enjoy your stay here, whether it is long or short.:biggrin:
Very good post!!
 

Tikoma

Member
Your thread name is wrong and generalized. You want to compare SAs in Europe with SAs in the US. You know that there are alot of countries in Europe and each country has a different culture, customs and character/temper, right?

Also you only talk about france, so maybe your thread should be renamed in "SAs in France vs SAs in the US".

Sorry but i'm annoyed by americans always refering to Europe but then only talking about one specific country or even city. :smile:


To your topic: The SAs in Paris seem to be more arrogant than the ones in the US, but the ones in the US seem to be more easily annoyed when the store is stuffed with tourists than the ones in Germany for example. That's my experience.

The best SA's are the ones in malls like the Galerie Lafayette, Saks etc.
 
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lulilu

O.G.
Mar 28, 2006
25,924
14,587
iiving the dream
Americans are more casual than Europeans, for better or for worse. I am an American by birth and I often pine for a bit more elegance or formality, but it is hard to come by in this friendly and informal land. (I have had to instruct the neighborhood children to call me Mrs.XYZ and not address me by my first name!) QUOTE]

This is one of my pet peeves. My kids always warned their friends not to call me by my first name or "mom." They knew I'd call the kid on it.

This happens often in business these days too. I am often addressed by my first name by doctors' assistants, colleagues' assistants, etc. I don't know if it's because we are both women, or it is their common practice. But I don't appreciate it.