Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Perfumers Make The Most Annoying Customers...
I was in Harrods the other day and I walked up to the Loewe counter to try 7. Within moments, a smiling, well-groomed gentleman popped up before me, urging me to spray the scent on my skin. I should say I generally have no problem whatsoever with sales staff. I'm aware there are lots of bloggers out there who have had many unpleasant experiences in shops, but I guess I've just been rather fortunate so far: most of the SAs I've encountered have been friendly and patient, if a little clueless, which takes me back to my story...
I delivered my usual line about preferring to spray on paper first and, in the interests of keeping up the conversation, I said, "So this has got only seven ingredients, right?"
"Yes," he replied, "it's the only fragrance ever made with seven."
"No, it certainly isn't," I said, my smile broadening, "in fact, I could name you at least one other that's got only seven."
Uncertainty clouded his face: it was clear that he didn't know whether to agree with me - because the customer is always right - or to disagree - because his Loewe trainer had assured him that 7 is utterly unique.
After a few moments during which it was clear that he wasn't going to say a word, I decided to help him out. "In fact," I said, "the other fragrance is also based on frankincense."
"Oh, but this one isn't based on frankincense! It does have a little frankincense in it, but it's based mostly around incense."
"But..." I couldn't quite keep a note of bewilderment from entering my voice, "when we say that a fragrance contains incense, we mean frankincense."
"No, but this one's different. This has incense. It's completely different from frankincense. It's like a... like an incense..." he began edging away from the counter, "... not like frankincense. It's something... something quite different." And I think the incredulity on my face must have been so clear, that he just gave up and shuffled away.
So here's a question for those of you who have ever visited London's most famous department store. What do you think of the service at the perfume section of Harrods? Is it relaxed and attentive or off-putting and snooty?