artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


29 August 2011

people I am going to the Harry Winston store and I don't want to be shuffled out quickly.
explain to me how to fake it so I get taken seriously (i.e. shown a range of stuff over a good half hour or so)[More:]

so far I got

* dress up a bit (suit jacket? full suit)
* go after work hours, call in advance
* mention a working range budget ('I'm not looking over $40k') and a time range (3 months?)
* ask questions about the materials and be engaged about the products in general
* take a mysterious woman with you like we're shopping for something (okay just kidding on this one)
I don't know about the budget and time range. That sounds awkward and contrived. I'd instead be more specific about who/what you're shopping for (gift for fiance, diamonds, sapphires, whatever). Here, at least, I think phrases like "really nice gift" or "special gift" might serve you better.

If they ask price range, then certainly give it, but volunteering it first, like I said, seems weird, especially if it's that large. And I don't understand the time range thing at all. Is that just to show them that you're not buying today? That's not going to serve your purpose. Look, be engaged, act interested, ask good questions, and then make sure you ask for the individual salesperson's business card so that when you (theoretically) come back, they'll get the commission for the work they put in.

posted by occhiblu 29 August | 10:16
Oh, I meant to say, when you're acting interested and engaged, try to gravitate toward stuff that would be in your hypothetical price range. Maybe check out their website ahead of time to get a sense of what that might be.
posted by occhiblu 29 August | 10:19
Watch Le Cercle Rouge. You see how Jansen (Yves Montand) goes in and cases the jewelry store? That's how you do it.

Eveningwear, nice overcoat, only remove one glove (hold the empty glove in the gloved hand as you walk in), leave your sunglasses on until the clerk gives you a piece to examine (for this, you put the empty glove in your coat pocket and hold the jewelry in your gloved hand), be sure to notice something in a case across the showroom ("Ah, wristwatches!"), don't waste much breath in banter, let the staff impress you and ignore all but the most direct and useful questions. Also be dreamy.

Then say, "Both are very nice. I'll have to think about it," before you stand up to leave.
posted by Hugh Janus 29 August | 10:35
Actually maybe it's not eveningwear, but I'm pretty sure M. Montand wears a bowtie... maybe I'm thinking of his heist togs.
posted by Hugh Janus 29 August | 10:39
Talk to me Harry Winston tell me all about it.

Why feel intimated, you're the customer, they're the shiny rock dealer. You already sound more informed than the average buyer. Know your price range and stick to it, ask questions, do indeed tell them what/what/who you're looking for, more information = beter.

As for dress up, friend of mine had a windfall and decided she would by one ridiculously purposeless luxury item. So she goes to Saks' with uncombed hair, no makeup, ballet flats and an oversized men's t-shirt. She's ignored of course until she says the magic words "I want to try on the Louboutins." and then it was WHISKED into the private room with the tea and smiles.
posted by The Whelk 29 August | 10:42
Louboutin: The Chartreuse Suede Daffys! Courtney just died a little.
posted by Ardiril 29 August | 10:53
occhiblu I was just thinking about what kinda conversation I have when I'm actually trying to buy something expensive and price definitely comes into that (for example currently I can't afford anything above a couple grand so when a store shows me $15k watches I just dismiss it out of hand like yeah that's nice but...) As does time range like I'm not just writing a check immediately, I want to be making a couple trips over a period of months before I close the deal. So I just analogized it I guess?

yeah I mean I usually get by fine just walking in with my jeans & t-shirt but I've had a couple jarring experiences at one store and I guess for some reason I have a ... I don't know why but I get a bit overly miffed at feeling socially slighted sometimes, like it bothers me. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things right but I'm one of those guys who never wants to go to a club where I'll get 'bounced', I'd rather not go at all.. so I'd rather not go to a store and feel like they're being clippy
posted by Firas 29 August | 11:23
Louboutins are interesting. It's funny that in the course of time I've been aware of this luxury stilleto industry the 'in' shoe has gone from Manolo Blahnik to Jimmy Choo to Christian Louboutin and the prices have been skyrocketing all the while. There's something really wrong when an $800 shoe you bought in 2005 is no longer serving its purpose in 2011. People are chasing mirages or something
posted by Firas 29 August | 11:29
Eh, fashion has worked that since before forever.
posted by The Whelk 29 August | 11:30
Diamond, for example, used to be considered fairly gaudy and common.
posted by The Whelk 29 August | 11:32
The more confident you are (or fake you are) in your right to be there, the better off you'll be. Don't feel you need to justify your presence or your request that the salespeople do their jobs. You want to look at jewelry; their job is to show you jewelry. That's it. If they're being clippy, you can either give them the evil eye until they start acting polite or ask to speak with someone else.

Also, I assume you're doing this without the actual intention of buying anything (please correct me if I'm wrong), which means there's no reason to get nervous about the price range, right? Look around a bit first, pick out a few sparkly things you'd like to see more closely, and then ask them to show those things to you. If you want to see more, point out what you like about those things and ask for recommendations that might be similar.

I think if you let it be a more organic process (which I think is what Hugh's example achieves), it'll be a bit less nerve-wracking.
posted by occhiblu 29 August | 11:33
And if they bring out super-expensive things, just say that they're gorgeous but don't get into nitty-gritty about them. Most people look at stuff out of their price range. There's a Reine de Naples watch I visit every few months that I have no means or intention of buying, and they're happy to show it to me, knowing that I have no means or intention of buying it. Oohing and ahhing over beautiful things is fun.
posted by occhiblu 29 August | 11:39
Chasing mirages is what redistributes the wealth. I have no problem with conspicuous consumerism because somebody else is making a living from it.
posted by Ardiril 29 August | 11:39
Ardiril what's going on though is that instead of rewarding excellent shoemakers what these people in the shopping/magazine/retail culture end up doing is rewarding the shareholders of companies that can do excellent marketing. I was just thinking about this brand 'Chopard', why it's become so sexy recently and have been reading a bit about how they've been really aggressively pursuing the celebrity-marketing strategy over the last decade. It's fascinating that you can just 'create' reality like that. Cutting through the hype and finding 'real' quality instead of 'sexy' name-recognition is sometimes just impossible
posted by Firas 29 August | 11:52
it's a mangled quote from Unseen Acadecimals, spoken by a fashion designer to the effect that if nothing else high fashion makes very rich people slightly less rich.
posted by The Whelk 29 August | 12:01
Shareholders are just as responsible for bringing a luxury good to market as any of the craftsman involved.
posted by Ardiril 29 August | 12:16
Had a similar experience buying a tablecloth at Frette (my first friend to get married and a friend of many years, good and bad). Put that MFer on my debit card. Take that, salespeople!
posted by skbw 29 August | 12:22
Shareholders are just as responsible for bringing a luxury good to market as any of the craftsman involved.

they're not interested in quality though. they're interested in dividends.
posted by Firas 29 August | 12:32
meaning you kinda read me wrong, my point isn't about remuneration it's about cutting through the haze of names and prices to check if a product is worth its price or not. When the whole desirability can be manufactured out of thin air and the decisions made towards producing it aren't made by a private but a public company (this makes a massive difference) then you have two strong trends towards creating products that are essentially scams. you can't just start quoting Mises 101 :) when we're talking about products that I essentially feel can earn genuine aesthetic respect, respect that's set by more than market forces
posted by Firas 29 August | 12:38
Forget trying to pose, unless you have the means to pull it off. They'll size you up in two seconds by your clothes, shoes, watch, briefcase (pocketbook for women), sunglasses, existing jewelry, manicure, you name it. If they carry things in your price range, though, I'm sure they'll be happy to show them to you. They're in the business to sell, after all. A smart sales person will be courteous and helpful, no matter what, to avoid bad buzz, if nothing else. If you're just browsing for pleasure, maybe go when the store's not too busy, browse the nice cases and see how they respond. I'm sure they get looky-lous all the time. If someone's rude to you, just politely wave them off and keep looking as you like. Don't take it personal. They don't know you, after all. And it's not like they can afford the stuff themselves.

(in terms of whether something's worth the price, remember, people are like peacocks, they like to show off)
posted by Pips 29 August | 12:57
"they're not interested in quality" - I don't think that is a fair appraisal. Quality is a relative term, and shareholders are very much concerned that customers are satisfied with the quality they receive. Also, how many fashion houses are public companies? I would imagine most are single owner or extremely limited partnerships. Also, why are you supposing that those shoes (or whatever) are inferior quality-wise? Are your quality standards the same as those who actually buy the shoes?

"When the whole desirability can be manufactured out of thin air and the decisions made towards producing it aren't made by a private but a public company" - This describes Hollywood to a T. You may as well argue what good does a motion picture made for $15 million do for the world. Most people will never see it, and of those who do, they will only watch it once. After that, the film becomes no more than a diminishing revenue stream. However, the bulk of the production goes directly into the trash when finished (some will be recycled), and the final product is no more than a large data file.

Anyway, as Pips said. Further, those customers who you see receive fantastic service are most likely regulars.

An even more extreme example is the daily news industry; their entire output is virtually worthless 24 hours later, and 95% of their output is worthless in the first place.
posted by Ardiril 29 August | 13:06
very few widely retailing luxury brands are parts of private corporations. like you can count them on your fingers. Rolex... Dolce and Gabbana..

Also, why are you supposing that those shoes (or whatever) are inferior quality-wise? Are your quality standards the same as those who actually buy the shoes?

I don't quite follow the question... I haven't yet bought shoes over $200 but yeah as I look towards the mid-range luxury brands this is something I've been pondering a lot. The big marketing firms with massive price stickers and the firms that specialize in their craft are almost different cultures. Both will sell you something very expensive and something that's nicer than your average mall-store shoe but there's a wide chasm beyond that. Just walking into a high-brand store and buying something without knowing whether they're good at making that thing is asking for trouble

If your point is, prices are 'real' markers--sure, I get that. Whatever the product is, the end result is that someone wants it and therefore it's worth that price in a way. I totally agree with that too.
posted by Firas 29 August | 13:25
I got off on some weird tangent. Ignore me.
posted by Ardiril 29 August | 14:32
No worries. You are the customer, they are the seller. Dress as you like, feel no need to disclose your price range or the size of your bank account, and look at whatever you like. Seriously, the more you act as if you are of course entitled to be there, the more respectful they will be.
posted by bearwife 29 August | 15:09
Go in and act like Gary Busey. Maybe ask to see something over 10k and then eat it.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs 29 August | 20:48
I would love to hear how it went, if you feel like posting an update.
posted by occhiblu 29 August | 21:08
sure, it'll be a couple days but I'll post an update :) Thanks for the info! Yeah the main thing I'll do this time round that I don't usually is to be laid-back about being shown things that I'm not really thinking about, just look at it and talk about it a bit. I actually looked online a bit more and it does seem like they compete with Cartier etc on the lower end so apparently it's not all over the top
posted by Firas 30 August | 07:55
The Dinner Party As Religious Ritual. || Good Monday to everyone!