Sunday, July 24, 2011

Handbag and Treatment, Nordstrom Experience

Have you guys read this Purseblog article called "Are you treated differently when carrying your best bags?" If not, I high recommend that you click on the link, get over to Purseblog and read it. FYI, I agree with Amanda 100% and couldn've said it better here. I'm very bad at voicing opinions but good at stating facts. (I think this comes with the engineering bring up and background.) So today I'd like to simply tell the story and let you form the opinions if you didn't have one on this subject already.

Yesterday I went to the mall simply to return a Zara purchase. I didn't have any other mall activity in mind so I just asked hubby to go with me and we made it out in half an hour. We usually park at the underground parking connected to Nordstrom, so we had to walk through Nordstrom in order to get back to the car. On our way meandering through the store, my eyes caught the Stuart Weitzman 'Cadet' boot on anniversary sale on display. My order wouldn't come till Tuesday, and I couldn't wait to try these boots on, so I stopped over and pulled the boot off the shelf and sat down to try it on. 
An friendly SA came over and asked me if I needed any help.  (I usually do get that level of treatment. But that's it.) I told her that I was just trying the boots I ordered that didn't come yet out to see if it'll fit, and it was too big. She offered to get a size 5.5 for me. I was very thankful. Unfortunately because of the heat and the sunscreen I put on my leg, I had a hard time putting the boots on and off. I felt that I didn't have the right socks/tights to make the decision so I told her that I'll pass. She said ok, and asked me to try a pair of name brand flats that I forgot the name of. Out of politeness I tried on. I didn't like the look at all, but remembered that I wanted to try on an AGL flats that are on Anniversary sale. So I asked her if she had any AGL flats on sale. She said yes. then brought out 5 boxes. (FYI, I had to size down to 5.5 on AGL flats, but they are soooooo comfy. I know I've said it before.) I had my eyes on a pair that was purple and black, but not on sale. When I saw that pair, rest don't seem to fit the standard.  While I was trying those flats on, the nice SA lady went to the back and brought out some Prada pumps. "Try this!" she "ordered". I had no intention to buy pumps, so I told her that I wasn't in the market for pumps and I usually can't walk in them. She was not discourage by it, and said"Just try these, you'll see what I'm talking about." I did try them on, and I did understand what she was talking about. These pumps ARE comfortable.  Then before I know it, I was trying on different sizes and colors... I hope I haven't bored you too much yet, but I want to take a pause now to explain why I'm writing all this in detail.  FYI, I was wearing this baby of mine on this shopping trip.
I have been to Nordstrom Shoes department a handful of times before, wearing my various bags - Coach, MT, etc. NEVER have I been this fuzzed about before! I usually get a hello, let me know if you need any help, and never more. Were they just so bored yesterday that they decided to treat me like a queen? Or was this little beauty sitting next to me the whole time that was doing the work? My Loft top/cardi and F21 shorts couldn't have done it, could they?

One more picture of the purple flats that I LOVE. (bottom left) 

 My fact telling is done. What was your experience in handbag vs. treatment?


  1. what an interesting experience!  I did notice a few years ago when I got my first Louis Vuitton purse that I was treated a little differently...  the sales associates did offer me a little more help than I previously ever received.  I guess the SAs knew I had money I was willing to spend on things, lol.  A purse really does make a difference! 

    Btw, I'm sure they were drooling over your red Chanel just like I am now.  :)

  2. Interesting....I definitely think people treat you differently based on how you look and how you're dressed and what accessories you have at any given time....I know I look really young, so if I go out dressed like crap with no makeup on and a ponytail, I am definitely treated differently then if I dress up a little more....I definitely think the purse can have that effect!

  3. Excellent topic, Vicky, and one that I have many thoughts on. I love that photo of you surrounded by shoe boxes, with a huge smile on your face. The last time I went to Nordstrom at Natick, the SA did the same thing and proactively suggested many types of shoes and shoe brands for me to try on, bringing out more and more boxes to see if any were to my liking. I was quite surprised (and personally found it a bit annoying because I just wanted to try ONE shoe) and it is bothering me that I can't remember what bag I was carrying. Darn.

    Overall though I definitely believe that the handbag you carry affects the treatment you receive at higher end stores. Really though, the overall package counts (like are you in scrubs and flip flops, or dressed a little more put together?) but a handbag is an easy identifier for sales associates, that they can instantaneously use to assess your spending power. As terrible as this may sound to us shoppers, I have to admit I've seen all too often ppl barging into stores, touching everything and pulling things off the racks, with zero intentions to buy, so if I were a longtime SA, I could very well become jaded and judge shoppers the same way.

    On a last note, I personally choose SAs to work with based on their treatment of me when I have no apparent capacity nor willingness to buy (does that make any sense?). I am loyal to my Burberry SA because he was so helpful to me even when I was clearly a poor college student just browsing, and I have also seen him be very kind to someone who was obviously homeless but browsing the Newbury St store. Also, I really love your Bloomingdales SA, Jane, as I've seen her be very kind and helpful to shoppers completely regardless of how they're dressed or what they're browsing.

  4. Very interesting! I'm afraid I've come across this 'discrepancy' in treatment in my shopping life in London. I just assumed it was because they get so many people passing through they can't be attentive to every individual all of the time. I've also noticed the more senior SAs would serve those customers who seem more intent on buying and leaving the rest to the juniors! Anyway in general the SAs in the major boutiques don't waste their time so I learnt a long time ago you need to dress appropriately to get the best service - a little sad but true, at least in London. I wonder if that's true of every big city?

    All I can add about your photo is 'Pretty Woman'! Lol! And does your top match your little red patent beauty?

  5. LOL You are so cute Vicky! I love love the photo with all the shoes and you grinning from ear to ear!! Wow- I couldn't agree with you more! I def get treated differently when wearing my Chanel's vs. something else. And when I am grubbed out- def a diff experience. Also- when Hubby is in a suit- we get treated like royalty...

    GREAT post!!! :D

  6. Too bad the boots do not fit! :(

    I think it is 50/50 with me.  But I think my age is what a SA at a high-end store see the most, not my purse. They see someone who appears young, and assume I am not going to be spending anything, so they do not give me as much attention.  :/  Frustrating.

    So did you get the pumps?! :p

  7. You know, I get that treatment sometimes and I don't even have a fancy purse...but those are days when I'm more dressed up and put together. Plus, I'm a perennial browser, so I stroll through the sales floor casually looking at items and inspecting the few that really pop out to me, so maybe it looks like I care more about what I'm buying? Who knows? At Nordstrom, when I try on shoes at the Salon Shoes section, they usually give me other recommendations too. So maybe that's just their way of making you feel extra special so you'd want to buy from them. =)

  8. I think there was another thread on tPF awhile ago on this same topic, and most people had the same experiences as you. Since reading that, I've been semi-conscious of comparing what bag I carry vs what type of treatment I receive. Maybe it's a lack of data, but my experiment so far is inconclusive, lol. It doesn't matter what I'm wearing or what bag I'm carrying, because I don't get approached often. When I do, it's usually a simple, "Hello. How may I help you today?" SAs are never pushy towards me. I think it has to do with my facial expression... I'm kinda aloof looking, maybe borderline mean, haha.

    Slightly off topic, but there has been a few times where a SA would stop me to say she loves my top, or my dress, or whatever clothing I'm wearing, but NOT comment on my Chanel or Bal. I hate to say it, but that usually wins me over. If they gushed over my Chanel (since it's so recognizable), it just seems so fake to me, even if they genuinely do like it.

  9. Great question! I've certainly been treated differently depending on what I'm wearing or what handbag I'm carrying. I've gone to Beverly Hills right after work wearing my slubby lab-nerd attire (jeans, cardigan, low kitten heels and boring every-day handbag) and been largely ignored, even if I'm buying something. I remember going to Hermes once to pick up a gift after work and even though I was going to BUY something, the sales associates stood around chatting with one another while I searched the store high and low for what I was looking for without anyone offering to help me. Other days, I would go there dressed up (nice jeans, cute heels, blazer, Chanel handbag) and even though I was just browsing and not going to buy anything, I got SA's asking if they could help me more times that I could count.

    I like to choose what I'm wearing or carrying based on my intentions and where I'm going that day. If I'm going somewhere snobby and want SA's to help me, I dress up a little. If I want to be left alone, I dress down.

  10. Vicky, thank you very much for your warm words. I do appreciate them and now I am feeling much better.

    I love your smile as always. I got the same pair of SW boots last winter and they are so soft and comfortable.

    Happy shopping! :)

  11. Aw, thank you, Bellring! 
    Did you wear it in any of your outfit posts? If so please send link.

  12. Your Burberry SA is pretty amazing, and so is my Bloomingdale Chanel SA, Jane.
    Maybe what the girl did was the Natick Nordstrom common practice? I certainly have not been treated like this before though.

  13. I think I was saying "These flats are what I'm gonna get when they go on sale." Don't know why I was grinning from ear to ear. :)

  14. Oh, no. Those pumps are way beyond my comfort zone, and they were not on sale. 

  15. It's a guilt trap as well though. I felt bad not buying anything from her after she spent so much time with me. 

  16. You have the warmest face and eyes that can talk, Cee. I don't believe you can be "aloof looking", or "borderline mean". 



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