"The Customer is King." - Unknown
I am going to take the opportunity in this post to discuss the process of shopping for a wedding dress at a very well-known (and sometimes well-loved) bridal shop located throughout the United States - let's call it Dan's Bridal. Before you read any further, you should know that I am shamefacedly using my blog as a public forum for a certain amount of lambasting (and sarcasm), so if you really love Dan's Bridal, you should stop reading now!!!
Last Wednesday, my mother and I started our wedding dress search at Dan's. At first, everything went pretty well. They had the dresses I had marked as my favorites on-line in my size. We grabbed a stack of dresses and headed for the dressing room.
The first thing that bothered me was the corset that the woman gave me to use while trying on the dresses. Call me crazy, but on one of the most important days of my life, being able to breathe is one of the top five criteria I have for it being enjoyable. However, at this point in the day's excursion, I didn't realize that there were other options, which are much more palatable and kind to the bride. Anyway, after putting on said corset, it was discovered that the corset is not enough. A bride must also wear this. (I should probably take a moment here to say that less is more in my estimation. I do not wish to look like this on my wedding day, but neither do I wish to look like this.)
I played along with the petticoat for awhile. Eventually, however, my mom and I decided to try a few of the dresses without the petticoat. This is when the trouble started with our *wonderful* saleswoman, Anette. Anette is a passive agressive woman, whom we quickly learned likes to mutter things under her breath when you don't meet with her approval. At this point, she started muttering about how her boss wouldn't like it if she saw me in a dress without the petticoat. My mom and I decided to ignore her on this one, and this alone would not have annoyed me much. Sure, Anette was trying to sell us an extra item, but that's what salespeople do, right?
The next extra item Anette tried to push on me was a veil to wear in front of my face, in addition to the one I want to wear hanging down in the back. This is something I'm sure I do not want. Could Anette let it go? No, she started discussing how devastated my father would be if he couldn't lift up my veil, because that's the most important part of the wedding for the father. For the record, I have since queried my dad about this, and he did say he would be quite devastated if I don't have the front veil. He then went into a corner and cried, but that's pretty normal for him around Christmas time.
Anyway, this was annoying, but not yet thoroughly frustrating.
Somewhere along the way, Anette had started bringing me more expensive gowns (again, the savvy saleswoman). The first ones ranged between $300-$600. The later ones had prices around $900-$1000. The dresses were indeed very beautiful, but we had just started looking for dresses, and wanted to look around at some other shops.
This is when Anette pulled out the big guns. There was one particular dress that was $1000, but could be purchased that day for $700. Although it was beautiful, and my favorite, it was still quite expensive, and we told Anette that we were not yet ready to buy a dress that day. In response, Anette muttered to herself.
"Pardon me?" I asked. Anette said it was nothing, but then proceeded to tell us, "If I had known you weren't going to buy a dress today, you could have only seen three dresses, so that we could serve other clients." This attitude was disconcerting to both me and my mother. How are you supposed to know what you eventually want if you don't try on many different things? Additionally, other stores did not impose any such arbitrary rule (perhaps it was Anette's Rule), and other soon-to-be-brides were trying on stacks of dresses the way we were. So, instead of taking the bait and buying the dress, or apologizing for the nerve of wanting to try on several expensive items before making a choice, I made sure to tell her that it was a pleasure to meet her as my mom and I made our way out the door.
Suffice it to say, my overall impression of Anette was not positive, but neither was my impression of Dan's Bridal. There must be immense pressure for Anette to earn commission to encourage that type of "customer service," and that type of attitude does not facilitate a comfortable shopping environment for such an important (and expensive) piece of clothing. My mom and I ended up going to a locally-owned bridal shop that not only had excellent customer service, but also had better quality goods for lower prices. I now have the perfect gown*, but it would have been so much nicer to have bypassed Dan's in the first place.
"If we don't take care of our customers, someone else will." - Unknown
*Don't worry, Drek, this is not the actual dress.