Do High-End Boutiques Fashionably Discriminate?

The other day, I went into a very exclusive boutique. You know, the kind with the all-glass front, and the man at the door who has to unlock the door for you, and the shoes start at $1,500 a pop and the dresses run into the tens of thousands. I wasn’t going in there just to be a lookie-loo, either. I was interested in buying a ring that they had in stock. Unfortunately, I got treated like a potential shoplifter. Is that right?Granted, I am not Paris Hilton. I didn’t parade into the store with a Louis Vuitton bag on my arm and a pair of Manolos on my feet. On the one hand, I understand the perspective of the salesperson on duty who eyed me and dismissed me in less than five seconds flat. I used to work in retail and as a waitress; I know the deal — the sizing up of customers, the weighing of how much effort to put into the transaction. It’s part of the hustle.

But the fact of the matter is that I was going in there looking to buy. I’d seen this ring I wanted online, and if the fit was right, I was going to spoil myself by buying it. The salesperson pulled the ring from the case, but they only had the gold one, not the silver one I liked. Sliding it on my finger, he grimaced politely. I could tell he was waiting for this waste of his sales time to be over. Surely, I wasn’t going to purchase it, he figured. Why should he act otherwise?

After I returned the ring and explained it wasn’t the one I wanted, I wandered through the store. I’m a huge fan of the designer, and I was happier in that boutique than I would be days later when I wandered through a museum. His clothes are works of art, and looking at them was inspiring. Meanwhile, the salesman shadowed me at a distance of about eight feet. Maybe he was making sure to be there in case I needed help — but it didn’t really seem like it. It seemed more like he wanted to make sure I didn’t grab a dress, stuff it in my purse, and make a dash for the front door.

I left feeling like a pauper in a princess shop. If was going to steal something — and I wasn’t — I’d find a place with less security — I mean, right? Have you ever had a similar experience?

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