Thursday, May 08, 2008

This store doesn’t really want to sell me that dress and other annoyances in customer service

I want need to buy a new dress.

I’m hosting a party in a few weeks and I’ve left it to the last minute. With my recent weight loss, I have a lot more options than I did a couple months ago so I have a valid reason for procrastinating.

Unfortunately, several stores are putting obstacles in my way.

I found what potentially could be a great dress at Femme de Carrière last week. It’s actually a near copy of an amazing Lida Baday dress for 1/3 the price! It needs work but I’m not sure my ever-so-talented (and affordable) dressmaker can do what needs to be done.

The dress is perfect except for the pointy, Gauthier-inspired boobs. So, what’s the big deal? It costs a pretty penny and the store has a “no refund” policy. It’s a chain store so I don’t understand the reasoning behind such an inflexible return policy.

Next, I went to Want. It’s not really my thing and to be honest, I think a lot of the dresses look like high-end skank. The dress is for my son’s party and let’s face it, teenage boys don’t want their mothers looking like Madonna or a whore.

I bumped into a friend who convinced me to give Want another try. So I entered into the Saturday pre-prom craziness. Under strict instructions, I asked “Mimi” to help me. She did a great job of bringing me dresses I’d never choose for myself. To be honest, each one looked better than the next. The winner was a Nicole Miller creation. It was sexy, sophisticated and maybe a bit too much of both for this party. I’m still trying to decide. It was almost double the price of the dress I had liked at that first store.

Mimi shared a few interesting lines (paraphrased below):
If I didn’t want anyone else to show up in the same dress, I’d have to spend at least $400. There was only one dress in my size and she wouldn’t hold it for me (I asked her to hold it for a couple hours as I was leaving for an appointment.) Not only that, she asked if I was going to buy it NOW and if not, she had another customer in the store waiting to try it on. And… you guessed it, no refunds.

Next, I went downtown with a friend. She was on self-designated “dress duty”. BCBG had several fabulous looking dresses. They also had a special promotion. Spend $300 or more and save $100. I heard them calling my name.

I tried several dresses. They were all okay. One looked great but it wasn’t right for the occasion. Connie (who has the patience of a saint) found another that fit perfectly and looked pretty darn good. I couldn’t decide if it was special enough. There were lots of sales staff around but none seemed to offer much by way of service. I asked them to hold it for an hour or two. No can do and of course, they don’t offer refunds. BTW, they wouldn’t let us take a picture either!

Looks like three strikes and I’m out. Stay tuned for further adventures in dress shopping. Trip #3 this weekend!


  1. That's disgusting! I've been having a terrible time with retail customer service lately too. No one answering phones, no one around to answer questions in the stores... It's been really unpleasant. I feel your pain.

  2. I am a creature of habit and usually stick to the same group of stores when I shop for clothes. I've been trying something different and checking out new ones. Unfortunately, as you can tell from the post, they don't seem to want me as a customer.

    Fortunately, I had an incredible experience at a neighbourhood boutique last night. Not sure if I'll actually buy my dress there (they've put it on hold for me until Saturday night) but I will be writing a stellar post once my search is complete.

  3. Ridiculous about BCBG, I would go to a different store. The one at Yorkdale once put a dress on hold for me on Dec. 24... you do the math, they knew why I was there. I loved and bought the dress, and I think that they should put yours on hold too. Go to a different store and try it, if you really love the dress.

    Just out of curiousity - did you manage to make friends with any of the salespeople, because that helps a lot. This girl at the Bayview Village Mendocino is my bff and has great style to boot. I love what she picks out for me and goes the extra mile for everyone... finding the right salespeople makes a difference.

  4. I would also try Girl Friday on West Queen West for something elegant that won't do too much damage. For that matter there are a number of awesome boutiques in that area that are sure to please :)

  5. Henna,
    I'm beyond the BCBG dress. Their loss.

    Lucky for you though. Yes, of course I make friends with the salespeople that's why I'm getting such great service at Narnia even though I've only purchased on sweater from them in the past - and it was on sale! They rock! I need to expand my list of regulars though. I usually go to stores where I can grab my size off the rack, try things and home and return what doesn't work. I'm a shopping bulimic. ;)

    I tried an amazing Girl Friday dress but the boutique only had one size left and it was huge. I will try going to the Girl Friday store either today or another time. I agree their dresses are elegant, made from lovely fabrics and current designs.

    Thanks for all your suggestions. I've had a lot of help from the Toronto fashion blogger community - you rock!

  6. I was particularly irked about not being able to take a photo of you in the dress so you could compare/show to others.

    Meanwhile, this weekend my husband and I were in one of the big box hardware stores and he took photos of bathroom vanities so we could compare. He had no complaints.

    I think it has something to do with supply and demand. I guess dress shopping during prom season means they can treat you like a number!

  7. Connie, In retrospect, I'm glad BCBG didn't let us take pics. They did me a favour. Otherwise, I may have ended up buying the dress and missed another great day of shopping - this time with Mish - and an even better dress.

    That's not to say I forgive BCBG's crummy policies.


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