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A Tale of Two Salespeople

I decided that a new pair of Birkenstocks would be just the job for post surgery. I'm not to be allowed to bend at the waist, apparently, and Birks have the advantage of slipping on and staying on, also can be worn with and without socks. So. Salesclerk 1, and shop 1, where I had bought some trendy Japanese shoes a couple of months ago before my trip to England. She remembered me, and the shoes, and asked me how I was doing in them. She advised against the nubuck suede that I had been thinking about in Birks, suggesting that they might not give as much support, and was generally just sweet and helpful, but not high pressure. Unfortunately, having given up on nubuck suede, I decided on black leather, which of course they didn't have in stock but did have on order. I did try the leather ones in another colour, and we established that they felt great, so I knew exactly what size and shape I wanted. She offered to take my name and phone me when they came in. I said I would try at another store, as I was anxious to get them sooner rather than later if I could, but would phone if I needed to.

Salesclerk 2, shop 2. They didn't have black leather, but they did have the nubuck suede that I had wanted originally, so I decided to try it. Whether it was because of the material, or because he (and I suspect the gender here is significant)had given me a wider fitting, these just didn't feel as secure as the leather ones. He didn't believe me. No no, he says. It's nothing to do with the uppers, it's the sole that counts with Birkenstocks. And you should buy them NOW, or you might get plantar fasciitis (or however you spell it) from wearing them too much when you do get them. No understanding about the different quality of the two materials. Even going so far as to imply that I was exaggerating the problem of bending, saying that he'd known several people who'd been through hip surgery... so have I, BUSTER, and you definitely are NOT allowed to bend at the waist!! Anyway, I was perfectly polite and just told him I couldn't make up my mind and maybe I'd go back later.

Then I went back to Shop 1 and told clerk 1 what a sweetie she was and what a difference it made dealing with her instead of an arrogant so and so who was desperate to make a sale, and put in my order for my black leather Birkenstocks.

My friend KP said that, though I rewarded the nice clerk, it would be more helpful in the greater scheme of things NOT to be polite to the arrogant so and so, but to tell him in no uncertain terms why he would be the LAST person I would buy anything from, evah. But we just don't do that, do we, except in "don't you wish you'd said" kind of conversations...


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2006 02:07 am (UTC)
Have had both nubuck and leather Birks, and have found the leather ones hold up better over the long-term. The nubuck material tended to stretch and lose supportiveness over time. I think you made the right choice, definitely! I also agree about breaking them in before you have to wear them all the time - it can be hard on the feet for a few days there, and I'm sure you don't need that on top of hip surgery!
Jul. 15th, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
the last word
try sending an email to the store, or the 'chain.' i'm a slow processor, and always think of what i would have liked to have said about a day later! So i find just phoning or emailing works well--and plus, there is no "face" attached to the constructive criticism. i try to do this with positive comments too!
Jul. 15th, 2006 04:31 am (UTC)
how about a john irving novel?? nice and long...prayer for owen meany (of course) if you haven't read it! or how about wuthering heights again? I could definitely have that read to me aloud! Or, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. We read that aloud every night at Christmas--any children's stories are great to read out loud!
Jul. 15th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
Wuthering Heights? Yes... that sounds like a good idea. And I've actually never read any John Irving, so that's another possibility. I was thinking about Trollope, if I can find one for download.
Jul. 15th, 2006 09:32 am (UTC)
I'd second the email or letter to the shoe shop companies - praise for the helpful shop assistant, constructive criticism and explanation of why you have no intention of buying from th epushy guy. Feedback is rare enough that it tends to work well.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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