Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tiffany Experience

Shops do not just sell things, they sell consumer experience. At least that is what their marketing departments tell us. Tiffany & Co. seems to have a special interpretation of this idea. Anyway, while shopping at Tiffany´s prestigious Manhattans 5th Avenue shop I had a very special consumer experience.

I tried to get a necklace for my American girlfriend as a christmas present. I was told that the preferred item, a chain with a beautiful snowflake made of tiny diamond splitters, was out of stock there. But no problem, they have it in their Wall Street Shop and can deliver it the next day to 5th Av, I was told. I accepted and agreed with the salesperson to fetch the item the next day at their midtown shop. I paid in advance with my creditcard. The salesperson also demanded my adress and I gave her my name and the Manhattan adress of my girlfriend where I staid then, just the street and the number of the tenant house where she lives.

Next day this salesperson wasn´t there. I approached another salesperson to get the ordered necklace. This person went away and some minutes later came back, without the item. Instead she showed me a paper, and claimed that the product has already been send to me at and the Manhattan adress of my girlfriend. I responded that this is a misunderstanding and there is a agreement that I get the necklace at the Tiffany`s shop 5th Avenue. The salesperson reacted unpolitely and uncooperatively. She claimed gruffly that the product was already handed out as stipulated. Therefore I should have it already. I tried to explain that I am not a citizen of New York and there is no adress with my name and a street number in Manhattan, therefore the product couldn´t be delivered there. No success.

I demanded to talk to a superior of the salesperson, who soon arrived. The superior was polite and friendly and listened to my explanations. She offered me a place to seat, asked me to wait and went off to research the transaction.

After some minutes the superior came back. And - voila - she had the snowflake, which she called "charm". But - no chain. "Didn´t she hand it out to you?" she asked surprised, referring to the salesperson, which whom I ordered the product the day before. I answered, that I should I get the whole necklace, thus chain and snowflake, in one piece. I didn´t think to buy both pieces apart. Some customers do that, I was told.

The salesperson went off again, searchig now for the missing chain. Finally she came back, with the chain. Reflief! The salesperson put the necklace, now complete, in a Christmas bag. She also refunded $21,78 with the first salesperson has billed me for sending the necklace to the non-existing Manhattan adress.

The whole procedre cost me around 45 minutes and a lot of sweat. Yes, it could have happened elsewhere, but at Tiffany & Co. Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, one of the famoust shops on the earth? Who have thought that. Maybe Tifffany & Co. should consider a new offer for their customers: Adventure shopping. There is a market for everything.

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