Retail Confessions: Chanel, Part I
"There was a woman whose dog had chewed on her python flats... She was like, 'I spent $12,000 on these shoes.'"
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In “Retail Confessions,” luxury retail employees talk about what it’s really like to sell the world’s most expensive fashion items. Anonymity is granted to allow for the most honest discussion. Below, we hear from a former employee of one of Chanel’s Las Vegas boutiques, who worked there in the 2010s. A second part on Chanel, featuring different geographic markets, will come out next week for paid subscribers. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
So, Las Vegas. What was it like?
I was in charge of repairs. One time, this woman had put her new white lambskin bag through TSA – they had just thrown it onto the conveyor belt – and it was crushed, it was stained different colors, streaked black. She brought it back in, like, “Fix this.” And I'm like, I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with this.
Because it's lambskin leather, it's very hard to clean. We tried very hard to let people know, these are the care instructions, this is a very nice, delicate bag. And she just went off on me like, “This is terrible. You're not doing your job correctly. You don't know what you're doing.” I had a lot of people treat me subpar.
What other repairs did people request?
We had a lot of people who would leave their lipstick open in their bag or spill a coffee in their bag. And I understand, accidents happen. Those were heartbreaking for me because they had spent so much.
There was a woman whose dog had chewed on her python flats. They were very pretty. They were blue. I was like, “I don't know how we're going to fix this. We could reinforce it, but at the end of the day, a dog chewed on it.” She was very unhappy because she was like, “I spent $12,000 on these shoes.”
I imagine that in Las Vegas you get some interesting customers.
We would get a lot of people who would wander in from off the strip drunk, maybe high, just doing their thing, but [under the influence]. This woman came in and she wanted to try on ready-to-wear. We're not going to deny anyone, so if she wants to try on things, we'll let her. She ended up walking into our fitting rooms and threw up on three different pieces – like $30,000 [worth of clothes]. We didn't even know what to do.
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