I learned recently that a beloved boutique in my little town was being sold to new owners. “Great!” I thought, because that boutique was NOT beloved by me. It was all about a little customer experience I had there.
It all started 17 years ago. I was on the hunt for my wedding dress–kind of a big deal–and I had found a leading contender at that boutique. We’re not talking a “Say Yes to the Dress”, thousands-of-dollars kind of dress. It was a simple, cocktail type of dress with a high collar that I adored.
Still, it was my first foray out shopping and I wasn’t quite sure yet. So, I asked the clerk on duty if she could put the dress on hold for me. She said sure, asked for my name, required nothing else of me, and I saw her put it in a back room.
Another day of shopping in some traditional bridal shops and I was certain that that first dress was the one for me. So, a few days later I stopped back into that boutique intent on buying that first dress off the rack.
It was gone.
Furthermore, the clerk who told me it was gone made no apologies. No attempt to call other clerks, the store owner, somebody who could say what had gone wrong or where the dress might be. A weakly mumbled, “Sorry,” is what I received. Is this the kind of customer service I could expect there? Apparently.
I’ve been happily married 17 years. I pass by that boutique sometimes twice a day. I’ve never stepped foot in it again. Not when the BIG SUMMER SALE on women’s dresses happened. Not when the WINTER COAT CLEARANCE happened. Not when I needed something fancy for a party. Not when I saw something really great displayed in their window. Nope. Not once. Not ever. Furthermore, any time one of my women friends shows me a great purchase she has made at that store, I demur. I explain politely why I never give that shop my business. In other words, I’ve told LOTS of people this story over the years.
A customer scorned — probably especially a bride — has a very long memory.