Monday, October 20, 2008

Let's Talk About Saks, Baby

Like many good consumers, I was doing my part to stimulate the economy during Saks 5th Avenue's Friends & Family sale. Not that they made it easy for me (other than providing the discount, that is).

It starts with the fact that my local Saks doesn't carry Diane von Furstenberg at all, so I had to order the items I wanted online. It's not a big issue since I didn't pay shipping, but still, it would have been nice to get the immediate gratification. I still went to the store to see what I could find, but their selection is not exactly what I was after (unlike what they offer online). Apparently, I wasn't the only one who felt this way, since the store was mostly dead. The only heavy traffic on the fashion floor was at the Elie Tahari and Theory sections, which are still much smaller than their parallels at Bloomingdale's across the mall (which is where I ended up shopping: they had a pre-sale and offered the same discount % as Saks, and even had my size in stock). Someone up there should take notice what sells and what doesn't, and realize that an empty store during a major sale event indicates more than a crappy economy.

The ghostly fashion floor was depressing, but it didn't stop me from heading towards the light: the makeup counters. Unlike their piranha-esques colleagues from the flagship across the river, the suburban SAs have made ignoring their potential customers into an art form. Not all of them, of course, not for every brand, but several counters were deserted while bewildered customers were trying in vain to get some attention from SAs who have turned into an army of pink lipsticked Helen Kellers with highlights.

At the Bobbi Brown counter, the efficient and gracious Libby was picking up the slack left by her coworkers who had better things to do. The only problem was that I had to wait 15 minutes before I could even test the palette I wanted (more on that later this week). The Estee Lauder counter was buzzing with activity while across the path at Lancôme there was mostly confusion and frustration. I have no doubt that they lost sales as a result.

This isn't just a Jersey issue and I'm not the only one who noticed. Check out this makeupalley thread from three days ago. Someone at Saks should be very worried.


  1. Gosh, at my Saks (Houston Galleria) it's the opposite. You can't begin to walk through the makeup/beauty section without being assaulted by at least 3 SA's bearing perfume sprays or offering something else. You can't even look toward a perfume shelf to see what's there without being pounced on. I'd love some inattention, frankly!!

  2. you're tagged, darling. Sorry

  3. I'll never understand how people who are on commission can be so clueless. I certainly hope that you mention this to the higher-ups at Saks. Heck, print out the page and mail it to them. Email it to the head of marketing. What's the point of giving this thing out if you get ignored when you arrive at the store?

  4. I had a good experience at Saks in San Francisco, but then my person at Chanel always calls me in advance and my items are already rung and ready to pick up when I arrive. OK, I guess it wasn't perfect. The girl in hosiery was a bit ditzy, and I think the SA's at Dries and Yojhi didn't ask if I needed help because 1) I haven't bought anything in a while, and 2) Friends and Family didn't apply to these labels. Still, I was actually in the mood to do some retail damage, so it may have been worthy their while (to my detriment)!

  5. Agreed, what a mess that place is. It's the same for the one in Boston! I did get me some Jicky on this deal though. =P


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