.. and curse the ridiculous Chanel corporate policy!
A bit of background. I have been lusting after some of the Les Exclusifs de Chanel fragrances for about a month now, ever since I first heard about them on the chanel.com web site.
Normally, I would get myself over to my local Chanel counter and get some samples first, because I like to wear a fragrance for awhile before I decide if I like it or not. Problem with Les Exclusifs is that they are “les exclusif” and only available at SELECT Chanel boutiques. My nearest Chanel boutique that carries them is about 150 miles away.
No problem, I thought, I’ll just do what I always do in these situations. Place a quick phone call, get the samples shipped up to me, then decide and order the fragrance I want. I was foiled, however, by a ridiculous Chanel corporate policy.
Apparently, the Chanel boutique cannot mail ANYTHING (not even samples of products) if you have not first purchased physically at a Chanel boutique. “But, but …” I replied, “I have purchased on Chanel.com, and I am planning on purchasing one of these fragrances, and the nearest boutique is 150 miles away from me.” No matter, the SEVERAL different Chanel boutiques I called said (including Chicago and 2 in New York), corporate policy is we can’t mail you anything if you aren’t in our “system.” But you can’t get into the system until you actually TRAVEL across country to a Chanel boutique, walk in, and buy something.
Never in my life has a company made it so hard for me to give them my hard-earned cash.
It’s ludicrous, really, and leaves out, oh, I don’t know, 90% of the US population, or at least the population of the upper Midwest. It’s 2012 people! I would love to have been a fly on the wall for those meetings at Chanel headquarters. What were they thinking? “We don’t actually have to sell anything. Oh no, that’s far too bourgeoisie. No, let’s make it so exclusive, that no one can actually buy the products we are purporting to sell.”
To be fair, Chanel offers the various Les Exclusifs eau de toilette on their web site for sale. But who is going to order a fragrance they’ve never even smelled? I don’t know about you, but about 90% of all fragrances I smell I think are very unappealing for one reason or another. The odds were not in my favor.
Undaunted, however, I gave one more Chanel boutique a try, the one in Las Vegas. Believe it or not, my thought process was that the economy is down, especially in Vegas, and they may actually appreciate a real live customer who actually wants to spend money with them, so they may find a way to help me out here. And boy was I lucky I got Michelle on the other line. At first she told me the same information I heard from all the other sales associates at all the other boutiques. But she took my number anyway, and said she would talk to her management to see if there isn’t anything she could do. I really didn’t ever expect to hear from her again. But much to my GREAT surprise, she called me about 15 minutes later and found out she had a solution – a way for me to provide them the information they needed to get me into the system and still send me the samples I needed.
And you can believe that each and every Chanel product I purchase in the future I will be ordering directly from Michelle at the Chanel boutique in Las Vegas. And that my friends, is customer service!