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Anatomy of a Complaint

I swear, this will be the final post about Saks Fifth Avenue for quite some time, but I wanted to post about my recent experience at the store.

To be honest, as much as I love Saks Fifth Avenue, I don’t shop there often- I’m not their target demographic.  However, this location happens to have the nearest Louis Vuitton location to me, so I like going there; and when I do, it’s usually a really good experience.  EXCEPT for the following.  I’m copying and pasting sections of a letter that I faxed to the store the morning after my visit.  I’ve limited myself here for brevity’s sake, as the whole letter was two single-spaced pages long!  But what really turned this around for me was the response… read on for more.


Manager – Cosmetics Department
I was in the store last night to pick a pre-ordered item from the Louis Vuitton counter.  S***, the young lady who assisted me, was as charming as usual, and I thoroughly enjoyed working with her.  I was also assisted by a dark-haired lady at the Giorgio Armani beauty counter, and a lady named B**, whom I believe walked over from the fragrance section to help me at the empty Chanel beauty counter.  I made it clear to the lady at GA and B** that I was scoping things out in preparation for Fall Beauty week and they were both lovely in answering my questions, providing samples and offering their services during that week.

This is the kind of service I expect from such a store as yours.  My mistake was in walking back to the Chanel beauty counter to ask one final question.  … But, yesterday’s run-in with an SA at the counter was the final straw.  Unfortunately, I did not take down her name.  She was at the counter at approximately 5.15pm and blond.  However, I do believe it was NOT L*****, who has always offered good service.  I returned to the counter to ask about the same Gardenia perfume that M***** had ordered for me.  I told the lady that I wished to return it and EXCHANGE it for the new Coco Noir instead…  I was very outright and told her that I no longer had the receipt but that the package was still intact and shrink-wrapped.  She told me I could return the perfume but that I would be credited at the DISCOUNT price.  I informed her I had no idea what discount price she was referring to and she exclaimed that people often bought perfumes at discount retailers and tried to return them to Saks for the full purchase price.  Therefore, THAT would be the price I would receive.  I asked her surely they could look up my purchase history or credit card as I had specifically had the item ordered at the store.  I said the perfume was not even available in this particular location.  Her response was to insist I name the person who made the order as she did not believe me.  Truly I was stunned, but I managed to stammer out the correct name.  I told her that I only wanted to exchange it so I didn’t see the problem, and she finished the conversation by saying “well, we will see”, and that people tried this stunt all the time.  I walked away at that point….

I know the word “return” is often the kiss of death with sales people but her manner was offensive.  Considering I had already had 3 exemplary interactions with other Saks staff that hour, I was highly irritated.  I have decided to keep the Gardenia perfume, as I do really like it. I will also purchase the Coco Noir perfume, and some other products I had my eye on that B** was kind enough to show me.  However, I will make these purchases elsewhere.  I am sorry to miss out on Beauty Week, but I do not wish to reward rude behavior. ... 

I once had a SA from YSL at Neiman Marcus ask me if she could be my YSL lady.  She said all make-up products are exactly the same; the difference is the experience in shopping for them.  She was 100% right, and I believe you should give that nugget of wisdom to the reps at the Chanel Beauty counter.  I may have not been a high volume customer at this counter, and now never will become one, when I can receive much better service elsewhere.

Thank you for your time.


The response to my little letter was above and beyond.  Within 2hrs of my faxing the letter, the assistant general manager called me.  She was extremely conciliatory and offered her sincerest apologies.  She said she knew who the culprit was, and she said it in such a manner as to make me think there were other issues at hand.  She thanked me for writing such a detailed letter and agreed with that what the YSL rep had said was completely correct.  She also stated that she was grateful that I had highlighted the SAs who HAD treated me professionally, including the GA girl who was fairly new. She finished up by saying that Chanel at Saks wished to continue working with me and that she wanted me to work with their counter manager exclusively.

The next part is what truly shocked me.  She then offered to send me the Chanel Coco Noir perfume and the gift bag from beauty week as their token of appreciation and conciliatory gesture.  The perfume came, it’s gorgeous!  I have yet to open the sample eye cream.  There was a note from L*****, and I fully intend on sending her a thank you note for their generosity and right action.  I do not know the repercussions that occurred with the lady who caused all the trouble, but I do like that they took action to right the situation.
What about you.  Any horror stories of wrong-doing at the beauty counters?  Did you stand up for yourself? I hope so.  Stay blessed.


AhhhsoNeo loves writing about beauty, fashion and prosperity from the point of view of the every day woman.

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AhhhsoNeo loves writing about beauty, fashion and prosperity from the point of view of the every day woman.

2 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Complaint

  1. Good for you on sending that letter. I usually do my shopping online because I find that the SAs are usually not up on the latest products or they do not have them in stock. The pen is mightier than the sword. Did you send that letter to Chanel?

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