My son's wedding is looming and with all hopes of a "slimmer" version of myself lost, it was time to purchase my "mother of the groom" outfit. I started with a trip to the city (Sydney, Australia) where large retailers such are David Jones and Myer dominate the shopping district. I assumed that if I wasn't successful there, I could move beyond to the boutiques, surely by days end, I would return home with my wedding "outfit" .
You know how the saying goes "the best laid plans"! .....allow me to explain - 10.00am commenced in David Jones - "sale time", (goody!) Level 3 "designer dresses" thousands of dresses but alas, at sale time they are ALL (even the $3000 ones) crammed onto racks that simply have "no-give". If you remove a dress the effort required to get it back on the rack is herculean! After many, many laps of level 3, I was starting to loose hope, I must press on, I just knew that in between all the size 8's, sparkles (oh, so many sparkles!), satin, plunging necklines and $3000 price tags, my "mother of the groom" outfit would be there lurking between the sparkles and tulle. I was prepared to pay up to $1000 so this was not an insignificant purchase. 3 hours later I was defeated, I needed to get out and I had no energy left to venture to the boutiques. My feet hurt and the sales assistants were casting strange looks in my direction. I would continue another day.
Recovered and not defeated, having done a lot of homework "on-line", a week later I returned. My homework included a visit via the "web" to a very well known Australian Designer, BINGO I found the dress! I sent several emails to their HQ who assured me the dress was available in the size and colour I was seeking and would make sure it was in David Jones for me to try-on! Their representative would contact me to confirm...... to my surprise, I heard nothing, the day before I was travelling back to the city to try-on this dress, I emailed to advise! They emailed back to confirm that the HQ representative had taken the dress to David Jones personally!..... Phew.....
I arrived at the "Designers" retail space within David Jones and introduced myself only to be greeted by a "blank" look on the sales assistant's face stating she knew nothing!!! I briefly looked around for "Col. Clink"! With a fairly poor attitude, the Sales Assistant tottered off, returning with dress (my name attached) and directed me to the change room. CAN YOU BELEIVE IT? THE WRONG DRESS! and a make-up stain on the front! This is not working quite the way I had envisaged.
Approaching the sales assistant with dress in hand, we discussed my disappointment. I provided evidence (emails etc.) of my efforts to ensure the correct dress was in the store. Somewhat, sympathetically, she made a quick call to HQ, who advised that said dress pictured on their website was a "sample" and never made for the collection. Could this not be interpreted as "false and misleading" conduct?
Several hours later (it's a 2 hour drive) when I returned home (and cooled down) I emailed HQ the sequence of events....4 DAYS later I received an email apologising for the make-up stain but telling me that the dress was correct. I replied attaching the two images (FROM THEIR WEBSITE) showing the differences. 2 DAYS later an email saying "Yes, you are right the dresses are not the same"!
I have supported retailers in the past but NO MORE! I now shop on-line. I have found a wonderful Australian
"on-line" store where all the dresses are clearly shown and described in full detail. They promise to have your garment to you within 36 hours and if there is a problem you can return at no cost. They even gave me a discount! I was offered nothing by the Australian Designer who failed miserably on every level. I have ordered my dress and await it's delivery all from the comfort of my living room.
If Australian Retail is suffering, it is because they do not offer a pleasant experience, I would go further to suggest it's awful! Stock is poorly displayed, finding a shop assistant is almost impossible and the prices can always be beaten. It is not lack of confidence in the Australian Economy that is the problem, it is "LACK OF SERVICE"!