The Gucci Experiment: Shopping High-End May Not Be What You Think

July 11, 2013  |  

This is the second in a three-part series of stories. To read part one, click here.

The Gucci Vintage Web Boston Bag that I have been coveting these past months is finally mine. Keeping in mind the dilemma surrounding this purchase, you’ll understand that this wasn’t just buying a handbag, but one piece of more complex issues surrounding personal finance, materialism and black people problems.

Anyway, I finally made the trip to the Gucci store and left with my G embroidered shopping bag. After doing research on the two Gucci stores in my area, I found that both had far from stellar reviews. Both were known to be lacking in customer service, had snooty personnel and showed favoritism towards those dressed more like SJP than Lisa Bonet. To get a fair response during my visit, I tried to be more middle-of-the-road with my attire, wearing heels, black pants and a buttoned blouse. Not too fancy not too casual.

I was greeted by an employee as soon as I walked in. She wasn’t going out of her way to be helpful, but I knew she was available if I had any questions, which seems to be more than what others who left low ratings could say about their visit. After taking some time to make a lap around the store, I eventually revealed to her that I had called earlier and had a bag on hold. They quickly got the bag and spread it out on a counter where the sales guy who answered the phone earlier explained to me the Gucci warranty and how to keep the bag clean. I took a few glances in the mirror and since I was already sold there wasn’t much selling to be done on his end. And I could tell from his attitude that this salesman wasn’t going to do much selling. He had more of a take it or leave it attitude.

He then showed me a few matching wallets that were about a fraction of the size of the very large bag I was buying, but still cost about half the price at about $500. I declined the up-sale, and just as soon as I had entered the store, I was walking out with my boxed up bag.

In about 15 minutes I had spent $1,245 on one single item. As I was leaving the store I thought, “So that’s it?” There was nothing special about this shopping experience other than the fact that I was no longer a window shopper at Gucci, but a part of the high-end bag buying community. No Champagne, no personal shopping assistance, no bells, no whistles, just in and out as if I were buying Jordans at the Foot Locker up the street.

I don’t really know what I expected from my trip to buy my overpriced Gucci bag, but I guess I did expect at that price point there would be better service. Or at least service to match the best Chick-Fil-a I’ve been to (shout out to Chick-Fil-a for having some of the best service I’ve ever experienced). The one thing I had to remind myself of when I got home is that this was a significant event for me, whereas for the sales team this happens every day. For them, the sale of a one, two, or three thousand dollar handbag is just what happens all in a day. I will be the only one left to question if this bag that I’ve wanted for so long was really worth it.

Stay tuned for part three of the series. Will our writer get buyer’s remorse? Stay tuned. And follow CAP on Twitter: @in_allcaps

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