I've had some emails recently from readers and followers (how pretentious does that sound?) asking me about the nicer places to shop, i.e. where the products works and the SA's are helpful and not obnoxious.
I'm kicking off the series with one of my all time favourite concessions..
I don't often rave about how brilliant customer service at a certain place was as there are places where I've been where one time the service was ok, the next time it was abysmal and the time after that it was ok again. However, the ladies who man the Origins concession in John Lewis Oxford Street deserve a special shout out.
I'd say that I am what you call a nuisance buyer..I don't do it intentionally, I just am. When I'm asked if I want help, I politely decline..the SA wanders off and I find something I like and then have to pluck up the courage to ask for help. I say "pluck up the courage" as there have been many a time when I've said no, had a proper look through the products and then not been given any help when I've decided what I want to ask.
I've always liked the Origins counter in this John Lewis as they have a sink! This might sound like something minor but when you've been swatching and trying products on your hands, a sink is a Godsend. Plus, you get to use each product and see the effects of only that product.
I popped down there this Saturday just gone. I know exactly what I went to John Lewis to buy..clothes pegs. Sexy, I kow. The clothes pegs are "underground", you can't even see the Origins concession from the clothes peg section but as you come up the escalator, you're bang into the beauty section.
With my hands full of peggy goodness and an intense yearning for an ice-cream maker (they were out of stock), I headed upstairs. I always like to have a good old nose at all the skincare stuff they have in the Oxford Street branch as the branch nearest to my place is a bit lacking..
There were a fair few soaps which caught my eye but I decided against them as I still have a lot to use...after a quick swatch session of the Dr Hauschka makeup, I turned into Origins. The lovely SA (whose name I didn't get but had a really nice shade of reddy hair) let me have a good old nose around and then asked me if I wanted help. I did my standard "no thank you" response and carried on looking..
Whilst I was looking, another SA appeared on the scene and started talking to the other SA. Then I came across about five products which piqued my interest and both SA's were brilliant, answered all the questions I had without giving me that "Stupid cow, why can't she read and leave us alone?" look that you get from a lot of concessions..I'm looking at you, Chanel..where I stood for a good 15 minutes wanting to buy three lipsticks whilst all three of the counter staff just giggled amongst themselves.
Anyway, you know sometimes you go to buy something and the SA's just want to take your money without being helpful? They're not like that at Origins. I picked up a mud mask and a microdermabrasion scrub and (even though I knew) was told the difference between the two. I told the SA that my current clay mask was a bit crap and that my microdermbrasion scrub was rather brilliant so she advised me to tak the clay mask and leave the scub. This is the mark of a good SA, countless other ones would have tried to sell me both but the Origins SA actually listened.
So, I found what I wanted and bought it. I got a little sample set with it and I am going back to buy the larger version of the products from the sample set. I had a long discussion with the SA about how cold it was outside (that's what you get for wearing a thin shirt and jumper combo) and the best products for dry skin in winter. She suggested the Ginger range which I have had before..and was forbidden from buying again as it smelt too pungent. I'm going to buy it twofold this Xmas as I can live with the smell so Simon can go do one.
This is what a SA should do. Ask if you want help, leave you alone when you ask but then be helpful when you ask questions and not just sell you anything without explaining what products do. I've been to this counter time and time again and I have always had a fantastic experience.