At the end of June, Hermes introduced a new system to manage the lines of requests for leather goods. (For a step-by-step account of how the process works read: New System in Paris to Buy a Birkin). The new appointment system is meant to help things run more efficiently for shoppers, but at what cost to the experience to the customer?
PurseBop reader Sara Morgan shared her thoughts on the new system in a detailed comment on the original announcement post. We transpose her thoughts here to bring greater attention to how the new system might affect long time clients. You can scroll to the bottom of the original blog post to see other reactions too. For now, read her thoughts and please share your reactions and opinions to the new system in the comments on BopTalk!
I am a 3rd generation Hermes client, and I am sure that my grandmother and mother are turning over in their graves at this concept of a lottery! My two friends and I must have just missed the implementation at St Honore mothership because we had a lovely and what used to be normal experience. I am French and Parisian and even I do not bother going into St Honore or other Hermes shops often anymore–definitely never on Saturday or a Christmas time! My two younger friends are from USA and for one she was a Birkin virgin on the Thursday afternoon we walked in. I had asked on the phone for my usual salesman to be told that after 20 years he has left the store; my backup sales person has retired and my 3rd choice had moved to fine jewellry!! So we started in fine jewellry and still bought two birkins and one kelly without this new system. On Friday on Rive Gauche in the morning we left with 1 birkin, 1 kelly and 1 tutti fruity—a lovely quiet experience for each of us and then we had champagne in the Hermes coffee shop —- the champagne and tea or coffee was lovely–skip the over priced and tasteless pastries and head for Laduree!
As a regular client–note I still use the original term because we are not customers but clients—I am aghast at this new system of depersonalization and deployment. Yes, the lines (which I must admit never standing in) were long and crowded and for those of us already being seated and waited upon distracting and annoying. Why you ask? Because paying at least US$6000 for a handbag should be a special experience and not one that induces STRESS! Secondly, no one enjoys hundred people staring at them with the angry “who does she think she is, why doesn’t she hurry up, why is he showing her a Kelly, etc” face. Thirdly, no one likes strangers hanging over them while they try to decide which bag to take and any small leather goods with a salesperson. Fourth, shopping should make you SMILE not make you angry!
It used to be very special to see your salesperson, have coffee or champagne, pick up your special order or podium order and then see what else was available for purchase that day in handbags and small leather goods. You also used to be able to have a casual yet friendly conversation with the sales person and inquire as to his vacation, his family, his dog and vice versa.
Now this will be gone!! PFT! Grrrr! And definitely forcing customers to have internet connection smart phones while tourists in Paris is not nice and expensive and troublesome. I might take a number at the deli or greengrocer but for a handbag, non!
It might be more pleasant for first time buyers of Hermes handbags but it certainly takes away from the Princess-like atmosphere of your first purchase! So if you just insist on buying your handbag from the mothership I bet you are feeling good about being a number and maybe being able to buy a bag of your choice at St Honore. Good luck and I hope you enjoy yourself.
As for me, it is sounding just too grueling and depersonalized—-no magic in being texted or having a number like a deli! I do remember my first purchase of a Kelly over 35 years ago and it was so very special and idyllic an experience and this was way before birkin or kelly were ‘it’ bags.
It is sad that my grand daughter will not be able to share the same experience that her mother or her grandmother or great grandmother enjoyed—it was a right of passage!
It is also sad for you tourists and first time shoppers like Mel to have a different set of obstacles to buying your holy grail bags. But I think you might think me a snob or elitist or old fashioned. Hermes is an EPV French brand—that means it is a heritage brand with a long history of craftsmanship and French know-how. The colours, the skins, the workmanship is what makes the handbags valauable and appreciated. You should be able to enjoy the full experience and care—and if you do not and only have this system, I am sorry. I hope this makes sense in English–it does in French!
And somehow it will be interesting to see how people figure out to cheat this system as well. As for me, I now buy my Hermes scarves in Cannes or Nice or London so it sounds as if I shall now buy bags outside of Paris too!
– Sara Morgan
photo @pursebop from Hermes FSH Birkin Reveal
Read related features and threads below:
New System in Paris to Buy a Birkin
Shopping in Paris: Hermes FSH – Share Your Stories!
My Faubourg Experience
It’s Changed! New System at FSH Paris – Ask Questions! Mel in Melbourne
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This is such a heartfelt letter and I’ve always felt this way – it’s hard to share my feelings though, since everyone has seemed to score there on the first or second try! Shopping at this level should be personal and fufilling. SAs should be warm and inviting and not rushed. I know times have changed and Hermes does what they can to quell the demand for everyone but the tourists and rudeness of the patrons turns me off completely. I enjoy the Sevres location and found a lovely SA there, but even she is sometimes stressed and not the warmest always. I also loathe that a US purchase history does not matter to them and Europe and the US computer systems do not communicate. The fact that the bags are so much cheaper than the US makes it all the more frustrating and overwhelms the European stores as well. I’m so happy for our Boppers that have scored at FSH/George V/Sevres – don’t get me wrong. I love reading all the stories!! One day it’ll be me but I won’t be stressing over it as I once did. ??