One question we are repeatedly asked about Hermès Special Orders is, what happens if you don’t like what you ordered? Must you take it? Are there consequences to rejecting it? In the current frenzied and excited season of making SO selections, it seems the perfect time to address this predicament.
Before we begin, let’s relive some of the SO process. Of course, you have a wonderful relationship with your Hermès Sales Associate, Manager, Director – or someone at the store. You consistently purchase from the same place/person and have an impressive history. Or, LOL, you’re a super VIP.
Remember how thrilling that call from your Hermes SA offering the opportunity to place a Special Order? The time spent studying, analyzing and dissecting the different options – exterior and interior leathers, colors, sangles, hardware, stitching. It was a joy to play Mr. Potato Head with your own Hermes creation. Not to mention, the anticipation of that special Horseshoe stamp.
It was all wonderful… except for that 18 month (or more) wait.
But what if it is all wrong? We’re not talking about Hermès making an error per se. Rather, you just don’t like the bag. The chosen leather looks dull or the color(s) mismatch. Or you no longer like pink (or blue or brown or whatever). The bag is too (or not enough) ladylike. We could go on about all the potential reasons one’s heart might not sing.
So, if you’re wondering whether you must take it, the simple answer is ‘no’. You are under no contractual obligation to purchase that bag. And people do sometimes reject a SO. As a result, on occasion, you might be offered a bag with that special Horseshoe stamp even though you did not order it. Of course, you never thought you would be the one rejecting a bag.
When analyzing what to do, the answer and considerations are more nuanced. Certainly, no one will force you to purchase that bag. Nor are you getting any financial bargain if the price rose since your selection. The price is the current price of that bag no matter when ordered.
But, might your SA (or SM or director) be disappointed? Yes, and actually that could be a natural reaction. Having spent time with you designing this bag, of course they want you happy.
On the other hand, the store now has a unicorn bag without a home. Sure, a new owner could be found – but the “more unique” the more difficult. As an extreme example, if you chose the colors of your favorite sports team, that could be a tough sell for someone else.
Moreover, what if your SA went out on a limb with his/her bosses to get you this opportunity? It could feel like a waste of time. Rejection may seem like a slap in the face. Or it could put them in an awkward position. Play it out a little and the fear of not getting another special order chance may not be so far-fetched. It’s certainly not explicit – and in no way provable – but it goes to the heart of most Hermès lovers’ concerns: will I get another offer?
Does this justify your buying what is likely to become a ‘closet ornament.’ Well, that’s up to you and your wallet. Another option is to rehome it – recoup much if not all or more than what you paid. And hope your SA never knows.
It’s never easy to reject a Birkin or Kelly bag – even those ‘off the shelf’. That wondering about the next opportunity persists… but for most, ultimately there will be another offer at your home store (all bets are off for FSH travellers – that’s unpredictable). If someone at Hermès was willing to sell you one already, certainly they should again.