Monday, November 24, 2008

The bait and switch

I think most people know by now, but my amazing weekend of trying on dream dresses turned into a jilted at the alter scenario. I'm trying to be understanding about what happened, but it's still baffling.

Last week, as you can see from the post entitled "A happy accident", I found a salon that is about half an hour away that carries Sophia Tolli dresses. I called the store and ran through a list of several style numbers that I wished to try on. From the other end of the phone I could hear the tappity tap of computer keys and then the cheerful voice of the salesperson saying, "Yes, we have all 3 of those dresses!"

Now to be fair, maybe in my excitement I misheard the salesperson, but she went on and on about how beautiful one of the dresses was, so I could only surmise that she'd seen it and it was in the store... But I was oh so wrong.

To get my friends together (many of whom are very busy) is no small feat, but we were able to arrange to have 2 of my girls come with me. When we got to the salon, the same cheerful woman from the phone call met us and told me to pick out 6 or 8 dresses. I told her that mostly I wanted to try on the 3 dresses we had come to see, and could she pull those out? She said, "sure, sure" and then disappeared. She came back empty handed. I was still clueless and trusting.

And then, she tried to steer me toward high-end dresses. It was only then that she admitted that she didn't have *any* of the dresses that I called about. Now reality started settling in for me. What an awkward situation. I was bummed, the saleswoman was clearly uncomfortable, and my amazing friends were trying to salvage the situation.

I did try on some dresses, a few of which were quite lovely... but my heart just wasn't in it, and we quickly realized it was time to cut our losses. Before we got ready to leave, one of my friends said to the salesperson, "You should have told her you didn't have the dresses..." in her best mom-like disappointed voice. She was my hero in that moment.

I surely hope that this isn't the store's usual customer service policy, but just an isolated incident involving one salesperson... As such, I'm not posting the name of the store, though if you are curious I'll share it privately. Still, it was sort of embarassing to haul my friends down there into a rather uncomfortable situation, though they were so sweet and tried to console me with lunch afterward.

On the bright side, the experience motivated me to find dealers who had these dresses in Western Washington (no easy task). It also showed me that continuing to look is probably a good idea, as I feel very strongly about these dresses (which are as elusive as unicorns). One is in Tacoma, and two more are in Portland, so we'll visit Chris's cousin and to try on the other two! (PS no sales tax in Oregon!) So maybe, this will all come up roses after all :)

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