Beware of the fiery Dragon in her make-shift cyclone bunker. She will eat you up and spit you out if you don’t put that camera away.

WARNING: today is a rant-fest.

It’s no secret that we are paying too much for the same product a US or UK shopper can purchase it for.  Regardless of its country of origin, they can have the same item significantly cheaper than we can in Australia.  Some products I have come across are somehow miraculously 70% more expensive as soon as they land on our shores and into our shops.

And that, to me, stinks.

In case you weren’t aware, we offer the sorella & me women’s and maternity collection to anyone in the world for the same price an Australian pays for it.

Why? Because why should an international customer pay more than an Australian customer? They shouldn’t.

Why should they pay less than an Australian customer?  They shouldn’t.

Make no mistake, it’s the 2 major Australian department stores that have been the front runners for excessive mark ups for eons.  It blows me away that they have gone from thinking we are stupid, to less stupid but still not entitled to buy goods for their RRP i.e., REAL retail price.

Why can’t they step up to the world-wide-shopping-plate, be competitive and just stop ripping us off?

An example:

I was out shopping with my cousin and friend for frocks to wear to a wedding. (Yes, we got distracted and looked at shoes too, but we were otherwise quite well restrained and focused on dresses. Note, none of this information is important. Consider it a ‘fun-fact’).

In one of the above-mentioned department stores, my cousin found a stunning dress by a well-known Australian designer, but we weren’t sure if it was quite right for the asking price.  My cousin asked me to take a photo to send to her husband for his opinion. It’s fair to say if he loved the dress too, she would be more confident to make the purchase.

I whipped out my iphone, and selected the camera app but before she could say “Cheeeeeese” a department store Dragon Lady* entered the change room…. Not to assist us mind you but to continue on her path to ‘work’ in what looked like a make-shift cyclone bunker at the end of the change room that I guess she calls her office (who has their office in a change room anyway? Weird & creepy at the same time)…

As soon as she entered, she noticed me with my phone and gruffed:

“You CAN’T take photos. It’s store policy. You need to put it away right now!”.

I went to reply but she had already brushed past me and entered her bunker and shut the door.  We were completely taken aback. Firstly, why didn’t she approach us calmy and advise us of (the most ridiculous of all) store policies in a way that was civilized?

Perhaps with a:

“Excuse me, I’m sorry. I am going to have to ask you not to take photos in the change room. It’s store policy. Unfortunately we believe you are going to walk out of here with those photos to buy that garment elsewhere for a cheaper price and we don’t believe that’s fair”.

To which I would have responded:

“Well, actually that wasn’t why we were taking a photo – but seeing as you mention it, why the hell is that considered unfair? At a farmers market, are you not allowed to compare the price of apples between stall holders? Are you  not allowed to google for “women’s sleepwear” online and compare products and prices to find the best product for ones needs (which I am guessing will of course have you ending up at sorella & me).  Are you not allowed to browse a department store, be inspired by a certain label and then visit that label’s store (bricks & mortar or online) to see what else they might have you like? As an Australian consumer, am I not entitled to pay the amount of money for this dress that is equivalent to what others in the world pay for it”

The sooner department stores realise we are less stupid and more resourceful than they think we are the better. If we want to compare prices of your products (which, news-flash, we have been doing ever since you opened your doors you idiots), we can easily remember the name of a label, a price, how the garment looked and therefore have no problems finding it elsewhere if we wanted to. We don’t need to take a photo to be able to do this so that totally voids your ‘store policy’.

We have these things called brains – we use them to remember things. To compare things. To make informed decisions about things.

Why won’t you stop focusing on your customer’s being pesky people in your store trying to rip you off (hilarious), and focus on the massive benefit you have over me and everyone else who is an online retailer?

Don’t know what that is?  Well, let me share it with you for free….

Many people prefer shopping in store – your stores – rather than online so they can try on, receive some advice about the product, and/or have the experience (buzz, thrill, joy) of an immediate sale.  Why the BLEEP don’t you capitalize on what you can do that online stores can’t and that is use the face to face time with your customer – nurturing their every need to help them buy from you?

You shouldn’t be worried about people buying a same item at another store – we have done that and will continue to do that with or without your store policy. You should however be worried that your staff are either not present at all to assist those large numbers of customers wanting to spend their money in your store; or when they are, they are rude, impatient, aggressive and just down right ruining the shopping experience for everyone.

And guess what. My cousin didn’t buy that $350 dress that day.  And I I haven’t been back to either of the 2 major department stores since.  Nice work.

Rant over.

* Dragon Ladies = The common breed of staff of department store employees*, who snarl over their glasses and down their nose when you so rudely interrupt them while they are trying to work.

~ anna

Have you had similar experiences with shopping in a major department store?

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