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Bad and good fur store experiences

White Fox

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I had a very interesting fur store experience today. I happened to be in Detroit over night last night. I was not far from the "Elmar Furs" store where I stayed so I decided to make a quick trip there to see what they had this morning. See their suggestions for me. etc. One previous experience was not that great before, but I figured that I should give one more try since I was very close by anyhow.


I parked and went around front. There was an armed guard outside of the store, and as soon as I entered he did too. I would have not had a problem with a guard in the background. To make sure no more PETA folks entered etc. But following me in the door and listening while I talked to the sales people?


I told them that I was looking for a coat for myself. As soon as I entered I realized they had a large stock, so thought that they should have some ideas. The woman came back with "Oh we don't sell coats here." Now picture this! A store with probably 750 fur coats on display and she says "Oh we don't sell coats here." I am getting somewhat obstinate, and say "Well what are all of these coats doing here?" She says "Oh, I thought you said goats", so she said they didn't sell goats. Now then, there were three women and a man there. And everyone thought I said "Goat"? When I said I was looking for a coat for myself in a store that sells coats? And I was in a fur store and not a meat store! On top of that, she didn't think I meant goat fur. This was a fur store and she was trying in vain to make out that she thought I said "Goat". This was absolute and total insanity! And they alll think that I said I wanted a "Goat".


I tell them that I have had a mink coat, a beaver, and a fox. That I might be looking for a long haired fur that is not too dark. A long coat and not a short one. i.e. not dark brown or black. They do bring out a couple of things that were exactly what I said that I didn't want. And this guard guy stays close. It was obvious the way I worded the furs that I described that I was NOT a P*** freak! Very obvious that I was someone who knew at least a little bit about furs. Yet this guy is still guarding me so I would not do damage to the store. Did he think that with an armed guard close plus three women and a man that I was going to start throwing furs around or something? I am NOT a young guy!


Finally I left. I just could not believe the way that those people behaved with a possible customer! Yesterday I had went into a store and had some really fantastic help from a gentleman. I am not sure why I even went into this Elmar place today, as I had not been treated the very best one other time. But today was total insanity on their part with the way that they behaved with a possible customer. I've never ever saw anything as God Awful as that experience was. I won't forget how strange that it was for a good while! Yes, they tried to sound a tad nice. But at the same time were telling me to go and get lost!



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I don't know. It sounds to me like they were trying to be hip but not being too successful at it, if you ask me.


I don't think there's any way a salesperson in a fur store would confuse "coat" with "goat," even if they thought you were talking about a goatskin coat.


Unless they thought you were talking about karakul but that's lambskin, even though I have heard people mistakenly call it goat. Still, if you walk into a fur store and they don't know the difference or don't bother to correct you if they thought you had mistaken lamb for goat, they are not very knowledgeable fur people. Are they?

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No, this had absolutely nothing to do with fur types. They said very directly that they did not sell "Goats"! When I questioned her and pointed to all of the coats she had to instantly think of a word to rhyme with "Coat", and the only word she could come up with in about 5 seconds was "Goat" so she used it. If only one person was sitting there it would have been a possible mistake. But there were three people right there with a man behind. And no one said "Oh I think he is asking about a "coat". This was no mistake. It was a concerted effort by everyone to tell me to just leave.


For some reason they had decided that they were just NOT going to wait on me. I expect that when I entered the door they decided that I was just there to waste their time or else - what I think is far more likely that they were all talking about something and I was actually so rude as to enter the store while they were talking, and break off their private conversation.


They had decided that they would tell me to just leave because they did not sell coats. When I questioned they did not want to get caught in some sort of stereotype, so decided to instantly backtrack. Similar if they had said something like that to someone of a different race and suddenly decided that was not the right move after.


They were not confused about Lamb or anything. They were just being very direct that they were not going to wait on this customer. A customer who already had a number of furs. I had given just enough info to let them know that. They understood that I was a fur wearer. And would have understood also that I was not some sort of P*** freak who was going to spread paint or something.


It reminds me of one time I was looking for a new computer. Store closed at 5:30. I went in at about 5:15 and they said "Oh there isn't enough time now to show you a computer before closing time. Come back again. Yep, I drove by again not long after with no thoughts of stopping in of course after that treatment by their sales people. And the store was out of business. That guy who would not take the time to show me that new computer because it might make him stay an extra ten minutes after work was now out of a job.



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It's times like these when I often take my wallet out of my pocket, flap it open and closed like the wings of a bird and walk towards the door while saying, "Here goes the money, flying out of your store!"


I've also been known to go into a convenience store to buy a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of Coke but, when the clerk tells me they don't have the brand of smokes I asked for, I'll just turn around and walk out the door, leaving the rest of the items I was going to buy sitting on the counter.


One time, when I drove into a self-serve gas station, I put my card into the machine and it asked for my zip code. I went inside and confronted the clerk. She gave me this cock and bull story about it being a new security measure. "If somebody stole my debit card," I said, "they probably stole my entire wallet, in which case, they would also have my driver's license that has my zip code printed right on it." She replied in a surly manner, "Everybody is doing it, now." At which time, I walked out, drove about 100 yards to the station across the street and bought a talk full of gas without having to enter my zip code.


Oddly enough, my car started to run a lot better on another brand of gas. That, alone, would have been enough to make me switch from Citgo to Quik-Fill but, until that stupid clerk pushed me out the door, I never would have guessed. I haven't been back to that store in over three years. In that time, I have spent, probably $6,000 or more on gas. Citgo's loss is Quik-Fill's gain!


I think people need to remember that THE CUSTOMER is the one with the money and THE CUSTOMER is the one in charge! I don't understand how people ever got the idea that it's the other way around. Customers need to learn to be more assertive, even to the point of being rude if the situation calls for it.


Don't give me that crap about it not being the clerk's fault when management is to blame. That's a bunch of bull. How is the everyday customer going to get the message across? The clerks are the front line soldiers. They are the ones who will carry the message to the manager. Unless the customer tells them what they like or don't like, unless the customer tells them how much money they AREN'T spending in that store, management will not change its practices.


There are, probably, ten other businesses out there that would be happy to take my money and I'll gladly give it to the one that sells me what I need, the way I want it, at the price I can afford to pay. Unless the customer makes his demands perfectly clear, nothing is going to change.


This is financial war!


Elmar Furs just lost one battle. If they keep up with that kind of crap, they'll lose the war and go out of business!

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The requirement for the zipcode of the card's billing address is usually set by the card processor company - NOT the merchant. It helps reduce fraud with stolen cards (or card numbers) that have not yet been reported as stolen.


Aside from the above, I agree that "customer service" is necessary if a merchant wishes to remain in business.

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Well, then, that merchant needs to tell that card processing company to go pound salt.


Again, if somebody gains possession of my bank card, it is probably because they stole my whole wallet. If they have my wallet, they have my driver's license which has my ZIP code printed right on it. The card's PIN number is a better security measure. Coupled with the card's security code, printed on the back, you have a pretty good assurance that the card is secure. A ZIP code is a very weak security measure.


The requirement for ZIP codes is most likely a marketing gimmick, trying to match up customers with geographical areas so they can data mine for advertising information. They're making money off my back. That's bullshit. I'm already paying them my pound of flesh.


When I go to the store and the clerk asks me for a ZIP code, I usually give "99950." That's Ketchikan, Alaska. It's the highest ZIP code number in the U.S. Sometimes, I give "90210" (Beverly Hills, CA) but the machine rejected those. Finally, I went to the gas station across the street. Those machines only wanted me to enter my PIN number. I've never been back to that first station again, not even to buy cigarettes, and I avoid all the other stores in the same chain unless I have no alternative. In this town, there are plenty of alternatives to buy gas.


Customer service isn't simply being nice to the customer and doing what he wants. It doesn't mean you have to kiss the customer's ass all the time. It means that your employees are polite, of course, but it also means that they work efficiently, know the product they are trying to sell and they do their best to match the right customers up with the right merchandise for a price that's fair.


There are too many stores that have the attitude, "If you don't like it, that's too bad."


Well, if I don't like something, I'm not going to just suck it up. I'm going to tell them and I'm going to tell them why. If they don't listen, I'll be happy to go somewhere else. If they don't like it, that's too bad.


As important as good customer service is, I think it's just as important for customers to hold the vendor's feet to the fire when they don't measure up. If more people would do that, we wouldn't have so many situations like the one White Fox is telling us about. Store management would either clean up its act or be forced to go out of business.

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If they did that they would lose their merchant account. And thus NOT be able to accept plastic for payment.


There are infinite ways your card number can be available to crooks WITHOUT physical possession of either your card or wallet. You are sorely out of touch with reality if you think your card has to be physically stolen for thieves to acquire the card's number.

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Yeah, I had that happen. Had to have my bank card replaced.

It was because a merchant retained scanned card numbers in their computer system and somebody hacked in and got access to that file. Merchants are not supposed to retain information that is scanned in at the POS terminals but this one did.


It's not that hard to guess a person's ZIP code. You could probably get it on Google. If you're going to go through the trouble to steal card numbers and names, you're probably going to try to deduce the address as well. Gas pumps at convenience stores require a physical card to operate the machine. If somebody's going to go through all the trouble to burn a fake card, it's a good bet that they have the wherewithal to figure out the ZIP code, too. All that just to steal $50 worth of gas?


Regardless, Citgo could send a couple of fur clad dancing girls to my house and it wouldn't do much good. I'd still by my gas at Quik-Fill. My car runs better on Quik-Fill. A car made in 2001 that has 100,000 miles on it but still gets better than 32 MPG, driving in the city and suburbs ain't too shabby! That's better than some new cars.


That Citgo station still has a lot of "customer service" to catch up on before they'll get my money again.

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