I don’t think that’s how it works, sir.
All content has been edited for clarity.
“Oh, I Don’t Plan On Paying Today”
“When I was a student, I managed to get a sales position at a very fancy department store and I got a first-hand look at how my city’s wealthiest spent their disposable income. One story from early on sticks out as a favorite.
As you can imagine, we had our share of new-money businessmen who became regulars over the course of their career. Some dudes would come in and drop $5-10k on suits and shoes practically monthly. Most weren’t too bad, but we definitely had a few who expected handouts for their ‘patronage.’ Today’s story comes from my time in the fragrance department.
We can call our main character Gatsby. He was a guy behind a very successful startup that had recently sold for a substantial amount of money. He was very vocal about his newfound wealth and loved sharing stories of the racks of clothing and footwear he would buy in his international travels. He lived in a condo not far from our store, so he was in pretty much weekly buying new threads. No one was a big fan of him on a personal level, but he never caused real problems until this day.
This day, Gatsby came in and purchased around $4,000 worth of dress shoes, ties, and other accessories for himself, and a $2,000 bag for his new European girlfriend. He came into my lovely little men’s fragrance stand and, after bragging about his new Ferragamos and started picking out a few new scents to complement his purchases. I played along and gave him a few recommendations, all of which he proceeded to ring up. He managed to rack up around $600 in cologne by the end of this. Things got tricky when I told him the total.
Me: ‘Wonderful sir, great choices. Your total should appear on the screen.’
Gatsby: ‘Oh, I don’t plan on paying today.’
Me: ‘Excuse me?’
Gatsby: ‘I just told you how much I spent upstairs, don’t you feel I deserve something complimentary for my business?’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, sir. Unfortunately, I cannot give you anything for free. We greatly appreciate your patronage. Have you visited the lounge? There are complimentary beverages for generous customers!’
Gatsby: ‘Don’t be ridiculous, I come into your store almost daily. I earned these.’
M: ‘Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to pay or take your business elsewhere.’
G: ‘Eff you, give me the bag.’
This went on for some time, with most of my fellow salespeople noticing it was Gatsby causing the fuss. By the time our exchange had turned into outright store removal, he tried to grab the bag from me and take off. Sadly for him, we had a pretty strict set of security guards around the store. We can call the most important one, Batista (this dude had the largest shoulders I have ever seen). Batista caught Gatsby as he tried to make a break for the door, literally lifting our 5’5″ friend off of his feet, leaving the bags, shoes, ties, fragrances behind. Gatsby is thrown out, an immediate ban in put into the system, and the items he purchased were promptly refunded and restocked.
For the next few weeks, I saw this guy walk past the store with a piercing glare. I saw him shopping around on the weekends and almost ran into him a few times, but tried my best not to interact with him. Batista and I stayed pretty good friends over my time there, as well!
Luxury retail has some true characters.”