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The fancy stores along Fifth Avenue are taking their moms' advice and trying to catch more flies with honey than vinegar this year. In an attempt to get more sales from holiday shoppers, everybody is being extra nice, even to people who look like browsers than buyers.
Bergdorf Goodman's chief executive says he replaced their security company for hiring doormen who "weren't as friendly as we wanted them to be." Now that they mention it, the doormen were a lot nicer the last couple times we went to Bergdorf. We thought we were just having good hair days.
And Bergdorf has always sent thank-you notes to customers, but now some shoppers say they've received them for buying even small-ticket items like lipstick. You're not going to get that kind of treatment with Sephora.
There's at least one Madison Ave. jewelry store that was greeting customers with Champagne in an attempt to make shopping more pleasant. Dennis Basso was in his store greeting customers himself. "It can't hurt," he told the New York Times. "Stores that don't normally have great customer service are trying harder."
A report issued earlier this month said that customer service at Bergdorf, Nordstrom and Saks wasn't any better than at Lowe's or Ace Hardware. Though, to be fair, we've always gotten really good service at home-improvement stores. Probably because they think we're going to break all their displays if left to our own devices.
We think the complimentary Champagne sounds like a trend we can get behind. Have you seen stores being nicer than normal? Let us know in the comments. (Especially if they're giving out Champagne.)
· When Holiday Shoppers Get Hero's Welcome [NYT]