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Dumb-Ass Stupid Management: Schnooks Brothers

Dumb-Ass Stupid Management: Schnooks Brothers

I’m walking up Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, ahead of schedule for my next appointment, and pass by Brooks Brothers. I’ve never been a Brooks Brothers kind of guy, but I realize I do need some slacks and, on impulse, I go inside.

A very helpful woman shows me some nice slacks, I try on a pair, they look good, I said, “Please get the tailor to make the alterations and I’ll try on the rest.”

She makes a phone call and tells me, at 2:20 pm, the tailor is out to lunch. He won’t be back until 3:00. Do I want to wait?!

No, I do not.

I walk up to Bergdorf Goodman’s men’s store three blocks away, and buy five pair of slacks which the tailor immediately alters and they will ship to Rhode Island.

The thought of having investment money in companies run like this is frightening. Get a second tailor. Have the lone tailor eat lunch in the store. Offer me a free sweater or shirt if I wait. How about an espresso and internet connection?

It’s more than just the tailor out to lunch. Welcome to dumb-ass, stupid management.

© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 6

  • Tim Wilson

    October 18, 2012

    Ok Alan, it looks like you have quite of few in the DASM in the hall of fame. When do we get to vote on DASM company of the year?

  • Alan Weiss

    October 18, 2012

    Good idea, I’ll work on the voting!

  • Bob Ligget

    October 22, 2012

    I have been a Brooks Brothers kind of guy and was very happy when they finally opened a store here in Salt Lake (I’d grown up with Brooks in Philadelphia). Interestingly, this store has the very best and very worst salespeople I’ve encountered in retail. The “worst” mis-measured me for a new suit. When it was ready, I couldn’t even get the pants on! He never apologized, was totally indifferent, and left another salesperson to fix the problem. The “best” remembers what I like, makes helpful suggestions, is friendly but not obsequious. When he discovered I hadn’t bought a BB shirt in a long time, he offered me a very hefty discount to try one and tell him what I think. Sure, sold. However, in the spirit of DASM, a note to Brooks HQ about my suit experience elicited zero response. And while the store manager was apologetic, he did nothing beyond hoping my experience wouldn’t discourage me from buying there again! Unbelievable? I wish it was.

  • October 22, 2012

    In the mid-80’s Brooks Brothers was a different experience. The first salesman I ever encountered still remembers my name and preferences and only has seen me a dozen times over the years. I imagine I’m getting a similar experience as to what JFK and Lincoln received.

    Robert Campeau rolled the brand into Federated in the late 80’s and the culture seemed to devolve and get watered down. He managed for profit and not a more holistic set of growth objectives and it stunted the company. What is amazing is that a remanent of employees still live and breath the old culture, while there is a revolving door of strategy and people.

    Ironically I get exemplary service from one of the outlet stores where I stumbled in one time and yet still get several calls a year that fill periodic needs of mine through their continued follow up. The company is need of a turnaround. The brand deserves better.

    There current CEO is sitting on a great opportunity.

  • Alan Weiss

    October 22, 2012

    Old-line store, old-line mentality. Send the tailor out to lunch. Send the customers to another store.

  • Alan Weiss

    November 4, 2012

    The problem is that a first experience can decide everything, and I’d never enter that store again. Last night I was at a ballet performance, my wife’s on the board, and the artistic director made it a point at a reception to introduce me to the owner of a men’s store in Providence. I had heard some good things about it, and the owner was sponsoring the evening, and told me he loved my car which I had left outside before we went to dinner. (My car is not an expense, it’s a taking point.)

    But he was wearing the strangest outfit I’ve ever seen. I had on an Armani suite from Bergdorf Goodman, and he had on about seven layers of clothing and what looked like two vests. Perhaps it was trendy, but the ballet crowd (that portion which can afford his clothes) ain’t that trendy! Now, I don’t know if I’ll visit.

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