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Oh, Fendi, Oh Fendi, Why Offend Me? (DASM)

Oh, Fendi, Oh Fendi, Why Offend Me? (DASM)

I had an Armani overcoat that was so impressive it made me look decent. After seven years, a pocket ripped. So I took it to Armani in New York to see if I could get another one  like it. They told me that the pocket shouldn’t have ripped, and provided a replacement of a $2,500 overcoat after seven years.

That’s prelude to my story, every ounce of which is true and unembellished.

I never look at price tags. I don’t have to, sorry if that’s offensive. (I don’t balance my check book, either, there’s no reason to.) So two years ago Maria and I are in Fendi on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and she tells me to wander around while she shops, figuring I can’t get into any trouble, But I find a nice pair of flip flops, which I happened to need for the pool. I placed them with her stuff on the counter.

Upon checking her receipt when we left, she said, “Did you spend $500 in there?” I told her the only thing I bought were flip flops. “FIVE HUNDRED DOLLAR FLIP FLOPS?!” she said, I thought rather aggressively. But they were fine flip flops.

Two years later, last week, walking through my wet yard from the pool, the dye on the flip flops came off and turned the bottom of my feet black. It took a week to get it off. So I wrote to Fendi on their site. They wrote back and said that customer service couldn’t help, it was a store issue. So I called Beverly Hills. The phone option for service gave me someone in a national office. I told her my story.

“Since you live in Long Island, I’d suggest you go to our Manhattan boutique,” she said.

“I live in RHODE ISLAND,” I corrected.

“That’s what I said, Long Island,” she said again.

“Rhode Island is a state of the union, south of Massachusetts.”

“So you live in Rhode Island, Massachusetts?”

“Where did you go to school? You can’t recognize one of the original 13 states?”

“Sir, your anger is escalating.”

I hung up, and recalled the store, this time hitting the new sales option. A very nice sales guy came on the line promptly and listened to my tale of woe. “I want the store manager,” I said. He said, “She’s not in.” I replied, “Then please give me her voice mail.” He said, amazingly, “She doesn’t have voice mail.”

“Of course she doesn’t,” I said.

“But the operations manager can help you.”

“Good, let me talk to him.”

“He’s not in today, but I’ll leave a message.”

The operations manager actually called me, and told me I had to take the flip flops personally to a Fendi boutique where they would be forwarded to the research facility to test the dye. But they don’t guarantee any product after two years.

“So there would be no credit or accommodation,” I confirmed.

“Oh, no,” he said.

The word “effendi” is an honored title in Turkish. The word “Fendi” is obviously an insult to customers in Italian. A store manager without voice mail, a customer service rep who never heard of Rhode Island. Flip flops that stain your feet.

I’m still not going to look at price tags, but I will look at manufacturers’ names, and Armani and Brioni will be fine, thank you, but a curse on Fendi and its arrogance and ineptitude.

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.

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