Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Shopping: Diane von Furstenberg, Notting Hill

Selena, at Diane von Furstenberg, Notting Hill is the best shop assitant in London. A bold call, I know, but an obvious one after experiencing 18 months of inattentiveness accompanied by sneering arrogance, forelock tucking obsequiousness or sheer incompetence. I'll explain.

A fortnight ago, Universal Wifey (didn't like being Mrs Universal) needed two light dresses for meetings in Australia, loves her current DvF silk number and wanted more. Planed to schlep to Portobello Rd for a coffee first, were arrested by the coat in the DvF window so popped in to enquire. Several sales people standing chatting, Selena breaks away, crosses the floor and delivers a smiley good morning and an answer to our enquiry before my gloves were off. Sapped, yet impressed, Wifey said we'd return after coffee.

Back again, mintues behind caffeine fuelled Wifey, who had heen recognised, "Did you enjoy your coffee?" and whisked downstairs to the fitting rooms, while I paused at a window two doors down. I followed, hit the husband chair and pulled out The Week - essential Punter research. Selena appears, with a pair of low heels,
"Madam, I have left some heels here so you can see the fit properly," then turns, "hello sir, would you like a drink while you're waiting there?"
"Nothing, thanks," says I, "well, maybe a glass of water."
"Still or sparkling?"
And that set the tone for the entire transaction: she was quick and responsive, pre-empted our needs, made us comfortable and welcome at all times and had us out of there with the correct size ordered (and couriered to Wifey's work on Wednesday). And she smiled all the time as if she was genuinely happy to be there, with us, shopping. It was like shopping in New York!

Contrast this with Thomas Pink last Saturday. His stripey shirt fitted my neck, and not my body - not Pink's problem, exclusively. His fitted shirt fitted, but not available in patterns - now that is Pink's problem, but it felt like it was my fault. I could have asked about other options, but I am neither deaf, nor mentally retarded, and was tired of being talked to as if I were.

Selena: goddess of retail
Diane von Furstenberg
83 Ledbury Road
London W11 2AG
+44 20 7221 1120

Man who looks like Frank Spencer: bog standard London
Thomas Pink
18 Davies Street
London W1y 1LH
+44 20 7499 4580

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