A Class of Their Own

20140626-185520-68120733.jpg

Once I had left the limits of the salacious Soho I found another job to wage against the destitute reality of studentdom. I got an upgrade, to a designer boutique that shimmered amidst the golden glow of Knightsbridge.

One may have thought that with this geographical change I would welcome an absence of the strange behaviour I was used to, but as it turns out, these customers were in a class of their very own…

Whether it just came with the territory, or it was a contributing aspect of their extreme wealth, a lot of the ladies I was to come across (many of them officially Lady’s) were not bashful when it came to a spot of bartering. My past negotiations over pennies in the souks of Marrakesh were to seem trivial when compared to the haggling hands of this new calibre of customer.

Consistently I was asked if a ‘better price’ dangled within my grasp, a question to which my taut lipped smile would plead futility but there was, without fail, those who wouldn’t accept ‘no’ as a satisfactory response. Admittedly my smiles were consistently counterfeit, especially when my mind compared my morning’s tube journey spent thrust between a greasy window and a clammy chap, to the spacious back seat of a Bentley, which would typically unload said customer just a Louboutin clad foot from our front door.

With the bargain hunter’s beady eyes closely watching I would repeat the laborious process of telephoning every tier of the management ladder that towered above me, nodding and smiling with the receiver shoved tight against my ear for fear that they would hear what a “money grabbing, tight fisted, miser” the powers that be actually thought they were.

For all the trouble it may have gotten me in I was often tempted to accidentally-on-purpose nudge the loudspeaker button and watch contentedly as the bartering customer made an embarrassed getaway, never to be seen again.

That said, knowing the thought process of this particular breed, this would only have armed them with ample bargaining power to get what they really hunted for.

A conclusion would only be achieved after an explicit no from the company MD, at which point the Louis Vuitton purse would be presented from the Chanel handbag, and the bank card would grudgingly be thrust into my hand… and I could guarantee that it would always say Coutts.

Advertisements

Bright Lights Brighter Characters.

Confessions3

Once I had traded my cosy countryside existence for a city life in London to attend university, I knew that my encounters would only get all the more peculiar…

It was promptly after my first footsteps into The London College of Fashion that I realised the floorboards of this university were very much their own catwalk and consequently my wardrobe was a very sad sight indeed. A part time job was most definitely required in order to fund this newfound student lifestyle and to at least attempt at keeping up with the fashion forward Joneses.

My first job in the big city saw me looking after a unique boutique just on the outskirts of Soho, a place that is home to many of the more colourful among us.

Much of my time was whiled away perusing the pages of the glossies, gushing over the latest enviable wares from fashion houses such as Chanel and McQueen, which, on my part time wage and a student loan, I could only endeavor to replicate by stretching to the Topshop copycat.

If I was graced with the delight of human interaction it was typically with a pink adorned girly girl, due to the saccharine infused, fairytale nature of the clothing we had on offer. It was for this very reason that anyone with a desire for something other than a glitter, ribbon, or pom pom festooned item of clothing soon stood out, from the moment their scheming hand settled on the door handle.

I was to become privy to all sorts of alien requests, one most notably from a notorious male celebrity who asked me if I could outfit him with a balaclava. It was rather a perplexing question when you took into account our windows decked with butterflies, soft pink chiffons and mannequins with blonde 1930’s curls. Seemingly quite surprised when I informed him that we didn’t sell such an item, he asked if I could recommend a shop that did. Needless to say the only advice I could offer consisted of a visit to the PVC and rubber bondage specialists in the heart of Soho. I wondered if I had smacked the proverbial nail on the head when he sheepishly laughed and retreated from my shop, heading in that very direction.