What was so interesting about this investigation was the range of excuses provided to each of the three women who entered three separate boutiques and concessions. There didn’t seem to be a uniform response provided by the Hermes sales assistants, with many of the women left even more confused by their experiences.
The first ‘regular’ woman entered the Hermes concession in Selfridges, London, and informed the sales associate that she has “yearned to own a Birkin or Kelly” and was “at last in a position to so it.” The immediate response was that none were available in the store, even to view. When pressed further, the ‘regular’ woman was told that other Hermes stores ‘may’ have some in stock but that it was impossible for the sales associate to have access to that information, even a phone call was out of the question. Upon further questioning, the ‘regular’ woman was informed that maybe there will more coming into the concession but the time frame is unknown and the waiting list is a thing of the past, with Birkins and Kellys sold on a first come, first served basis.
The second attempt by a ‘regular’ woman to purchase a Birkin occurred at the same Hermes concession in Selfridges and in the New Bond Street store, both of which are located in London. The first stop was the concession in Selfridges who inform the customer that they ‘are not selling handbags today’ and they ‘don’t communicate’ with other stores. Trying her luck at the store on Bond Street, our ‘regular’ woman again requests to see a Birkin or Kelly bag and is met with the response that there are ‘none in stock’. Pressing him, she asks when they might arrive and is informed that the staff are unaware of what is on deliveries from Paris. A last ditch attempt to get on a waiting list is met with rejection as is an attempt to provide contact details. Instead the woman is told she should pop in every day on the off chance one has arrived on a delivery from Paris.
The third attempt by a ‘regular’ woman to purchase a Birkin directly from a Hermes store occurred in Manchester, United Kingdom. She tells the sales associate she has inherited some money and would like to take a look at a . The immediate response is that there are none in the store and the waiting list was closed two years ago due to high demand. The sales associate also confides that they have never had any in the Manchester store and she has only heard of rare occasions when someone has got lucky in a London store.