I avoid high luxury brands. On one hand, I know I cannot afford the cheapest articles in their inventory. On the other hand, I harbour a great dislike for atmospheres that instil a sense of discomfort. Of course, this is one of the basic pillars of high-end retail, that being the exclusivity that underlines its entire existence. I don’t hold anything against the people who drive these mammoth enterprises, they are artists and entrepreneurs that have fashioned a concept that is both admirable and intricate in its success. What I could do without, however, is the superiority instilled in staff personnel working for the minimum wage. Their salary is beside the point. The raw judgment that imbues their gaze and conduct is what I find not only distasteful, but unnecessary.
Entering a Rolex boutique is one of the few times I feel scrutinised. As if I’ve been splayed out on a lab tray with my insides aching from all the eyes burning in their direction. You walk in and the air is so stuffy, precisely because the staff is so as well. The few times I’ve entered such a luxury brand store I’ve been met with staff balancing on the past-thirties scale. Their noses gravitate to the ceiling while their eyes look pointedly down at you. Admittedly, the nail polish receding into jagged countries on my hands doesn’t exactly permute into an authentic customer. And yet I ponder whether the staff itself partakes in this finely-trimmed portrait of the ideal costumer with deep-filled pockets. The fifty-year old woman who makes quite a procession of sliding glass displays seems to take her job quite seriously. Her screwed up nose at my mere presence leads me to believe I am not up to par with her expectations. I think the luxury brand staff force is reserved for individuals distraught by their own apparent lack of hitherto success. Imparting contempt on certain costumers bestows them the power they have failed to acquire in the span of their life.
The price tags and the ornate interior exuding security measures reminiscent of an isolated prison make it quite clear the extent to which the merchandise is beyond some of us mere mortals’ reach. Scrunching your face as if you’ve been assaulted by some putrid toxic gas provides no catharsis for conveying the message.