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the waiting game

the waiting game

the discussion is not new but bof founder and CEO imran amed’s article queuing is not a luxury experience has sparked the debate once again. while queuing has become a common customer experience in recent years, it isn’t something one would expect as part of the experience of shopping at chanel or louis vuitton. as amed notes, there’s nothing luxurious about queueing in front of a luxury store. if anything, it cheapens the whole experience.

december 3, 2021. it was a rainy afternoon in paris. I was in town for a few hours and after checking “thierry mugler: couturissime” exhibition at the musée des arts décoratifs, I decided to head to rue de richelieu. there were people queuing on both sides of the street, waiting for their chance to get inside the 24/24 all pink pop-up store that jacquemus had created to celebrate the launch of his new bag bambino. after staying in line for about thirty minutes I was done but I heard people were still waiting at 3 AM. years before, in my very first time in new york city, I remember feeling completely astonished by how long the queue in front of supreme was on a random tuesday morning. “is anyone famous inside?, I promptly asked the security guard. he laughed at my silly question. “it’s Tuesday!” FYI, supreme drops new stuff every tuesday.

pop-up store that jacquemus, paris

if you stroll around greene st. or spring st. today, chances are that you will find long queues standing in front of chanel, louis vuitton or dior. for these luxury brands, it’s all about giving the customer a more personalized experience which means in most cases having a SA assigned just for you. walking around a store unaccompanied is now almost impossible, perhaps due to the recent incidents with shoplifters in the US. I wonder, however, if this is the best shopping experience a brand can provide to its customers. speaking for myself, sometimes all I want is just take a look, see what’s new, without the pressure of having someone bombing me with questions.

shopping at a store like chanel, especially with their constant price raises, should be itself a luxurious experience and queuing defeats that purpose. who wants to stay outside in the rain even if it’s just for 15 minutes? who wants to wait in the peak of the summer with temperatures going up to 35 degrees celsius? what’s luxurious about it? one might argue that queuing is for a more aspirational client, as traditionally they perceive queues as a means to get their hands in a more exclusive item. according to an academic paper I came across while researching about this subject, scarcity plays indeed an important role, as customers become more excited and show greater purchase intention whenever they have a limited access to an item. but I’m afraid by taking this route, we missing the point of what luxury shopping should ultimately be.

chanel store

it’s true that our views on what luxury is may be different but when you think about luxury or luxury shopping what comes to your mind? I bet waiting in front of a store for hours doesn’t cross your mind. as someone once said, I got no patience and I hate waiting. 


cátia santos reis "the world is yours but greece is mine” could be her mantra as cátia santos reis is yet to find a greek island she hasn’t fallen in love with. in the meantime, she keeps traveling the world. for CINCO editorial, the 34 year-old, will share her favorite things to do, visit and eat in every destination.

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