When a luxury experience turns to a Very Bad Buzz
Wednesday, April 25. In front of the Balenciaga corner of Le Printemps Haussmann, Paris, the clientele rushes during late morning and queues to access the key pieces of the collection, the sneakers Triple S, the object of desire of the moment.
In the queue, a Chinese tourist waits and reacts to other customers (French?) that try to sneak in front of her. Her son intervenes to protect her and finds himself on the ground, with the entire scene filmed and posted on YouTube. Staff members of the Maison then allegedly asked Chinese tourists to evacuate the department store while the local customers were presumably served…
The incident was most notably reported on Chinese social networks Weibo and WeChat, with claims of discrimination against Chinese customers which fueled a significant wave of indignation on the web.
In spite of the excuses published in Simplified Chinese and English by Balenciaga, its parent company, Kering, and Le Printemps, both on YouTube and on Western and Chinese social networks, the reactions to Weibo were virulent, many calling for a boycott of the brand and more generally that of French luxury houses. (Redactor’s note: Please consider that numerous in China means no less than 24 million views / reactions…)
Some American media seized this opportunity to argue that this is a "know-how" typical of large French luxury houses to exclusively choose its clients. In a similar fashion, Oprah Winfrey already echoed hilarious experiences of refusal to sell, especially in Rome at Louis Vuitton and Zurich.
If you do not have an audience and/or Oprah's microphone, this is where your voice is cherished and meaningful!
It's up to you to share if your experience amounts to absolute dismay or bliss.