Not the best first impression.

I’ve fallen in love with Reiss wedges after seeing them in their upcoming summer collection; however unfortunately, they are not yet in stock, so I can’t buy them.

As the sun has unusually been making London very hot for this time of year, I decided that I needed to look elsewhere and get some other wedges. I came across a very similar model at Russell & Bromley, I tried to resist the temptation for nearly two weeks (wanting to wait for the Reiss collection), but the good weather was too persuasive and so finally, I gave up and went to the shop last Monday.

You should know that I am very particular with what I purchase. I have to be convinced that I like the product, that it fits and looks good. When it comes to shoes they have to be comfortable and more than anything fit well. Of course they should also be beautiful, which makes finding a pair pretty impossible when you take all this into account.

I tried the shoes on, but just couldn’t make my mind up whether they fitted me well. Being on a lunch break-shopping trip, I was in a rush. Usually in such a situation I would leave the product and come back when I have more time, however I was kindly advised by the consultant to take them and try them at home. I was told that if they turn out to be uncomfortable, I can bring them back; I just have to make sure I bring the receipt and only wear them inside. So I bought them.

I got home and tried my new shoes on. I was ecstatic as I’ve just bought some new dresses and they would go perfectly with most of them. Unfortunately though, after walking up and down the corridor, from one room to another and after adjusting some straps, I came to the conclusion that I certainly can’t walk with my toes sticking out of the front. It’s not a good look to start with and definitely won’t be comfortable.

I really wanted them to fit, so I was naturally upset that I had to take them back. Looking at the bright side of life though, I thought that it’s not the end of the world and with some professional advice I can choose a different model that will fit me.

Well, here is where the story truly starts. I was a bit annoyed with myself for not sticking to my golden rule of not buying things, which I am not totally sure of and letting the shop assistant determine my decision.

I was back at the store in less than 24 hours of purchase and I was definitely not expecting what came next. The consultant who did the refund for me at Russell & Bromley on Regent Street, made me feel like a liar. I had to repeat myself more then four times that I hadn’t worn the shoes out, as advised by her colleague the day before. I couldn’t believe she was even asking me about it so many times. The shoe soles had only a little dust on the outside rim, absolutely no more than you would get trying them on inshore. I really wish I had a picture to show you. The sole was made out of quite a soft rubber so it was only natural to have some very minor pressure marks on the rim, however it was also obvious that it would marked all over if the shoes were worn outdoors.  I was completely honest going back to the store and yet I left feeling guilty of falsely returning the shoes. I was devastated by the comments, especially the consultant telling me she now “won’t be able to resell the shoes”.

I have been working in retail for a luxury brand for quite a few years and I would never want any of my customers to walk away feeling like I felt that day.

I think it is high time for retailers to learn that a refund is as good as a sale. A good and easy refund means the customer is happy to come back and shop in the store again. Let’s not forget the fact that I was actually happy to exchange them for another pair but nobody bothered to even offer anything to me. In this situation it was my first pair of Russell & Bromley shoes. Based on the experience I had with them and taking into account that there are many other retailers who offer similar products, why would I go back to shop there? Ok, after some time I may go back, but for now Reiss wedges; you are my destiny!

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