I Was Profiled by a Sales Associate at Saks Fifth Avenue

Last weekend, my husband and I went shopping around and went into a Saks Fifth Avenue that was near by. I had been there before, quite a few times actually, and I knew what I wanted to look at. What I didn’t know, though, was the kind of service I’d receive once I actually got in there. I don’t know if I was racially profiled or financially profiled but one thing is for sure; I was discriminated against.

My husband and I were at an upscale shopping center. We were looking around in Macy’s and trying out some fragrances. After doing that, we decided to go to Saks Fifth Avenue because I wanted to take a look at the MCM Munich Boston Bag. I was greeted nicely by the sales associates in the perfume section at the front of the store when I walked in but when I got to the handbags, things got awkward.

As I said, I have been to this Saks a few times before. The first time I went in, I wanted to browse the luxury handbags but I didn’t know where they were. A sales associate in the men’s section asked if I needed help and I said yes. I explained that I was looking for handbags and mentioned the Fendi Peekaboo so he took me to the women’s section and showed me the handbag. I then told him I’d like to see a Givenchy Antigona so he took me to the Givenchy section of the luxury bags and there we met another sales associate. I don’t know her name, but she was actually quite helpful and allowed me to look at the bag while explaining a couple of things about it.

I later went in a second time and to browse luxury bags and I saw the sales associate that worked in the Givenchy section that helped me before. She wasn’t as nice this time but she wasn’t very rude either. She simply asked me if I needed help finding anything, I said no, and continued with what I was doing. At that point I’m pretty sure it was obvious that I wasn’t going to buy anything.

I visited the store one other time after that but I didn’t see her. This was a while ago and  a while after I had been there the second time. So, I don’t know if she recognized me this time and knew I wasn’t going to buy anything but she did treat me like a new customer at first.

When she saw me this time, she asked if I needed anything. I then asked her if they had the MCM Munich Boston Bag and after searching for it in some drawers, she said they sold the last one. I asked her how much it costs and she said it would be around $1,500. I then thanked her and she told me to have a nice day.

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Afterwards, my husband and I continued to browse some bags. We went over to the Givenchy section to look at the Antigonas and I began holding the bag. As soon as she saw us there she yelled “Well, now you’re looking at $3,000 bags,” in a manner as if she knew I couldn’t afford it. Then she said “it’s a beautiful bag” and hesitatingly said “but you’re bag is beautiful, too.” The handbag I was carrying was an obviously cheap, faux leather bag from Forever 21.

After saying all that, she proceeded to rush over to us, seemingly in an effort to get the bag out of my hands as that was the very first thing she did. Then she began awkwardly talking about the bag, told me to put it over my shoulder, and said “doesn’t the bag just feel luxury? Just, luxury.” The tone of her voice and her improper English made it clear that she was uncomfortable.

When we were done looking at the bag, she pointed the price of the bag out again saying “you could buy two MCMs with that money”. My husband and I then left the luxury handbags section as she told us to have a nice day and then left the store.

That is one of the most ridiculous things a sales associate has ever done while I was shopping. A sales associate is supposed to try and sell you a product, regardless of how you look, unless you make it clear that you won’t be buying it when the sales associate is helping you. Especially at a store like Saks Fifth Avenue where you’d be paying thousands of dollars if you were buying something. This sales associate did not do that. She instead decided to assume that I couldn’t afford to buy what I was looking at and then awkwardly try to act like she wasn’t doing that.

I don’t know if this sales associate was racially profiling me, as many non-white United States citizens aren’t as wealthy as white citizens, or if she was financially profiling me based on what I was wearing and my overall appearance. Regardless, I was discriminated against by that sales associate and she shouldn’t have said all that.

So, what do you think? Should a sales associate always try to sell you a product and assist you regardless of how you look? Let me know in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to get new posts sent directly to your inbox and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.


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3 Comments
  1. I noticed your blog during a location search and while I understand the sting of being treated “as if”, we too must realize the sales people are humans and have their inherent flaws apparent during their work hours. It was nice to here that she wasn’t judgmental on the 1st and kind of 2nd trip, but also her lack of class was apparent during the latest browsing experience. Nevertheless, perhaps she has been burned by another non purchasing shopper who did something to jade her judgement, it’s not fair of course, but it is simply human nature. If I can’t afford something and someone offends my financial status, I don’t blame them, I pity them since they too probably could not afford the very couture wares that they push!

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