Most retailers, when they realize they’ve made a reasonable customer angry, do their best to rectify the situation. Gasp Jeans, however, is not most retailers. When a recent shopper complained that one of their salespeople criticized her weight and basically drove her out of the store, Gasp responded by publicly mocking her in the most ill-advised and thoroughly insulting response letter we’ve ever read.
To hear Keara O’Neil tell it, she stopped by the Gasp store with three of her bridesmaids in the hope of finding bridesmaids dresses and an outfit for her to wear on her bachelorette night. The problems started when a sales assistant named “Chris” began hounding her about a particular dress.
…I was unable to discuss the likes or dislikes of the dress with my bridesmaids as the sales assistant kept saying “you should just get it”, when I told him I would think about it, he pulled me aside and whispered “Is it the price your worried about”. By now I was extremely frustrated, and again told him I’d think about it, I walked back into the change room and closed the door behind me, only to have it pushed open with the sales assistant half standing in my change room, again whispering “I think you should just get it”, when I gave him attitude and said rudely, “I already told you I would think about it”, he then replied, “With your figure I really think you should buy it”.
O’Neil left the store with “Chris” yelling at her and waited outside for her bridesmaids to join her. After leaving, she was told by one them that “Chris” had said, “‘Have fun finding something at Supre,’ when one of them approached him in regards to his comments, he replied ‘I knew you girls were a joke the minute you walked in’.”
O’Neil sent her complaint in an email, to which GASP area manager Matthew Chidgey responded in kind. We’ve published his entire email below and bolded some of its more asshole-ish moments.
Dear Keara O’Neil,
Having now had the privilege of having both version of events, I am now in a position to respond to your complaint.
From the very outset, one thing that you should be mindful of is; Our product offerings are very, very carefully selected, so to ensure that we do not appeal to a broad customer base. This is something which is always at the forefront of our minds when undertaking buying duties.
The reason for this is to ensure that we only carry products which appeal to a very fashion forward consumer. This by default means that the customer whom is acclimatised to buying from “clothing for the masses” type retailers, is almost frightened by our range, sometimes we have found that this type of customer, almost finds our dresses funny, and on occasion noted comments such as ‘it looks like a dead flamingo’. When we receive comments like this, we like to give ourselves and our buyers, a big pat on the back, because we know we are doing our job right, and modus operandi is being upheld.
Our range is worn by A list celebrities to the likes of Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez and Katy Perry to name only a few. Now, as one might appreciate, the style counsel for these types of celebrities are not ones to pick “run of the mill” type clothing, and they do so on the basis to ensure that the styles are cutting edge, and only worn by a select few. Similarly these items are priced such that they remain inaccessible to the undesirable.
Insofar as our employee goes; Similar to our product offerings, our employees are selected with a similar approach. Chris whom served you is a qualified stylist whom has a sixth sense for fashion, and Chris’s only problem is that he is too good at what he does, and as I am sure you are aware, people whom are talented, generally do not tolerate having their time wasted, which is the reason you were provoked to leave the store.
Whilst I concede that you work for chain retailer, unfortunately that does not make us like for like. It is probably fair to assume, a lot of what I have said in this email, either doesn’t make sense to you, or you totally disagree with it all, which is what I would expect (unless of course I have you totally wrong – which I doubt).
Let me guess, you would never, ever hire Chris in the course of your duty, would you? This is the very reason, why your comment “from one retailer to another” is so disproportionate, it’s almost as though we are in a totally different industries. Chris is a retail superstar, who possess unparalleled ability, and I am sorry you feel upset by him, but he knew you were not going to buy anything before you even left your house.
So if you would like to do us any favours, please do not waste our retail staff’s time, because as you have already seen, they will not tolerate it. I am sure there are plenty of shops that appease your taste, so I respectfully ask that you side step our store during future window shopping expeditions.
Thank you for your enquiry.
In case you’re wondering if the above email is, in fact, real (because what kind of manager in their right mind would send something like that to a customer?), Chidgey confirmed its authenticity to The Herald Sun. Gasp Jeans later released the following statement:
“We respect that not all consumers strive for a glamorous appearance; some prefer to simply blend in.
“We respect and welcome all customers whom wish to visit our store, even though the intention to buy may not exist. But we ask that their opinions be expressed through blogs, social media or around a warm latte, but certainly not inside our stores.”
Well, we have one good thing to say about Gasp. While the company appears to be run by a bunch of assholes, at least they’re consistent.