The Australian clothing store Gasp Jeans—which, if you're not familiar (or just some fashion-illiterate hobo), is "the brand behind fashion['s] newest genre 'Playful Couture'"—has become a total joke thanks to its completely idiotic way of handling a recent customer service complaint. Companies wishing to alienate the public, take note!
Gasp's self-generated public image problems stem from an exchange between disgruntled shopper Keara O'Neil and various store representatives—including "Chris," the sales assistant who "helped" her when she visited her local Playful Couture outlet on September 24. In her e-complaint to the company, O'Neil writes that she and some friends had been shopping for bridesmaid dresses when Chris interrupted her by repeating "you should just get it," then making fun of her figure. As O'Neil and company departed from the store, Chris allegedly called out, "I knew you girls were a joke the minute you walked in."
According to Gasp area manager Matthew Chidgey, Chris acted completely in line with the store's values, and O'Neil is the one at fault. Choice excerpts from his response to her (reprinted in its entirety over at the Herald Sun):
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 ... Similarly these items are priced such that they remain inaccessible to the undesirable.
[...]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 ...
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.
When asked by the Herald Sun if his response was for real, Chidgey actually admitted that it yes, it was. Gasp then released a follow-up statement "respecting" that not everyone strives "for a glamorous appearance; some prefer to simply blend in." Um, have you checked out the shit they sell over there? It looks like they took all the rejects from JWOWW's Filthy Couture line and opened up a store. Except for this slutty, sparkly riff on a tutu, which isn't really JWOWW's style. When it comes to Playful Couture, dour, "blending-in" couture is a preferable option.
So far the public has reacted to Gasp's defense of its tacky dead-flamingo clothes by Tweeting the hashtag #gaspfail and posting dead flamingo pictures and unglamorous comments on the store's Facebook page (where one can also find this July 1 comment attributed to Chidgey in which he talks about "a fat whore"). The company supposedly took the page down for a while, but then they realized that they're only demonstrating their sixth sense for fashion by behaving like total pricks, so they put it back up.
[Herald Sun. Image via Gasp]