30th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) A Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) student recently took to social media to share her experience of discrimination by designer store employees based on her appearance. The student, who was carrying an eco-friendly bag with the words “PolyU” on it, was ignored and treated poorly by store employees in all the designer boutiques they visited while shopping with her friends in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The student explained that the store employees were unfriendly and refused to serve them properly, causing a “bad trip” experience for them. However, when she changed her eco-friendly bag to a more expensive Louis Vuitton handbag, the attitude of the store employees changed dramatically. The store employees suddenly became more attentive, friendly, and even gave them a “luxury shopping experience” with one store even asking them to take a photo in front of the store’s logo.
The incident highlights the role of branding and socioeconomic status in the way store clerks treat their customers. The student’s experience prompted a discussion on social media about the issue of discrimination based on appearance and how it affects customer service. Some netizens shared similar experiences, saying that they had been ignored by sales staff in the past until they revealed their expensive belongings.
The problem of discrimination based on appearance is not just limited to high-end luxury stores. Some netizens shared their experiences of being ignored or treated poorly by sales staff at lower-priced stores. This indicates that it is a widespread problem in the retail industry that needs to be addressed.
The incident also sheds light on the issue of sales staff’s attitude towards customers. It raises questions about the professionalism of sales staff and their ability to provide quality customer service regardless of a customer’s appearance or socio-economic status.