Thursday, 8 October 2009

City Shopping Feature: Le Parfum - Vienna

A few years ago I wrote a glowing review about Le Parfum - a Viennese niche perfume retailer in the heart of the Austrian capital which I felt at the time had ticked all the right boxes.
On my first visit since, I sadly learned that things at Le Parfum were no longer quite up to par. The blonde saleswoman behind the cashdesk bewildered me somewhat, enough so to make me seriously wonder if she was on meds. Any conversation I attempted to strike up about their perfume selection shifted swiftly into a discourse about how the store owner was currently holidaying in Crete, and having a wonderful time. I wondered if the €10 hike on most prices in the store was helping pay for this exotic Grecian excursion. Instead of buying the Nasomatto Black Afgano that I had intended; I scampered.
I returned a week later figuring I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. When I entered the store this time, I was delighted to see the original sales assistant whom had helped me on my first exceptional visit a few years ago. I smiled broadly but was met with a lukewarm gaze. When asking a few questions that I had saved since my previous (doomed) visit, I received responses that were every bit as tepid as her stare. I couldn't help but feel I was intruding when a young man who was clearly waiting for her shift to end or to meet with her stared at his watch and shifted in his seat impatiently. Instead of indulging my senses, I plucked the Nasomatto from the shelf and made for the cash register. Where samples were once generously offered in the past, this time one was dropped into my bag upon my request.

It could be that I walked in on two occasions when the sales assistants were having a bad day, but the odds of my visiting again have now diminished. Le Parfum is still a good little outlet for niche scents in Vienna, but recommended only if you cant find what you are looking for elsewhere.


Wakeup Your Makeup said...

What a shame - I understand and it is unacceptable, it is amazing how business or sales people today still do not realise the importance of giving the very best service that you can and how it can make all the difference - hopefully the owner of this establishment will read your comments. x Ida W.Y.M.

noggs said...

I visited Le Parfum twice during a visit to Vienna in December 2008. My experiences were similar to those you had during your earlier visit. The staff were warm, friendly, enthusiastic, and quite helpful. So whatever has happened for the worse, it has happened since then. Unfortunate for such a formerly great shop!

Anonymous said...

I live in Vienna and quite often visit this store.
I fully agree with your post. It fully depends on which shop assistant is there if the service ist good or not.
There is a young woman, I think she is a student who works part time who is always friendly and helpful. She is not very tall, dark hair and speaks German with an accent from the Tyrol or even Voralberg (most Western province of Austria). So look out for her!
The Head Sales Assistant Herr Heinz knows a lot about perfumes, he can be more than charming and helpful, on some days though he looks at you as if he has never seen you and is polite but not friendly at all.
Once my friend and I bought two bottles and one candle, we got a miniature each as a Goodie. On other occasions when I bought one bottle only, I never received samples.
I must say though, that - when registered at Nägele & Strubell - the beauty/fragrance shop around the corner of Le Parfum which has the same owner and where service ist always great and generous, you get 10% on same fragrances.

It is really a pity, I used to love to go there but nowadays when I look through the window and see the Blonde, I don't bother to go in and continue to our other Perfume Lovers Paradise "Duft und Kultur", which is only a short distance away.

Sorry for my bad English.