I couldn’t believe my ears the other day when I overheard one of the  sales people at a branch of the “fabled” Brooks Brothers say to his colleague “I can’t wait to get the f_ _ _ out of here”.  And that was only the beginning of what may have been the worst customer service experience I have ever had.

My wife and I were shopping for a birthday present for a nephew and right after the holidays is sale time at Brooks Brothers.

We went to the store about 30 minutes to closing, and were the only people in the men’s department – besides three nattily-dressed sales people.

No one approached us as we looked around.

Then another sales person breezed by and said to his associates “we’re $7000 short of goal so far this week”.  Now having heard that, you’d think that someone would take a clue and offer us some assistance.  

Nothing of the sort happened.
Finally we found something we liked but weren’t sure of the sizing.

So we asked the person standing at the register as to whether or not he thought it fit a 5’11” 160 lb. guy.

“I wouldn’t know that …I wouldn’t be able to tell you” then he opened his jacket and said “people think I weigh more than I do, but I actually weigh 126 pounds – looks can be so deceptive”.

My wife and I looked at one another – cross-eyed.

Were we really in Brooks Brothers? Or at least the Brooks Brothers that I remember?

Like most boys growing up, I loved being with my Dad.   But he was on the road a lot – traveling for business.

So when we did spend time together it was really a treat.  Especially when he would take me with him to shop at Brooks Brothers – the “original” Brooks Brothers” that is.

The store, with its soaring ceiling, wood floors, and racks of meticulously laid out ties  the blue Oxford shirts and rows of “businessman” suits, knew their clients – the business professional – extremely well.  And the sales people, mirrored their clients. They were professionals through and through – in dress, manners and customer service.

Although this was in the days before computers, somehow they “knew” Dad (they must have kept some sort of client record).

No wonder Dad shopped there almost exclusively, for years – how could he not – they gave him no reason to go anywhere else.

Brooks Brothers, still exists, but today I’ll keep it stored in my memory as a once great place to go.

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