Welcome to Hermés. We’re so happy to have you on board our elite sales team. Hermés is not so much a store as a state of being, a lesson in breeding. Since 1837, Hermès has remained faithful to its artisanal model and core goal of triggering economic anxiety and hawking the color orange. The drive to create class consciousness and savoir-faire are two cornerstones of our brand.
If you don’t know what that means, you do not belong in Hermés.
As Hermés sales associates, we are here to serve scorn and derision, and able to discern the net worth of patrons with a half-second, contemptful glance. From the moment they first enter an Hermès store, the customer should feel wrapped in the cool embrace of disdain. And at the first micro-faux pas, they should be ushered out as quickly as possible.
Such gaffes include: wearing sneakers that are dirty (but not intentionally so), not visibly holding a pair of tickets to the opera, and showing any reaction to being served free Champagne.
Speaking of, here’s a customer now. Watch closely, trainee, as I engage and then disengage this gentleman. Good afternoon, sir, I see you’ve strolled into our Equestrian section. As you know, an Hermés horse is no two-bit mare from your local derby. It’s a horse with dignity, a pony with effortless charm, and a stallion with a dental insurance policy unbeknownst to most Americans. Have you come searching for a cashmere drying rag? This season’s color is winner’s circle blue. It’s almost blue, could be navy, not quite a color at all. Now tell me, which bloodline is your Thoroughbred from? What’s that, you don’t know? A rental horse? Get out, get out, damn you.
Take notes, trainee. You must be prepared to expel any customer from the establishment, no matter how many times they say EGOT. We escorted Barbra Streisand and her cloned Coton de Tulear from the Hound section last week. It was an affront to God and France. You will quickly learn to value the brand’s reputation above your own sense of humanity. The handpicked staff at each of our 311 stores happily accept the experience of ego death. When you put on your platinum name badge engraved with your new French name, you lose the part of yourself who remembers what it feels like to run barefoot in the grass. Got it, Claudette?
On to the accessories! Our silk scarves are a staple for women who are speeding down the winding roads of Monaco. Our hats and gloves are our only size-inclusive garments. They’re very popular with clientele who are tailing their husbands to that mysterious hotel from the bank statements.
Now, Claudette, do you see that customer looking for a price tag? That’s a telltale sign she can’t afford it. Hello, ma’am, can we help you? You’re looking for the sale section? Clearance? Sorry, that word doesn’t hold meaning here. We sell three purses a year and our profit margins have never been higher. Our shelves are optical illusions. Things that do not sell simply disappear. No, I will not elaborate. Now, I believe you were just about to sashay to the Nordstrom down the street. Foutez le camp!
Back to the tour, Amélie. I mean Claudette. Here is the baby section. An Hermés bébé starts at infancy and grows to become a stockbroker, a banker, and eventually, a man that hunts strangers in the forest for sport. He must be outfitted with our latest diaper bag; it’s state-of-the-art and completely unwashable. Inside there are compartments for both business casual and white-tie attire. They match perfectly with our sets of baby socks that, yes, disintegrate if they ever touch the ground.
At last, to the land of Birkin. Our Birkins are blessings bestowed on the laps of those anointed—such as that of Margot Tenenbaum, Rory Gilmore, or Carrie Bradshaw. Mostly fictional women. There is a back room where customers are allowed to visually interact with the Birkins, but it’s been booked out five years in advance and requires a retina scan to enter. If a customer reaches for a bag with their bare hand, you are contractually obligated to do whatever is necessary to prevent skin contact. Here, take your corporate-issued mace. Yes, it’s Aesop room spray.
A few more guidelines: before selling a dog collar, you must get it in writing that it’s not for a rescue mutt. Yes, a doodle is technically a mutt. Before selling a lipstick, you must make sure those lips have never touched a hotdog. And before selling one of our €40,000 rugs or chairs, you must ensure that the homeowner has never heard the word “mortgage.” Each item in our inventory has an esteemed backstory, and in that backstory, a war crime that will be overlooked. Over the next eight weeks of rigorous, unpaid training, we will instill in you a healthy thirst for human blood that will eventually drive you completely out of your mind. Don’t worry, the employee health insurance package includes Botox to combat all the sneering you’ll do.
For now, just focus on identifying and addressing undesirable patrons with a simple: “I’m an Hermés sales associate, and you need to get the fuck out.”