By all reports, the line to get into yesterday's Hermès sale at Soiffer Haskin on West 33rd Street was an unmitigated disaster.
In case you were wondering what people will endure to get a reported 60% off the retail price of an Hermès silk scarf or tie or enameled bracelet, it appears that they will endure a line that reportedly extended down 33rd Street all the way to Ninth Avenue, and downtown as far as 31st Street. The first people to get in were in line —or apparently hired people to wait in line for them— at 1 AM on Thursday. As the day wore on, people waited and waited and waited as the line inched forward at a glacial pace, and as late afternoon approached, it was made clear to hundreds of people still on the sidewalk, most of whom had been there for as long as six or seven hours, that there was no possible way they would get inside the sale before it closed at 7 PM.
They were not happy.
We have seen various reports of tears and tantrums, and by anyone's standards, it sounds like it was an ugly scene.
Why was it such a mess? Reports have the staff at Soiffer Haskin letting in a meager number of shoppers inside at a time, and once inside, those shoppers were in no hurry to exit before they scoured every table, rack and shelf to make sure that they weren't missing out on a fabulous hidden find. Normally, this venue is a paragon of efficiency and security with strict coat and bag checks and rules against strollers and bringing children. It is spacious, well furnished and well attended. That is why it is the location of choice to the most exclusive luxury brands when they need to schedule a sample sale, but perhaps, seeing the magnitude of the line, they were perhaps a little bit too cautious in limiting the number of shoppers to avoid the kind of competitive grabbing and elbow throwing that can arise at such sales.
Adding to the anger was the fact that many eager shoppers had saved up funds and waited months for the sale, with many taking time off from work or using vacation days to make sure that they would be able to have a special piece of Hermès by the end of the day. Many would not have the opportunity to return the next day to try again.
Clearly, Soiffer Haskin was taken by surprise yesterday. They have held many Hermès sales in seasons past with many long lines of early rising customers, but we have never heard of anything like this. Why was there such a strong turnout this year? Who knows? From what we have heard, the offerings were not any better than they have been at past sales. Perhaps the people who would normally see the long line and think, "Forget it. No way am I standing in that line for hours," decided to queue up instead of walking away, but the lesson here might be: Instead of spending an entire day waiting for the chance to maybe find something you like at a discount, cut your losses and move on. When they say you have to suffer for fashion, this is not what they mean.
I Waited in That Ridiculous Hermès Sample Sale Line for Eight Hours (Racked NY)
*SAMPLE SALE* Code: Orange (Mizhattan)
Skip the Hermes Sample Sale (Madison Avenue Spy)