A word about lehenga shopping & wedding vendors

A word about lehenga shopping and wedding vendors

A classmate of mine from school is getting married soon, and asked me where she should go look for a lehenga. I told her the names of a few stores in Chandni Chowk, Shahpur Jat, and a few other areas of Delhi. She visited a particular store in Chandni Chowk this week, and came back to me with this –

“These are some issues I faced-
1.guard doesn’t let me take my handbag inside the shop- says it’s too big? What? Really? I’m going to steal a Lehenga in a tote? Okay! So after arguing, I leave it there taking out my precious stuff.
2. The shop is empty, being a wednesday (Oct 15)
3. A guy on first floor asks us what do we want, I shout.. Bridal. He says come up
4. My mom( with knee troubles  yet braving Chandni Chowk with me) and I climb up and the guy asks us rudely- do you have an appointment? I say..excuse me? And lo- he tells me… We don’t show any lehngas without appointment. And turns away. Showing no interest, not asking us politely to wait or telling us a process to take an appointment or basically any concern for a customer who was ready to spend a good amount of money in your shop. We left and that’s that. So, shouldn’t they advertise this somewhere? Outside their shop maybe? Or before ppl climb up a flight of stairs?”

I’ve copy-pasted a part of the email she sent, and boy – was she angry!

After reading this, I felt terrible! I had recommended a store to her, based on my positive experience in the past. Turns out, the store doesn’t care about giving her the same experience – in fact, they don’t care about their customers!

Or, is it?

Turns out, in India – the customer cannot be passive about customer service.

Yes, that’s what I said. YOU, the customer, need to do something about it. Hate me for saying it, but it’s the only way out. Mehak (of WedMeGood) and I discussed this today, and she’s also received similar emails about stores we both highly recommend sometimes. They are usually the ones who get a lot of orders, and are therefore more complacent about customer service.

Let’s talk about what you can do.

Take Om Prakash Jawahar Lal, for example. I got my wedding lehenga from there, and my sister also got the lehenga she wore on my wedding from OPJL. But when my SIL went there, on my recommendation, the whole family was annoyed with their customer service. It was terrible. A lot of girls have written in saying similar things have happened with them at OPJL. Turns out – it depends on which salesman you get! This is, of course, pure luck. I went to OPJL again recently to shop for a friend’s wedding lehenga, and we had a great experience again! Totally depends on which salesman turned up in front of you. Does that mean there’s nothing you can do about it?

Read on, read on.

2 years ago, I was at Frontier Raas, shopping for my wedding trousseau. It was sale time, and the place was a mad house. I went to the sari section, and picked 4 net saris to try on. The salesman started to drape it on me without any cloth underneath it. What do I mean by that? When you try on a net sari, you will get zero idea of what it will look like if it’s draped as is. Stores generally bring out satin fabric in similar shades to drape on you underneath the sari. That way, you can truly get a sense of what the sari will look like. So I asked the salesman to please get a cloth in a similar shade. He said, “during sale time, we don’t do that. You have to try it on as is.” Annoyed, I left the saris there without trying the rest and started to walk towards the exit. Then I thought, this is such a stupid rule. Nobody will buy any net saris from them if they have such a policy during sales! I wanted to ask the manager why they have such a rule, and suggest they change it, for their own good. Because it was absurd. So I found the store manager, and asked him about it. He said, “we don’t have such a rule!” Ah. The salesman was probably just tired of draping women in saris for days in a row, and wanted to get rid of a customer who was making him do hard work that he wasn’t in the mood for. The manager asked me to stay, and quickly called for another salesman to show me the saris along with a fabric to try on underneath it. He called for tea (the ultimate bonding beverage between 2 Indians!) and I got to try on the saris peacefully. I walked away that day with a good feeling about Frontier Raas, instead of a shitty one which would’ve led me to bad mouth them for the rest of my blogging (and beyond!) life.

What did this teach me?

My experience at a store in Delhi is in my hands. Well, mostly. When I visit a store, and a salesman or woman is being annoying, rude or “making up store policies to get rid of me” – I have a choice. I can either be passive and let it happen to me and walk out of the store in a huff, thinking “I don’t want to drop to their level and argue with them!” or as we like to say it in Hindi “aise logo ke munh nahi lagna chahiye” – which I’ve done plenty of times in the past. OR, I can find the store manager/owner, someone who cares about customer experience because they are smart enough to know what word-of-mouth means for their business, and explain the situation to them calmly and clearly. 8 times out of 10, the manager/owner will get you a different salesman or tell the same salesman to treat you better. What happens the other 20% of the time? The manager is also a dufus and you’ll think to yourself, “Argh Shinjini! What was the point of this?! Now I’m even more mad at them forever and ever and ever!”

Uhmmm…Take a chance, will you?

And you can come vent to me if it doesn’t go well. I’m always here to hear.

My point is – don’t be passive. If they are rude to you, don’t run away. Stand up for yourself, and go to the person in charge. SAY SOMETHING. Let them know you are a potential customer, and should be treated right. There is a chance the manager will be like “whatever, we don’t care” but atleast you would’ve tried. Atleast you would’ve done your part. You can walk always thinking – “atleast I gave it a shot.”

Of course, you don’t have to do this. It’s just a suggestion.

As for what we, as bloggers, can do for you, is this – we can warn you about those few stores that our brides have had a bad experience at. But like I said, not everyone has that experience. Some of them have a great one! If you read how many girls have faced rude and snobby salesmen at Om Prakash Jawahar Lal, you would think – no one must visit that store! The truth is – thousands of girls still do. They still get a million orders. And life goes on. Because when you see a bride in a beautiful lehenga, she’ll tell you it’s from OPJL and gush about how awesome their collection is. And you’ll google them and read some bad reviews. But you’ll still go there because you’re hopeful you’ll get a good salesman. And you do. And you place the order for your wedding lehenga. And you love it. And then a girl asks you, “where did you get it from? It’s beautiful!”…

PS. While we’ll still keep recommending stores that 8 out of 10 girls have good experiences with, us bloggers – we talk to each other. We know which wedding vendor (other than trousseau designers too!) has been doing a good job, and which one is truly terrible. The one with whom multiple brides have had bad experiences. They go on our blacklist. Yes, we have those too! But we’ll never name names here, because we believe in promoting what we love instead of bashing what we hate. You’ll have to be our mother to get those names out of us. But if we’re helping you plan your wedding, we have our ways to make sure you avoid the “bad ones” – so don’t worry about it! And a word of advice to wedding vendors – when you give a bad service to a bride, we don’t read too much into it. But multiple brides come to us and say your service was terrible? Yeah, it’s the world of the internet, buddy. Everyone knows everything. So stop living in a bubble where you think “a few bad experiences don’t count.” Yes, they do.

PPS. When I had visited the store my friend went to, they had asked me to leave my laptop bag at the entrance (no, they didn’t say anything to my friend’s mom about her purse – obviously. Who does that?) Guess what I did – I was like “no way! I am NOT leaving my laptop bag at your entry! Like, no way!” I probably scared the guard so much with my absolute NO and “don’t even think about it” that they let me take my big fat laptop bag in with me.

What did you do when you had a bad experience with a wedding vendor? Share and vent in the comments below!

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33 Comments

  1. Such a interesting read Shinjini.. I loved reading this article and the way you have explained the issue and the its possible solution. I liked the way you took up the issue with store manager, as at least they care about their brand and business. This is a great help to all the girls who have a horrible experience and just just walk out with a bad mood.

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  2. Thanks for the article Shinjini. I feel like I am not the only one who went through a horrible lehenga experience! My experience was a bit different for it was not the sales people who ill-treated me and my mom (they were lovely!), it was the owners’ wife! She was so full of herself, because obviously she owned a big shop with lakhs of turnover and a huge clientele. So the story goes like this-

    I ordered a lehenga and an indo-western from this famous shop at katra pyaarelal in CC.I had already paid the entire amount through my credit card, but their accounts for some reason didn’t show any entry for half of the bill. NOW, I DONT MIND THEM CHECKING. BUT THE WAY IT WAS DONE WAS SO HUMILIATING. THE OWNER’S WIFE KEPT ASKING THE SAME QUESTIONS AGAIN AND AGAIN. AND THEN ASKED ME TO PRODUCE MY ACCOUNT STATEMENT AS PROOF OF MY TRANSACTION (makes sense, right?) BUT THE INVESTIGATION DIDN’T STOP THERE. SHE CLICKED A PICTURE OF MY CREDIT CARD, AND KEPT INTERROGATING US LIKE WE WERE CRIMINALS. MY MOM AND I WERE NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO COMPLETE OUR SENTENCES. Now this treatment was so different from when we had not made a purchase. I was horrified, and as it happens in such situations. I just stood there! (I go numb when embarassed) My mother, being the true Delhi woman she is, didn’t take it so well. She fought right back! And we left the shop telling her what an obnoxious dukaandar she was! And I am so glad i had my mother with me to set the record straight, or I would have been yet another customer taking that shit passively

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She clicked a picture of your credit card??? De-activate it! That’s absurd! And good your mom fought back. I know, it’s terrible that I’m saying yes to fighting, but…sometimes you just have to 🙂

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  3. something similar happened with me in ctc chandni chowk
    “madam 5 mins ruko” was repeated for half an hour during which the two salesmen were busy catering to only one customer and that too on a rather free day where the floor was empty apart from me n my mum(who was made to stand for that period time despite of repeated requests for a chair to be provided)

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  4. Hi, ive been a regular reader of both TBH and WMG. Im really pleased to see that you’ve picked up consumer sentiment here. I am a designer by profession and so when one of my friends asked me to do her wedding lehenga a few months back, I had to decline as I was running on full capacity. Instead I offered to accompany her to select a lehenga that would suit her body type and image that she had in mind. So we went to OP as she had heard a lot about that place. I cannot begin to tell you how harrowing the experience their felt as a customer. I am in the same profession and I spend so much of time on each of my client, customising their looks even if its not a bridal order! I try and stay in their budget even if its just 50k for a bridal and here I was with my friend ready to spend over 2 Lacs at the store with the salesperson their acting like he was doing her a favor! Its amazing how high up in the air these vendors think they are with selling nothing but knock offs and nothing original. I immediately took her back to my home studio. I agree with you when you say that its on us that we let them get away with this behaviour. Their are several stores ive heard my clients complaint about like this…they should know that this would only lead to love loss and eventually people would be tired of taking their attitude. Thanks

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  5. Brilliant article thedelhibride 🙂 I have just been out Lehenga shopping once, and trust me I already feel so stressed out, I want to buy the next lehenga I see! 😦

    I totally and completely understand that showing, displaying, selling and impressing demanding brides must be a painful task for the shopkeepers and salespersons.(what with the hours of folding, cleaning and packing away again and again it must be taking them!). However, that is no reason to mis-treat potential customers, when this industry purely runs on word-of-mouth(and ofcourse, your blogs :))

    Brides and their families go to shops with immense expectations for that ONE piece of dress that they are ready to spend months of salary, time and effort on 🙂

    If lehenga store owners act so pricey as to

    – refusing to show lehengas without appointments (okay if it is a policy, hugely popularized fact -at least have the courtesy to tell an uninformed customer his/her lack of this “common knowledge” in a polite manner)
    -don’t show brides what “they” want rather than keep pushing in what they want to sell (“gota-patti is out” “this is not in your range”..)
    -refuse to be polite, nice and empathetic towards brides and their family
    -oversell and create embarrassing situations such as- “you wasted so much of our time browsing”, “if you didn’t have to buy, why did you come to our shop” etc etc (so I’m supposed to buy something for a Lakh even if I don’t like it?)

    my list goes on and on..

    I think that shopkeepers have all the right to be rude, polite or whatever they want to be. But then they should be prepared to lose customers and face.

    I love the way you have given power to the customer to put foot down and make an effort to try and give feedback rather than storm out or feel embarrassed 🙂

    -Geetika

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi,

    I went to OPJL last Saturday after reading your blog and some others ( wedmegood/bollywoodshadis).. Even I felt terrible seeing there customer service. I went with my fiance and after searching for the shop for around 20-25 min, we finally reached there but they showed no interest in attending us. They just said they don’t have any lehanga below 1 lac and got busy with there own work though the shop was almost empty. We felt very disappointed and just left from there.

    I think you guys should boycott these kind of shops as mostly soon to be brides read your blogs and after your recommendation goes there.

    Though few shops like frontier bazar in Karol bagh about which also I read on your blog only is really a nice one. I went there alone just to look out and try, they treated me very nicely and showed great interest. They have very nice collection of bridal lehangas as well. I was really impressed.

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    1. U could check out Frontier Raas and Frontier Bazaar. They are both very good with service, especially Bazaar. The lehengas might be on higher side of your range, but u can always try to bargain. I would also recommend to visit CC but go to lesser known shops. They are trying to make a mark, so their service is very good. Just mark a day to explore CC, and visit as many shops as u can (leave out the big ones such as Om prakash, Kamal Bhai, asiana couture). There is a shop by the name “shree radhe krishna” near meena bazaar in CC. they have limited range but stuff is very nice and the service is polite and sensitive.

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    2. Hey Shruti,
      Totally get your point about people trusting our recommendations. But from our side, and our point of view we also get like 100 emails telling us about great experiences in the same shop and only 1-2 negative ones. So all we can do is encourage the people who have had bad experiences to piost their views in the comments section so others are aware this has occured.

      With the internet and social media its easy to get swept up in critical reviews (people care more about hearing a crappy exp than a positive one) but as bloggers we also have a duty to represent both sides and one or two bad experiences amongst 50 good ones is not enough for us sometimes .

      There are exceptions ofcourse and if we repeatedly hear the same thing happening we will no doubt blacklist certain people and we have done before as well.

      Seperate note: Service in Frontier Karol Bagh is the best in all of delhi. They are polite, they dont scowl when you dont buy and they feed you yummy stuff. lol…even if you dont buy anything they are just very happy to give you limca and a burger.

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    3. Hi Mehak,

      Agreed. But I think this is not just one or two cases. Loads of girls faced similar issues with some of the stores. No doubt they have great stuff, and people have good experience with them but you guys should work out on the root cause for negative experiences too. If any of the below mentioned condition or any other follows, then kindly mention it along with your recommendation.

      1. Do they serve to people only with high Budget?

      2. Do they serve to people who are known to them?

      3. Or are they really busy that they can’t serve walk in customers and we need to take prior appoinment from them?

      It’s really harsh the way they treat their customers, and for me atleast even if they have the best collection in the whole city, I am not going to buy if they don’t treat me nicely.

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    4. bloggers won’t warn you about these shops….no matter what..because they are paid by these guys…And actually we r to b blamed as v rally behind a few popular bloggers…And wed me good is a completely commercialized thing now…What else u think is there business if not promoting vendors?
      P.S. This particular article is nicely written.

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    5. Hey Sonia. That’s not true. I obviously can’t speak about other bloggers, but I dont give recommendations based on payments. We dont get commission from wedding vendors when a bride buys from them. And if someone has paid for a post, its clearly marked “sponsored” – and our opinion is still completely honest, but in the interest of full disclosure, we believe in an open policy and always mention it.

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    6. i m sorry… i wrote it here….bcoz ur blog is till now very realistic and actually worth reading for genuine advice.. 🙂 my comment was meant for wed me good basically which has become highly commercialized…..and totally promoting few brands, people without giving any genuine advice or help for “normal” shopping

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    7. I agree. WMG doesn’t really have anything for the average Indian girl 🙂 nothing but Sabyasachi and destination weddings 🙂 I no longer go there for any help.

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    8. +1 for the above! The quality of articles has been steadily dwindling down at WMG. Nothing relevant or useful anymore. .,Nice write up here btw.I think one should never ever stay passive to such kind of treatment meted out to us potential customers..a strong stance needs to be adopted.

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  7. Nice one Shinjini
    I do think also that somewhere Customer service is quite lacking in India, but its true about how much we should really stand up somewhere
    Case in point a reader actually mentioned how she was almost molested in a store. While a store guy was making her try something on, she felt uncomfortable and felt him touching her inapprorpiately. At the time, she didnt know what it was but when she thought about it she realised what had happened. However she kept quiet about it and then told me this in a comment on my blog …

    The point is- that salesguy is going to still be there at the shop, probably doing the same thin g to someone else…its so important to speak up

    Apart from that, i too have stopped taking sh** from people. Im sorry if you have some godforsaken rules that make no sense, there is no way Im pandering to these rules.

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  8. Although I got my wedding lehenga from OPJ , I have vowed to never go back there…bad customer service andrude salesmen…buying a bridal lehenga is not just regular shopping. .It is an emotional affair. .which gets spoilt totally with such service. .High time OPJ realises where they are heading..i will not recommend anyone to go there

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  9. Now,I am so scared to Go to OPJ for buying my wedding lehenga hearing such horrifying stories.I so wish that they could read all these comments or someone would just pass on the message to them.

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  10. OPJL is the WORST store in delhi. I went there coz i read abt ur wedding lengha story and also it comes highly recommended from WMG. But the stuff they have now, is just horrible, all knock offs and all of them have been priced really high ! And if u don’t have a budget above 2 they won’t even give you a second look, which is a disgusting because money is money, I might not want to spend a fortune on a store from CC. I wud rather by an original for half the price ! Thansk for taking this up, by far my experience in CC and especially at OPJL has been the worst !

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  11. Great article Shinjini. It is high time that these vendors stop mistreating us. They aren’t doing any charity for us, we are PAYING for it and deserve some respect anyways. We should give it back to them and not just allow them to have their sense of pride hanging on their face. They act as if they are the bosses of the market.
    I had a very nice experience at CC when I got my lehenga in July. A small amount of respect actually makes a bride fall in love with her lehenga even more.

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  12. Hey Nice article! and I do think we needed these words out in the world!

    I personally feel Chandni Chowk lacks BIG time in terms of customer service and like you said it really is all about the kind of salesman you get.

    I always insist of dealing straight with the manager if I feel the salesman isn’t giving me the attention I deserve (ok that sounds like I am a tantrum throwing person..but you get my view na)

    As for OPJL I had a really bad experience because my budget was 1-1.5L, I was simply told that I wouldn’t get anything in that -_-

    Frontier has been great all the time, but they do lack in service when it comes to the floors that have Saree’s and Anarkalis; the Lehenga salesmen I have experienced so far (around 4-5) have been great.

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    1. That’s so odd. Because OPJL obviously has lehengas in 80k range too. In fact, my sister’s was under 50k if i remember correctly! But I’ve heard a lot of these stories where brides have been told by salesmen of different shops that they have nothing under 1.5 lakh (and these are Chandni Chowk shops!) when we all know they obviously do. Just a salesman not interested in making a sale at that time, I guess.

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  13. My wedding is planned on Jan 30th..do we have any sale on wedding lehengas in CC or KB somewhr b/w now and Jan..
    Is thr any point waiting for any such sale?
    Do help with ur suggestions…
    thanks..:-)

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  14. Wed me good has really nothing for a middle class girl. Nowdays the blog looks more like a promotional tool for designers and for people who can spend crores in their wedding

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  15. Hello
    Love the advices on wedding lehengas and now fascinated by just the word of OM Prakash JL.
    I stay in mauritius and by any chance can i contact OPJL by email or web pls
    Thank u
    God bless

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  16. Hi The Delhi Bride,
    I had been to Frontier Raas, Karol Bagh during sale time….FORTUNATELY not much of crowd to my relief. I had no plans of buying anything before entering the shop. But the way they treated me I thought I should get 1 saree that i liked the most and the kind of service they gave me….I end up buying 3 sarees. last 2 are double of the price i paid for my 1st saree. I was tired trying sarees. They get me cofee which freshed my mind and I started trying again………….3 sarees from Them the KAROL BAGH store.

    BUT…..A Big BUT. I went to South Ex. with same thoughts but. They asked what kind of saree you looking for i said full net saree. They said 1st floor…when i been to 1st floor they said some another floor . When i reached that floor they said we don’t have any saree like what I am asking for. May be they thought i am there for TIME PASS or may be I DONT AFFORD their saree.

    NO FRONTIER RASS SOUTH EX for me BUT A BIG YES TO KAROL BAGH (Y)

    Like

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