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Have you heard...??? #GASPFAIL

[For exclusive news regarding this #GASP situation, scroll near the end…I called GASP on Chapel Street and spoke to them!!!]

News is buzzing around Australia regarding poor customer service from a shop in Melbourne – GASP on Chapel Street in South Yarra.  Now, I’ve never been to the shop before…but after reading the following emails, I don’t intend to.

So the story goes like this…

From: Keara O’Neil
Sent: Monday, 26 September 2011 3:14 PM
To: matt@gaspjeans.com.au
Subject: customer complaint-Chapel St store

Hi Chad,

I had the privilege of shopping at your brand new Chapel St store on Saturday 24th September with my three bridesmaids in tow.  On the hunt for bridesmaids dresses and a hens dress for myself we walked into the store and were automatically pounced on by a male staff member, I understand that this is protocol for many retail outlets and ours is no different. The staff member was initially funny and extremely helpful with sizes etc.  I chose a bright pink dress to try on but was unable to do the zip up so asked for the size up, when I eventually got the correct size and came out of the change room I was unable to discuss the likes or dislikes of the dress with my bridesmaids as the sales assistant kept saying “you should just get it”, when I told him I would think about it, he pulled me aside and whispered “Is it the price your worried about”. By now I was extremely frustrated, and again told him I’d think about it, I walked back into the change room and closed the door behind me, only to have it pushed open with the sales assistant half standing in my change room, again whispering “I think you should just get it”, when I gave him attitude and said rudely, “I already told you I would think about it”, he then replied, “With your figure I really think you should buy it”.  I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that, but considering the attitude used to deliver such a statement I can only imagine that it was an immature dig in relation to my healthy size 12 frame.  I got changed in a hurry and walked right out of the change rooms and out of the store, I could hear the sales assistant yelling out to me, but I just ignored him and continued to leave, assuming my bridesmaids would follow.  After waiting down the road for my bridesmaids to come out of the store I was told by one of them that the sales assistant yelled out “Have fun finding something at Supre”, when one of them approached him in regards to his comments, he replied “I knew you girls were a joke the minute you walked in”.  When my bridesmaids walked out of the store another two customers walked out with them, they too could not believe the immaturity of the sales assistant.

I have worked in retail for 12 years and have come across an array of customer complaints over the years, none of which come even close to what I encountered on Saturday at your store, I wish I was exaggerating but unfortunately for your company this person actually exists and is working in one of your stores.  I am pretty laid back and was quite happy just leaving your store, it was my bridesmaids who felt the need to say something to him………I dread to think how many customers he has not only offended but how many customers have left your store due to the pressure placed on getting the sale, and then to be harassed when that sale hasn’t taken place.

Ring me, don’t ring, not fussed………I’m just one retailer notifying another of an extremely inappropriate sales assistant.

Keara O’Neill

If I got an email of complaint, I would be apologising left, right and centre – but instead, here is GASP’s reply…

From: GASP Online Enquiries [mailto:enquiries@gaspjeans.com.au]
Sent: Wednesday, 28 September 2011 11:58 AM
To: Keara O’Neil
Subject: customer complaint-Chapel St store
Importance: High

Dear Keara O’Neil,

Having now had the privilege of having both version of events, I am now in a position to respond to your complaint.

From the very outset, one thing that you should be mindful of is; Our product offerings are very, very carefully selected, so to ensure that we do not appeal to a broad customer base. This is something which is always at the forefront of our minds when undertaking buying duties. The reason for this is to ensure that we only carry products which appeal to a very fashion forward consumer. This by default means that the customer whom is acclimatised to buying from “clothing for the masses” type retailers, is almost frightened by our range, sometimes we have found that this type of customer, almost finds our dresses funny, and on occasion noted comments such as ‘it looks like a dead flamingo’. When we receive comments like this, we like to give ourselves and our buyers, a big pat on the back, because we know we are doing our job right, and modus operandi is being upheld.

Our range is worn by A list celebrities to the likes of Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez and Katy Perry to name only a few. Now, as one might appreciate, the style counsel for these types of celebrities are not ones to pick “run of the mill” type clothing, and they do so on the basis to ensure that the styles are cutting edge, and only worn by a select few. Similarly these items are priced such that they remain inaccessible to the undesirable.
Insofar as our employee goes; Similar to our product offerings, our employees are selected with a similar approach. Chris whom served you is a qualified stylist whom has a sixth sense for fashion, and Chris’s only problem is that he is too good at what he does, and as I am sure you are aware, people whom are talented, generally do not tolerate having their time wasted, which is the reason you were provoked to leave the store.

Whilst I concede that you work for chain retailer, unfortunately that does not make us like for like. It is probably fair to assume, a lot of what I have said in this email, either doesn’t make sense to you, or you totally disagree with it all, which is what I would expect (unless of course I have you totally wrong –which I doubt). Let me guess, you would never, ever hire Chris in the course of your duty, would you? This is the very reason, why your comment “from one retailer to another” is so disproportionate, it’s almost as though we are in a totally different industries. Chris is a retail superstar, who possess unparalleled  ability, and I am sorry you feel upset by him, but he knew you were not going to buy anything before you even left your house.

So if you would like to do us any favours, please do not waste our retail staff’s time, because as you have already seen, they will not tolerate it. I am sure there are plenty of shops that appease your taste, so I respectfully ask that you side step our store during future window shopping expeditions.

Thank you for your enquiry.

GASP Online Customer Care

P: (03) 9421 6812 | F: (03) 9421 1720 | W:  http://www.gaspjeans.com.au

Shock, horror, faint!!!!!  What do you think?  PR stunt?  Hoax?  No official word on the street yet, but I will update this when I hear more!  Totally #GASPFAIL!!!


Seeing as it is a major trending topic, I decided to ring GASP myself. Yep, the same store on Chapel Street where Chris “the retail superstar” works. I spoke to someone called Sammy at 17.48pm. I asked her if I could have an official statement from GASP. She said, “No.” I asked her if the email which was circulating around the internet a hoax. “No, it’s true.” I asked her how she felt about it. She said, “I don’t care. It’s got nothing to do with me.” I was tempted to ask if I could speak to Chris, the man himself, but I chickened out… He probably wouldn’t want to speak to me as his “sixth sense of fashion” would inform him that I am still wearing my PJs from last night. And there you go! IT IS NOT A HOAX!!!!

I went on GASP’s Facebook page earlier to ask them about it…but instead of responding, their Facebook page have magically disappeared!!!! (checked this at 15.43pm on 29/9/11!!!)

GASP makes it on to The Age online newspaper! Surely, cannot be a hoax.

On Twitter, @PybusPR tweeted “Phones GASP – Is it true? It is. LAST GASP Death of retail party at ours! Theme is ‘flamingo dresses’ ! #GASPFAIL!”

69 comments on “Have You Heard About #GASPFAIL?”

  1. What a dick! I’m never shopping there again. Regardless of whether it’s a hoax or not, the damage is done. I have to say I’m glad I got rid of my Gasp dresses. Not worth the cost.

  2. Wow, I can’t believe that reply! Who does that store think they are? I’m surprised they don’t inspect customers before letting them in the store with that attitude! Ridiculous!

  3. this is obviously not real.
    there is no way any customer service would ever write that to anyone.

    If anything they would apologise but not acknowledge the staff members failings if they thought it was just a ragy customer complaint.

    The first email might of been real but the second is most undoubtedly fake.

    interesting read thou.

  4. I’ve never purchased anything from Gasp and I don’t intend to because 1) the clothes do not appeal to me at all, and 2) the staff always leave a sour note on my tongue.

    If this is a PR stunt, then the company responsible for this has morons working for them, because this level of customer service is highly unacceptable.

    • @Tine, Haven’t been there but don’t intend to. It is totally unacceptable! And apparently it is not a PR stunt according to PybusPR who called GASP and confirmed they stand by their email!!! MADNESS!!!!

  5. Woah… “inaccessible to the undesirable”?! WTF!! I have bought a few times from them (mostly when I was in my slutty phase and their clothing suited my style) but I have never had a problem such as that. I emailed them once to inquire about their dress sizing but never got a response, so had to go in store to find out. After seeing this, I don’t know what to think! I do like their dresses, and had planned on buying it but you really are just paying for the style, as their quality is on par with most clothing stores (nothing exceptional). Hmmm. I really don’t know what to think now!

    • @Rin, Maybe it’s because they reckon you are “desirable”, you sexy lady!!!! But for us poor unfortunate souls who are no desirable, erm…don’t think I’ll be going to GASP anytime soon!!!

  6. WTF????!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So the salesman is RUDE to her, pushy and TOTALLY disrespectful to her… She emails the owner just to be ABUSED further?! TF?!

    If this is/was real…… It wouldn’t have ended there…. I’d have made sure everyone knew about this.

    She complained to the owner, and the person insults her, basically saying that she’s too poor to buy their stuff so don’t even bother coming….?! And that their store caters for “fashion-forawd people only, and that just because the client worksed in retail doesnt mean she’s fashionable/good enough?! AND the person justifies how rude the salesman was to the customer……? “Sixth sense for fashion” my FOOT! If EVERY retailer (I don’t care who the hell wears their stuff) treated their clients like that, no one would buy anything.

    I’m appalled at this…. Hoping it is some kinda PR stunt (and even then…. Why would someone do something like just for publicity….? Ridiculous).

    • @LeenzieM, If it’s a PR stunt, it’s just beyond WRONG!!! But apparently it isn’t – it’s FOR REAL!! I am totally disgusted at their reply!! Seriously, who do they think they are?!!!

  7. Shucks, I’ve gotten better service at classy boutiques even though we both knew I was only browsing. Rudeness like that is unacceptable at ANY level.

    As for GASP, ‘customer service etiquette’ was probably dreamt up by some ‘undesirable’? XD

    • @beetrice, GASP is definitely not classy!!! I mean, I have had bad customer service before but this is beyond terrible…especially their reply to her complaint! What on earth??!!!

  8. OhMyGod! lol this is crazy! I actually think of Gasp as lower-end and tacky.I definitely won’t be going in there now!

  9. OMG~ I have no words.. I didn’t think companies like this existed! “I respectfully ask that you side step our store during future window shopping expeditions”?? Wow! I don’t know how many dresses Kim Kardashian buys from their store but I doubt its enough to keep them running after this.

    • @Charisse, I hope Kim K stops shopping there and they shut down hahaha. Okay, that’s nasty…but then they should really be careful what they say! Their customer service is so poor!!! I think I would have been crying if I had been the bride-to-be…

  10. OMG! My blood boiled when I read the complaint letter. The bubbling blood shot right out of my head and eyes even (pardon my macabre expression) when I read the reply from GASP.

    It sounds a little too fake as I do not think any store would be as Diva as that. Please keep me updated if this is a hoax ok? If it were true, the next step would be to circulate this around to reach out to the masses.

  11. appalled! i’ve seen their dresses back when i was in uni and i thought it had no style.
    anyhoo, i do hope it’s a hoax as it’s never nice to get bad publicity. that being said, if it’s a hoax, it’s a crappy one.

        • @domncroxd, anyhoo, their customer service does suck. i can walk into a high-end store and still be treated courteously. when i was a student in melbourne, the girls just looked at you like something crawled up their butt and died.

          sorry, but i really don’t like GASP to begin with and now this makes me dislike them even more.

            • @Ling Tung, so apparently the email is legitimate. i mean, come on, there’s one thing about standing up for your own staff and your brand, but really??? *annoyance building up* when your staff blatantly disrespects clients and when your brand stands for slutty prom dresses?

                • @Ling Tung, well like i said…their staff is as classy as their dresses. have you seen their dresses? i think ksuan and i walked past the one in melb central a few times and we always laughed at the jersey shore lookie-likies (of course back then there as no jersey shore, but dang, those were some skinny carrot sticks working there).

  12. Yes!! I’ve heard… hahah it’s SO rude and disgusting that it’s unbelievable. I mean.. I do see some companies complaints email treated wrong on twitter here and there but talk about thrashing their customers…! #GASPFAIL

    I wonder how they’re gonna respond…


    • @Tram, I don’t understand why they shot themselves in the foot like that! They are so dumb!!!! I can’t wait to hear their official response to this.

  13. that is one thing I don´t understand in Melbourne…many people use to buy somthing in stores, but some stores have a very bad staff…they don´t think in that way: the client always have the preference…definitely I will never go to gasp.

  14. omg!! “inaccessible to the undesirable” that is the worst thing i have read …
    and why does he think dropping celebrity names is suppose to intimidate us..
    and “Chris’s only problem is that he is too good at what he does” im sorry but for a professional business this is no way to address a customer. I seriously cannot believe how bad this response is…
    Thank you so much for getting the word out there, people should defiantly know about this ..

  15. I did not know this until I saw this make the headlines of The 7pm Project on channel ten. My friends and I went to the Gasp store in Melbourne Central, and the lady at the counter did not even bother to greet us or help us with anything. No wonder why there were no customers inside looking. To me, some of their dresses look ridiculous and not even worth considering buying. The PR of Gasp had the guts to even reply with such a disgusting email and to further insult the consumer.

  16. I’ve been to the Chapel St store & met the wanker. Soooooo awfully pushy, I’m not surprised by the letter at all. Very surprised by management comments though!

    Luckily I bought the jacket I was looking at, and I had my husband with me so even if I hadn’t bought it, I doubt the tosser would have had the courage to say anything rude to me.

    I find their jeans quite comfy, but I can’t say that I feel like an A-lister wearing them, after all they only cost me $120!

  17. OMG!!! I am from India.ad do not haveGASP here..and boy am i GLAD?????????
    this is downright f@#$%#E#$ horrible…………..pardon my french…
    If i ever visit your country…will make a mental note never to shop there !!

  18. This is hilarious! HAHA ahhh man, its about time that GASP got their butt kicked. Although I have had one girl being an absolute doll to me when all I was doing was browsing at dresses. But this is what you get for delivering shit service! Makes me wonder which cloud that guy’s head is in cause its too high!

  19. I’ve never heard of Gasp before but if those celebrities listed wear that stuff I’m guessing it’s trashy. I can’t believe the attitude of the retailer, I guess they don’t want to sell anything!

  20. “Chris whom served you is a qualified stylist whom has a sixth sense for fashion, and Chris’s only problem is that he is too good at what he does, and as I am sure you are aware, people whom are talented, generally do not tolerate having their time wasted, which is the reason you were provoked to leave the store.”

    If you want to sound superior, using “whom” when you should use “who” – three times in a single sentence – isn’t the way to do it.

    You just sound like an uneducated idiot.

    Not to mention, serving a customer is a waste of time? Precious talented petal is in the wrong industry.

  21. sounds like gasp sell some great slutty stuff. Guys like slutty looking girls and girls like guys. I can’t see gasp going out of business any time soon!

  22. what a joke matt is! the gasp staff are probably laughing and thinking its funny. its ignorant to think that they are ‘classy’ if they were a classy brand they’d act like it. i’m so ashamed to have bought some of their items! in the trash they go! LOL bunch of wanks.

  23. GASP are on the A list as the biggest bunch of jerks. I’m sure those A list celebs would be appalled and never wear Gasp clothes again. I’ve never shopped there & now never will. That is unless Keara O’Neill gets a sincere, public apology and free outfits for her & her bridesmaids.

    Certainly are a lot of disgruntled people out there.

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