Manhattan shopping.  In the story below, I'm NOT saying the brand or the nam e of the store.  I don't want to throw rage at one tiny example of something that ex i sts throughout Manhattan, especially at the brand-name stores that call themsel v es A Flagship Store.
There are multiple stores in Manhattan that are not externally identified as Fla g ship but are.  They are usually identified by the area of the city.  I didn't r e alize that that area of downtown was a Flagship area.

Flagship : n.  :  the finest, largest, or most important one of a chain of s t ore s

That's the book definition.  However, what it has come to mean, it my experi e nce is that this is the version of a store that is meant to be 100% camera ready al l of the time.  In New York's flagship areas, this also means that only the tren d iest representations for that brand will be present, and that a limited size se l ection will be available.

Some entire brands, of course, are like this.  Abercrombie and Fitch has lon g be e n infamous for their brand exclusiveness in this area.  I've never stepped foot into one, because I have never been their target demographic (even when I was a teenager).

At least the guy in my story below let me know that I had accidentally stepp e d i n to a Flagship store.  Now I know to steer clear of that area for anything where I might want to spend money.  The way he told me, though, rubbed me the wrong w a y.  Here's my story:

I went to a store near Broadway and Prince Street.  This section of Manhatta n , j u st North of Chinatown, has become a shopping district.  Many of the stores I'd b e used to seeing in a nice mall have started to show up here.

This particular shop is for a shoe brand that I've been buying consistently f or f ive years.  I want new shoes (two pairs - black and brown - as is my habit), so I looked up the an address, and I happened to find this store was about 30 minu t es closer to me than the one I went to last time.

I went in, and it felt wrong. This place didn't feel like a place where I sh o p, i t felt a little more like a museum.  But... I'm wearing that store's own brand on my feet as I walk in, and I figure maybe they can help me.

I find a few shoes that are similar to what has been comfortable for me in t h e p a st, and get the attention of one of the trendy and youthful sales staff.                

I start by pointing out my own shoes.  I explain how these are the most comf o rta b le shoes I've ever had, and I wore the previous version of the same shoe, with a different name, and different features.  I point to a shoe in a different line , and say, those look similar.

I expect him to tell me that the model I'm wearing is no longer made, and th e n o f fer to show me some other things that might be similar.  Maybe even the shoes t h at I just pointed at.

I nstead, things went sideways.  Paraphrased:  That shoe line you are wearing isn ' t available in this store, though we have some of that line on the Women's side .   So, what you can do is go to one of our other stores, and they might be able t o find your discontinued model, or maybe we can find something for you here.

At this point, I'm getting this vibe that I'm being told that I don't belong her e .  But, I realize, too, he's also just telling me that the whole line that I am used to just isn't available.  It's a Sunday night, the other stores won't have a long period of being open by the time I take the next half-hour of ride to ge t there.  I made the trip, but I'm also annoyed.  I say, "So, I made a mistake c o ming here, and I should go to your other store?"  Had he said, "Yeah, sorry."  I wouldn't have had the time to really get pissed off.  Instead he keeps yammeri n g.

Paraphrasing again: See, we're a flagship store, so we only have the newest m ode l s.  As soon as something new is announced, we ship the old stuff off to another store.

Now I have a VERY strong feeling that he doesn't want me shopping here.  He's done nothing at all to st e er me back into a sale.  Okay, he's young, I give him another chance.  "Do you h ave wide sizes here?"

The guy scoffs.  He tells me that this store has very limited wide sizes.  A n y w i de that they might have would be in the most expensive premium line.  Then he b a ckpedals, and explains that even in that line, the selection would be limited.

Instead of helping me find what they do have, he explained to me all the rea s ons that they won't have anything I'm looking for.  Maybe, maybe I read the whole s i tuation wrong, but I honestly felt like I was being pushed out the door, like s o me sort of Pretty Woman moment.  Anyway, I was pissed off, and I said, "I get it, I'm not young enough or skinny enough to shop here."

The guy, to his credit, blurted a confused version of I'm sorry.  I said, "N o pr o blem." and walked out the door, but I was angry.

Somewhere in here there's probably a lesson about customer service.  There's pro b ably also a lesson in how I view Manhattan flagship stores.  These are stores that I feel , despite my affinity to a brand, make me feel unwelcome.  Thing is, one of the best things about being a grown-up with a desk-job is that I am usually exactly the demographic that most companies want.  I get it, fashion is different.  I can deal with some parts of that.  Maybe it's just that I've n e ver gotten this attitude from a shoe store before.