Sunday, March 08, 2009

Slate Failure

Richard, don’t buy Slate cologne again.

You paid way too much for 3.4 ounces of “Eau de Toilette for Men.” (If you really want more, you can buy it online for, like, 40% less. Doh!)

You know Banana Republic, the retailer, made the sales experience very nice. The guy in the Rice Village store was engaged and professional. You’re the one who decided to buy it. One, ‘cause you needed more foofy water and were trying to find some. Two, ‘cause you were in a rush and Banana Republic was right there.

To be sure: It’s 100 milliliters of charming “fragrance notes,” citrus, silver sage and ginger root. But any claim of scent life that touts anything length of time over an hour is a foul canard – no pun intended. (That one website, saying scent life is 6-10 hours, well that stinks.) Slate smelled really good on you right out of the spritzer but it faded, it faded fast. After 50 or 60 minutes the stuff is unsniffable.

Packaging? Well, you fell for that. The 3.4-ounce bottle is heavy glass with a heavy silver-coated stopped that you’ve already dropped in the sink twice because of its unaccustomed weight. The box? “Natural wood box packaging,” according to Banana Republic, deeply black and also really heavy, with magnetic closures. Magnets. Case, bottle, cologne – the total weight of the thing is one pound.

A reviewer on one fragrance website mentioned the packaging specifically, thought it was great for collectors. In fact, like so many product classes today, you could have read the online reviews first: Fragrances, for men and women, is so fraught with science and art, it’s a special realm all its own. You’d benefit from guidebooking, dog.

To be fair, Richard, Banana Republic is guilty of nothing more than good merchandizing. You’d have been smarter to have purchased a Slate “mini” and tried it out first. Caveat emptor is the Latin you’re looking for. Sucka.

PS: The Banana Republic brand owner, Gap Inc., turns 40 this year. It’s just been ranked #1 Retailer among the 100 Best Corporate Citizens for the fourth year in a row. PPS: Do NOT buy this for yourself for your upcoming b’day!

1 comment:

Customer Service said...

From Kylie:

Dear Richard: Thank you for your email and for sharing your feedback regarding the Men's Slate cologne at Banana Republic. At Banana Republic, we strive to offer our customers merchandise of superior style and quality and we regret having disappointed you. we definitely appreciate feedback from our customers - both positive and negative - and your message regarding the longevity of Slate will be shared with our Merchandising team. We apologize for any disappointment and we hope you will continue to honor us with your patronage.