Bear with me while I set the scene... it's my 40th birthday this weekend, and to mark the occasion my lovely wife has offered to add to the small but growing collection of watches. The brief is, sportyish watch, silver/white dial, SS case and brown leather strap. I considered and dropped various models along the way, including a couple of the less expensive IWC's (still too expensive!), the 42.2mm Omega Aqua Terra (discontinued and can't be got hold of) and the Tag Twintime (too small). Eventually I settled on the Breitling Superocean Steelfish - right price point, great look, good brand and my brother-in-law has one which he is very pleased with. So I have priced up ready to purchase.
Reasonably enough, Mrs. CK wanted an idea of what her hard-earned was going on, so dropped in on a high-end jeweller near her work today. I won't name names or identify the location, but they are an Omega AD and locally have a good reputation. The are not a Breitling dealer, but Mrs. CK probably wouldn't have known that (she has a nice Omega Constellation that I got her when our second was born, but watches she can pretty much take or leave). She asked the sales assistant in the shop about this particular model of Breitling and was told that Breitling watches are "unreliable" and "people bring them in all the time to get them repaired" (wouldn't a Breitling owner know to take a Breitling watch to a Breitling dealer, generally speaking?) IWC are "nice watches, but anything less than £5000 isn't worth having"(!!!). She then got the hard sell on Omega and was given a catalogue, which is very nice*.
Now my wife is a trusting sort and tends to believe what a person whose profession it is to know about a given subject is telling her. She came home all worried, had I made the right choice, did I know these watches were unreliable, maybe I should consider an Omega? I said, darling, I already have an Omega and it's a very nice watch, the other Omega I liked I can't get, and as far as I'm aware (and as far as my research suggests) Breitlings are solid, reliable watches manufactured with the professional in mind. I then had to do a bit of trawling through WUS and TZ to back this up (and for that matter, give myself peace of mind!)
Now, I work in sales and even if I don't practise all the tricks of the trade I like to think at least I have an awareness of them. My rule number one (and this is a point of honour) is never sell your product by slagging off the competition. Promote the inherent qualities and advantages of what you're offering, don't imply negatives in what you're up against. That is just stooping low.
The sales assistant must have seen my wife coming - well meaning, but not informed. I wish I'd been there.
I guess times are tough and every sale is important, particulalry on big ticket items and when earnings are based on commission, but this kind of behaviour just makes my blood boil.
(* BTW, the blue "Bond" does not feature in the Omega catalogue, surely not discontinued?)