Can advertising ever replace quality and service? I sincerely doubt it.

I well remember being sixteen years old and securing a job in the “Fifty-shilling tailors,”
later to become renamed as “John Collier.” They were closely aligned with “Smart & Co.” and “Stewarts,” all nationally renowned companies.

In those days very little advertising appeared in the Press. All relevant adverts were displayed on the shop windows in the form of posters.

The staff in all of these establishments were immaculately turned out individuals. Each member of the staff was closely inspected by the manager before the doors were opened to the general public. Any fault found in the appearance of any individual HAD to be rectified in the staff-room before they were allowed to reappear before the customers.

The interiors of the shops were immaculate, with all merchandise being protected in mahogany or walnut cabinets with clear glass doors.
This was for the Ready-to-wear items. Most customers however usually wanted to purchase a made-to-measure suit or jacket, blazer, or trousers.

Our cheapest, and best known line, was a suit with two pair of trousers. There was a huge range of materials in many colours to choose from. The style of your suit was selected from a design book. The range of alternative styles offered was vast, from a conventional double or single breasted jacket with fourteen inch bottomed trousers, to anything your imagination was capable of conjuring up!

The sales staff were all softly spoken, but each individual exuded confidence in his craft, and it was amazing how often a buyer left the shop after ordering far more than they had originally intended.

Those were the days. Each customer was treat with the utmost respect, and each order was carefully hand wrapped in heavy brown paper, not in a plastic bag with the company’s name on the side.

Is today’s approach to selling better? I really don’t know, nor do I care.
Reputation and real quality are things of the past.

Service? … Do you really receive it?
Attention? … Do you find it sufficient, and in your interest?
Value for money … is it too a thing of the past?


TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between a professor and his assistant