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倫敦傳統士紳經常到介於Trafalgar Square和Piccadilly間的巷弄中低調購物。從國家藝廊(National Gallery)前面經過,沿著Paul Mall繞過St. James Square,經過Duke of York Street以及Jermyn Street走到Piccadilly的路上,兩旁建築皆是Nash式的設計,貴族氣十足,附近的拱廊商場販售著傳統上流社會人士到鄉村度假所需的獵具、狩獵服裝、釣具等等裝備。

Jermyn Street in drawing

Jermyn Street算是倫敦上流社會或任何講究穿著格調的紳士們治裝的最佳去處,大多都是歷史悠久製作深具英國風格服飾配件的專門店舖,有以傳統裁縫手工與手法、專門量身訂作的男裝襯衫專賣店,還有傳統英國紳士出門必備的帽子和雨傘專賣店。和其他購物商圈以平價或大眾流行風格不同,Jermyn Street雖然也有知名名牌如Dunhill或Daks的店面,但沒有大批人潮來往,也少有折扣帶來的高峰買氣。這裡的商店小巧、專門,客源固定,主顧關係維繫多年。

對於這種特殊的經營模式,我大多以路人的角色在經過時好奇窺視,只有一次因爸爸夢想一頂英國帽子而陪他成為買客,走進一家帽子專賣店,一探這些店家與店主的真正面貌。

Jermyn Street Cap Shop

我們走進一家門外掛著皇家御用標示的帽店,坪數不大,兩旁的櫃子裡清一色是帽子,沒有其他產品。店裡中段擺著桌子,像老闆一樣的人物坐在那,戴著眼鏡,穿著傳統式但偏休閒感的西裝,頭戴tweed cap(傳統英國人鄉居戶外活動打獵釣魚時戴的那種)頸上掛著軟尺,有點溫文又略帶倨傲的氣質。看了我們一眼但絲毫不在意,繼續翻著帳本和訂單。另幾位看似較資淺的店員也一派優越,僅僅與我們四目交接給了一個淺淺的歡迎微笑。

我們邊滴咕著店員高姿態、對於熟客與生客差別待遇之際,試圖在光線不挺明亮的小店中,隔著玻璃從放在櫃子裡成疊成堆的扁平帽、軟呢帽、氈帽、禮帽還有許多不知正式名稱為何的帽子中,尋找爸爸心中所謂「很英國」的帽子。

過了幾分鐘,老闆大概看出我們確有購帽意圖,終於從他的辦公桌起身,走近招呼詢問。

「要找哪種帽子?休閒場合還是正式場合?」一下子開門見山問道。
「休閒吧?就像你戴的這種。」爸爸其實不是很確定地回答。
「顏色呢?沉穩傳統還是活潑對比的呢?」

爸爸思索猶豫之餘,老闆已經迅速戴上口袋裡的白手套,打開帽櫃開始挑選合適的帽子。

「傳統一點的。」爸爸終於回答。

老闆自信點頭表示了解,已經拿出五六頂直斜紋與素色系混紡的要爸爸試戴。尺寸似乎非常合適,爸爸也頗為滿意。媽媽建議試試其他款式和顏色,爸爸提出其他要求。

「格子的如何?」
「可以不用考慮,並不適合你。」老闆萬分相信自己的眼光,毫不留情潑了冷水。

但他還是應顧客要求,只拿了一頂格紋的出來試戴。

「你說呢?」老闆等著從爸爸的回答中證實自己的看法。
「斜紋比較特別。」

老闆聽著以得意的微笑輕撢那頂格紋帽子,又收進櫃子。接著直接指著一開始拿出來的那五頂中的兩頂,「這最適合你,如果偶而會穿顏色較鮮明的衣服……」,又指著另一頂,「這頂也可以一起參考比較一下。」

然後老闆就沒有再表示任何意見,而隨爸爸自己斟酌考慮。一會兒,爸爸戴了又放下,換了一頂又戴。最後終於決定一頂灰藍細黑交叉斜紋的tweed cap。老闆帶著很客氣禮貌的微笑,似乎很同意爸爸的選擇。

「古典耐看、適合任何服裝、全手工、外羊毛內絲緞底層、用細刷清理即可。」

這些說明反而在顧客決定購買之後才出現,而不是那種企圖說服三心二意客人買下商品的說辭。

「給我們一頂新的吧?」媽媽照例要求。
「我們每頂都是手工製成,找不到和這一模一樣的。直接戴上嗎?」老闆看透爸爸滿意的心情。
「嗯,好,倫敦最近比較冷喔……」

直到付賬,爸爸才得知這頂tweed cap的價錢,所費不貲,但也沒對此表示意見。

臨走前不忘再照照鏡子端詳自己是否因多了這頂tweed cap而多了英國味或古典紳士的風範。

「你會喜歡,很好看,慢走。」老闆沒多說什麼就送客,又坐在他的辦公室桌前翻閱帳簿。

習慣日式禮貌與台式熱情(有時又過於黏人)的購物應對方式,這是英國人不茍言笑、甚至過於冷漠的待客之道,敏感的人甚至可能感到被歧視、被忽略的不快。我倒不覺得那位老闆因為我們是外國人或觀光客而忽怠了,反而會覺得那是Jermyn Street一貫的待客風格 --- 講究品質、個人化需求的確認、專業建議滿足顧客需求、明快完成顧客購物目的。自視甚高的老闆知道這些自信的紳士客戶們清楚自己需要什麼、適合什麼,他們頂多提供一點專業意見讓顧客看起來更體面滿意,照例談個天氣或問候對方家人罷了。

當然我無法得知這套待客方式是否也用在那些當地士紳常客身上,這次的購帽記只像是從門縫中看一眼士紳世界而已,但已看出老店店主過人之處,他們是真正將購物體驗化為生活習慣的行家:細膩的觀人術,精準的眼光,無過與不及的服務法,看店、服務、完成交易,就像呼吸一樣自然。每家店都有自己的一套,已形成無法取代的「品牌」特質和服務技巧,讓這些倫敦士紳世世代代都忠誠報到,也讓偶入的顧客多年後仍回味這特別的購物經驗。

延伸閱讀:
Jermyn Street Association
2001 散步倫敦系列 (St. James Park, Picadilly, Green Park area)

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  • vliu
  • I like your observation of the British delicacy of interchanging thoughts and inside track in-between buyers and sellers... NO, that was not selling, a gentleman was communicating with another gentleman. Very vivid and live, you shall start writing something to provoke the mainstream approaches Taiwan has been long time imitating from/ influenced by Japan or demo a TAI-KER style. When I read this shopping journal, I was so curious about what will be happening to both sides... and felt quite interesting and insightful after reading it!
  • 版主
  • What happened to both sides? We need an in-depth interview to discover consumer insights. Customer is human first and then customer; same, salesman is human first then salesman. Why should people sometimes complicate everything? The best way is simple and human nature.

    Keep reminding me of starting out the new site that provokes (and sells)! Haha!
  • Mickey
  • I am also interested to observe the depth psychology between the consumer and salesman.
    I am looking forword to ur next article.
  • vliu
  • I was thinking about the time and energy people spent in making living in a nicer and interesting process or forms thru selling and buying things, ideas, just like the story with emotions, feeling and pause in your journal. But when we read interviews, some many pro. books talking bout how to sell, how to present, to show, how to do a better jobs, etc. they are all similar and quite often present a format that tries to say too many key messages in an organized way. But, we, as a human, do we really have the capacity to digest so many advices and then internalize them by just reading these organized info. simplified by so-call subject matter experts. Isn't there another way to inspire people who are searching for or expecting sth. really serve the joy of reading itself as well as creating a room for imagination, pondering...I do not find interesting stuff like this yet, maybe you can be the one who is able to play the interface to decode its intrinsic and extrinsic message in an intellectual form. I think so, what about you?
  • 版主
  • I am always interested in the psychological journey of individuals. Writing this article is really an example of "translating" what I observed, thought (and hopefully more felt for future writing) into words. I really appreciate Mickey and vliu's responses, which encourage me to make more attempts to enact as an eye, as a decoder, to invite more people to go through those "happenings" and create interests for them to think about the question of "so what" and find the answer that makes sense.