Claire Rubinstein attends a party but doesn’t strike gold
The invite read: “Fashion Brands Viewing & Party At LFW – PRESS INVITE – must RSVP”. Surely, I thought, this must be something exclusive. Would the likes of Natalie Massenet, Sarah Burton, Alexandra Shulman and Mrs B of Browns be in attendance?
No. Instead, alarm bells started to ring the moment our cab deposited us outside a tired looking shop at the wrong end of Covent Garden’s Neal Street. Forget guest lists and RSVPs, the staff inside were peering out like predators desperate to snare their next victim. They were literally grabbing random passersby from the pavement.
Matthew Steeples dutifully introduced himself to the door girl and confirmed our attendance. After all the protocol about names, we were not on the list. Did they care? Of course not. As long as the prey were breathing and packing plastic, it was all systems go.
Heroically, Matthew took himself out of the equation and went in search of the promised drinks. Alexandra Naylor and I realised we were on our own but within seconds we were surrounded. A stocky George Michael lookalike and his henchman (skinny with piercings) had targeted us missile-lock on. We were in luck, he told us, as he was the owner of the company and immediately tried to smear his sticky residue over Alex’s face. This would mean removing her makeup. At a party? What was he thinking? Knowing there was no escape and seeing the panic in my friend’s eyes, I decided to take one for the team and volunteer my forehead.
Could I feel the difference? This was “better than Botox”, he claimed and developed in Beverly Hills no less. Buy this one for £90 and this one for £300. Special price for one night only. He then changed tack. Were we married? No? Did we get good divorce settlements? Our husbands had left us with lines on our faces he told us. We were then invited to touch and hold the product in its luxurious presentation box – gold on the outside with the potion resting on a champagne coloured silk cushion. But wait… There’s more. If I bought this gold infused product, I would receive a 24-carat gold authentication certificate from Italy. “Would this fit in a Cash4Gold prepaid envelope”, I wondered.
Not since a one-off visit to London’s Kabbalah Centre several years ago have I experienced such aggressive sales techniques. And I think the man with a suitcase of knock-off perfumes down Romford Market would have a more charming sales patter than these two.
They say the streets of London are paved with gold and I remembered I’d been hit on by the same crew only a few weeks earlier whilst walking my dog on South Molton Street. Halfway through the spiel, the poodle decided to vote with his bowels and I made my escape. But clearly Skuggers (Skincare Muggers, move over Chuggers you’re so last season) are the new scourge of the retail landscape as a quick Google search revealed:
“Like most I was also pulled by a sales associate from the OROGOLD store at the mall…”
Another states in bold type: “Do NOT go near this place… RUN, do not walk…” whilst a disappointed customer stated “deceptive selling practices will keep me from EVER purchasing this line again”.
“Ridiculous, warn your friends and neighbours” was the final evidence I required. Don’t buy OROGOLD. There’s only fake promises at the end of this tarnished rainbow.
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