Waitlist and Delays, Not the Signature Way
I recently visited Waikiki, Hawaii with the family. It was a quick getaway, was able to connect with some of our customers while I was there. We have awesome customers by the way, one of them I had drinks and shared steak with was Luis @gm3over, who was serving our country for years and stationed there. If you’re not familiar with Waikiki, it’s the most touristy part of Hawaii and lots of money is being spent in a very small real estate. Within Waikki, there are many high-end shopping storefronts located in a section called Luxury Row.
I’m not much of a shopper, but decided to take a stroll through Luxury Row after laying in the sun too long and had too many Mai Tais. First stop, the Rolex store across the street from my hotel, Moana Surfrider by Westin. They had about 40 watches on the display. When I inquired about the price on a beautiful Rolex Submariner Starbucks (green and black) in the display case, the salesman told me that the watch isn’t for sale and in fact it’s a non-functional model for displays only. Intrigued, I asked, “so if I want to buy one today, there’s some in the back right?” The salesman laughed at me and said no, there’s actually a very long waitlist for it. I asked “how long?”, the salesman told me around 1yr. My jaws dropped.
As it turns out, it is like this all over the world. No Rolex stores have watches in stock, just display pieces and a long wait list. Some have to wait up to 3yrs to get a particular timepiece that costs someone’s annual salary. If you want one now and skip the line, you’ll have to pay a big premium over list price in the grey market.
My quest didn’t end there in Waikiki’s Luxury Row. I walked past Louis Vuitton, a luxury leather goods store, there’s a long line about 12 people deep just to get into the store so I passed. I then proceeded to Cartier, there wasn’t a line and they actually have nice items that I could potentially buy for the miss. I was greeted at the door by a sales lady, who said it was by appointments only and I had to schedule time with the sales rep 2 weeks in advance. I was in Waikiki for only the weekend so I had to pass. I’m now frustrated, have a desire to spend and no one wants my money.
Walking back to my hotel disappointed, I pondered what is going on with the world? Is there really a shortage or is it all a gimmick, maybe a bit of both. We’re now living in a world where you have to be on a long waitlist, buy goods with bots as soon as an item is available for sale, have some deep connections, or be willing to pay above list price to skip the line. I remembered in business school, economics class, my professor drew 2 lines across the board that looked like an “X” on the x and y axis chart. He explained to the class how supply and demand worked, the lower the supply the higher the demand. Human nature wants what they can’t have, then willing to pay more for the goods when there’s a shortage. So maybe there’s a legitimate reason for the delays, supply chain issues, or just using “the list” as the way to improve the inventory turnover rate (which looks great to stockholders by the way).
At Signature, we find this whole waitlist and delay excuses are unacceptable. We do not play games, no gimmicky waitlist, and we don't treat our customers like second class citizens by making them wait a ridiculous time for a set of precision-made luxury wheels once they placed an order with their hard-earned cash. Our promise to our customers is 4 weeks to build a set of wheels, there’s no ifs, buts, or ands. During the peak of the pandemic, we had 0 production delays. The only slight delays by a day or two were caused by our shipping carrier.
Why? We were in your shoes once, waiting 5 months for a set of wheels was painful. Heck, I don’t think I kept half of my cars for more than a year. Plus, when we tell a customer something we keep our promise. Obsessed with perfection, delivery, and service. That’s our motto.
Managing Partner of the Euro and Tesla Brands Division