Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Anarkali Sarees, Karol Bagh, Delhi

To get a drift of how we got here, read this first.

On the evening we (my mother, aunt, sister and I) reached Delhi, we were determined to check out the shops for bridal wear in Karol Bagh. And thanks to the Internet and Mr. Google, we were able to find articles that told us exactly where to look.

Among the list of must visit shops in Karol Bagh, was this famous store called Anarkali Sarees, known to stock first copies of designer wear. Anything that stocked designer wear had to have some good stuff right? And because they were first copies, we assumed they would be reasonably priced (when compared to the price if the originals.) Keeping that in mind, as soon as we were done checking out Frontier Bazaar and tried our luck at the other stores that their extremely skilled and convincing salesman managed to drag us into, we had a goal that had to be achieved and nothing, absolutely nothing was going to get in the way of that.

Only we know how we've managed to keep other sales/marketing/drag-customers-into-the-store-even-if-it-means-doing-that-literally men, away. The four of us marched towards a place that seemed likely to be the one we would source my bridal lehenga from. We walked through the streets of Karol Bagh and reached the store a few minutes later; the time now being somewhere around 6:30 PM.

The four of us entered the store one after the other. Once I was inside, I could only see the length of the store from where I was standing. There were pieces of dress materials and sarees stacked neatly in shelves running up to the ceiling on the left side. Adjacent to these shelves was a seating area that was two feet above the floor and wonderfully covered by mattresses throughout the length of the shop as this is where they display the clothes oh-so-dramatically to their customers and most of the stores we went to that day had that. The extreme right of the large rectangular store was where you could walk.

When we walked in, there were already a few people in there and believe me when I say this, this is what we saw.

A nice young lady was standing on top of the mattress, draped in a lovely ink blue saree, trying out how it looked on her, while an older couple (presumably her parents) sat there quietly looking at what was going on, their faces almost expressionless. Apart from this family of three, and two other men at the cash/billing counter, there was another man in the store; lying on the mattress with one leg bent while resting his back on a pillow and balancing his body weight on his elbow making it seem like he watching mujra. The girl was looking at herself in the mirror, standing still (not even turning to get a good look at herself in the mirror) probably because she was in shock. The man lying on the mattress appeared to be giving a sermon on the saree.

“This gorgeous saree is laden with beautiful zari work that will sparkle in the light and glow...” Now he may not have said that exactly, but it was something to that effect. My sister and I immediately looked at each other and thought, ‘Mr. Loony.’ But we had work to do, so we shut up and let our Moms do the talking.

At that moment, it looked like Mr. Loony seemed to take notice that there were more people in his store and decided to pay us some attention. He asked us what we wanted to see and we told him. “Darling, it’ll take at least four hours for me to show you lehengas. It’s already past 6:30 and we’ll be closing shortly. Why don’t you come during the day tomorrow, say around twelve,” he said.

What? The next day? Around 12??? That would mean we would lose half the day!!!

“We don’t have that much time. We are here from Bombay and we have to go back tomorrow. Now’s the only time we have,” my mom said. Or was that my aunt? I don’t remember exactly.

Anyway, he seemed reluctant to even entertain us. And judging by the fact that none of the other men in the store opened their mouths, we assumed that he was the owner; an arrogant and rude one at that. It was pissing off because that’s not the way you treat a customer. It wasn’t as if we were there just ten minutes before closing time. There was more than an hour to close the store and it was simply rude to say what he did. Moreover, he didn’t budge even when we told him we were leaving the next day. My mother was furious and she stormed out of the store but not before telling him that she didn’t care for his attitude. And if he wasn’t interested in showing us what he had, we weren’t going to waste another minute in his store.

I didn’t know what to do. We were all pissed but I thought she was overreacting and I wanted to see what they had. So I decided I would stay inside when my aunt said that if they didn’t have time to show lehengas, she could check some sarees out that she needed to buy.

“I want to see some sarees, but I don’t want anything in net,” she told him.

“No darling. I am not going to show you net,” he said as if he knew that already and she didn’t have to point that out to him. Meanwhile, my mother was still furious and yelling outside the store about the ridiculousness that was that man. And she was doing it pretty loudly - loud enough for us to hear inside the store through the glass doors and probably loud enough for people shopping at the stores nearby as well. Knowing her, it could go out of hand. So I decided to go out and talk to her, try to calm her down; explain to her that we were there for our work and we had only another day to do too many things; that yelling and getting angry wasn’t going to help anyone.

While I was out there, talking to her, I obviously didn’t know what was going on inside the store while my aunt and sister were still in there. But what do I see? It had been barely two minutes since I was out there and my aunt walked out and said. “Stupid man! Let’s go!!! Nonsense!!” and my sister followed giggling after her. I was a little clueless because when I was still in there, he was ready to show her sarees. So what happened then?

THIS is why. Apparently, she didn’t like the first few sarees that he showed her. So he decided to not show her any more stuff because he wasn’t getting the “feel” that we were there to buy! What’s more, he actually said that to her.

I don’t know what gave him that impression because when my aunt asked him about the price range and they told her, she was fine with it. Maybe he just couldn’t stand the fact that someone didn’t like the collection in his store. Or maybe, just maybe, he simply has no manners. Either way, it was his loss not ours. He is the one who has lost out on business because we just bought our stuff elsewhere.

So this is just a warning for those that might intend to go there. He might have good stuff, but DO NOT enter his store if you are not prepared for someone throwing attitude or worse, if you cannot throw it back. I, for one, am never going back to his store to buy anything. EVER. But then again, there’s a difference between ‘going back’ and ‘getting back.’ ;)


  1. Hey I think u should go to his shop one fine morning and make him take out loads of stuff, pretending to like most of the things he shows you , and then say u r getting late for lunch ... may be you will come tomorrow and leave :).... What say ???????

  2. That's a really good idea.. But what we have in mind is even better.. ;)

  3. I visited this store on my 1st visit to Delhi to do my wedding shopping and I must say, this was the complete opposite of my experience! I found out before visiting that you need to make an appointment with him or his daughter before going in...knowing this, Anarkali Sarees has become one of my favorite stores in all of Delhi! Not only did I get amazing saree's, but the service was fantastic and everything was ready on time. "Mr Loony" is actually very frank and will tell you whether or not he can help you off that bat; in fact as we sat there, he turned away a girl who came in asking if she could look at lehenga's for her big day which was 3 weeks away. He simply told her he could not lie to her and show her lehengas that he could not have ready for her in that much time and for her not to waste her time. Being an out of towner myself, I actually appreciated this knowing what a pain in the A** it is to wait for clothing that is not ready on time. He had everything stitched and ready for us at the exact time he promised. I will definitely be going back on my next trip to India; it's a shame your experience was not very good :(

    1. I am glad that your experience was way better than mine. :) Granted we didn't know that we had to take an appointment, but he could have told us that rather than telling us that he didn't get the 'feel' that we wanted to buy. I went there in August and my wedding is in February 2013, so I still have almost two months to go.

      We were in Delhi for two days only, but we had more than half a year to get the lehenga stitched and styled and fitted. And if I had found 'the one' there, I would have come back for whatever needed to be done that we didn't have time for in our short trip.

      I have no problems with frankness but there's a line between being frank and being rude. Telling us that it will be unfair to see a lehenga in less than an hour, was frank. But telling us that he didn't WANT to show us stuff, was plain rude. He might be a very big designer or whatever, but I don't care for such attitude from anyone. I talk respectfully event to a rickshaw wala. The least we can expect is to be treated nicely, if not royally, which by the way, is the right way to treat customers.. :P :P

      But I would like to say this once again, I am glad it worked out for you!!! Congratulations on your wedding! :D :D

  4. I can totally understand your mother's reaction. I visited this shop yesterday on suggestion of my 2 very close friends, as there is a wedding in my home and wanted to get few stuff for my would be sister-in-law. So we ( My mother, my sister-in-law, her mother and I) went there. Thankfully, it was just 3:30 P.M. and the owners daughter was sitting ideally and doing nothing. She asked us "politely" what we were looking for and we replied sarees and suits, meanwhile she asked us to have a seat. As soon as my sister-in-law asked her not to show sarees in net or georgette material, Shivani (Owner's daughters name) rudely replied, that let me show you want we have best after that you can tell us what you want and what you don't want. I personally was in shock, that how can a sales person talk to a costumer like that and i being a short tempered girl (It's not even about being short tempered, just the way you treat people) was about to react to this, but my mother in her own way ( THE LOOKS) asked me not to say anything. Shivani saw my face like I was all ready to give her a piece of my mind, so she started showing her what WE wanted. Finally after a while and lots of drama later we finalized a saree and a suit. Even though i was calm after a while, she knew i was offended by the way she was talking. So later on as we were leaving she said, please bare with me for being "loud", it's just that ..... (before she could say anything else I replied, darling we have been baring with you from past 2 hours!!! You guys should have seen her face, all that grin from his face disappeared). As we walked out of that shop me and my would be sister-in-law laughed our hearts out.

    P.S.- She and her father shouts and talks rudely with their workers too. I don't understand how a person can be this arrogant and negative.

    I hope you have shopped the best bridal wear from some place else and had a beautiful wedding.

    1. I went to Anarkali recently to see some lehangas as I was also told that they have the best selection. The shop is dreadful, dirty, clothes strewn all over, workers looked disgruntled. We sat down meanwhile they were few people there, and when we told one of the workers to show us better stuff of what he was showing and our price limit, the so called owner Mr. Krishan Khanna, an old man- very very rude, and his daughter started shouting. The worker quoted one price for the lehanga and the old man another, within minutes the old man Khanna refused to show us anything saying that he didn’t want to. PLEASE DO NOT GO TO THIS SHOP THE OWNERS NEED TO WORK ON THEIR SELLING SKILLS AND GO TO A FINISHING SCHOOL TO LEARN TO BE POLITE SPECIALLY AS THEY ARE RENDERING A SERVICE.

    2. I am really sorry you had such a bad time shopping there. I bought my wedding lehnga there in June'13 for a wedding in December. I live in Houston and was in Delhi for only two weeks to shop for the wedding. My friend whose family is also in the clothing business recommended Anarkali. Shivani showed us lehngas and I felt that she understood what I was looking for right away. She also had a great eye for what would look good on me. When I walked in I told her that I did not want to look at velvet lehngas and I wanted something in fuschia and purple.

      She showed us multiple outfits in our price range and in the colors that I had asked for and I did like a few of them a lot. While we were still going through the selection she asked very politely if I would try on this one lehnga that they had just received. It was velvet and even though I had specified no velvet I thought I would humor her and try it on. The velvet lehnga beat every other lehnga I had tried on by miles. I am so thankful to Shivani that she made me try that lehnga on.

      I do understand how her dad and her are a little "eccentric" in their behavior but I mostly just found it amusing and not at all offending. They were quite polite to my mom and I and we left very happy customers. I will definitely recommend Anarkali to anyone who is shopping for traditional clothes in Delhi.

      Having said that, I am again really sorry you had a bad time there. I can understand how stressful it is to shop for wedding outfits on a tight schedule and having a bad shopping experience can shake ones morale and ruin the day. I hope you had a great wedding and were able to find the wedding dress of your dreams elsewhere.

    3. Sonam, I think they reserve their best behaviour for NRIs because it's just you and another girl here in one of the comments above (also from abroad) who've received good treatment. The rest of us locals don't deserve their store, apparently. But I'm glad it worked out well for you. Congratulations. :)

  5. Hi .. So I happened to visit this shop a week back for my wedding lehenga.. My mom, my mom's sister, me and my friend were the victims of Mr. LOONEY. My mother n her sister entered first and we two were busy parking the car. When we entered all said and done he starts showing us lehengas which undoubtedly we liked but were not suiting our budget, he goes if u want anything less than this then u can go to Chandni Chownk for cheapest and shabby work, here u ll only get class! I was shocked that how can he be so rude, my friend is really good when it comes to talking to people like him so she pulled it up quite well but I was disappointed. He only showed what he liked the best and the workers there were no less than slaves, quiet and disinterested in their work !! Mr. Looney needs to work upon his speaking skills..though I booked my lehenga there but I still feel what a mess that man was ! If u are visiting this shop then only think of the fact that u are looking for a good thing which u ll certainly get over there but don't expect courtesy and mannerisms from,anyone out there, just ignore the old chap n,her daughter. If ur budget suits u just pay him, appreciate his work and make him,shut up! All the best.

  6. I agree, the owner is too rude and arrogant. Myself, with my brother and sister-in-law visited his shop a couple of days before. We reached at 11:00. At first, he treated us very well. We liked the stuff and selected three of the bridal lehengas, to further shortlist to one. By then, it was around 12:15 or so. My fiancée was on his way to the shop. We thought of waiting for him for another half an hour and then finalize the lehenga. But this thing pissed off the owner. He said we need to finalize then and there. We should all have come along at the same time. From that moment onwards, his tone changed. He started quoting higher prices than earlier said and showed us little disinterest. We moved out of his shop saying we are sorry to waste his time. He doesn't have selling skills. Such people will remain where they are. They can't grow in life. His shop stands nowhere in comparison to these days' shopping outlets in terms of infrastructure and facilities.
    Just having good product doesn't complete any outlet. Cordial service matters to all customers.

  7. Had gone to the shop today and saw that both daughter and father are very rude, manerless and it was a very bad experience. The daughter kept raising her voice to call the sales staff who seemed to avoid coming to her. The first reaction was that you please come tomorrow at 12.00 pm. We somehow managed to wait and get them to show saris and lehengas. The mad father would keep quoting names of designers and also quoted high price.

    It seems both father and daughter are mad now with no sense of customer service or sales. Would recommend Never to go there to anyone.

  8. Shivaani has been out of line few times when I had been to their shop. Never again doing any sort of business with them

  9. The owner and his daughter are horrible people. I recently ordered my reception and wedding lehenga from there. The reception lehenga was fine but my wedding lehenga wasn't what I had asked for. I told him that I don't want to pick up the lehenga because it is not what I had asked for. I was willing to let go of the deposit I had given on that lehenga. His daughter Shivani and the owner Mr Khanna was extremely rude. Not only did they keep my deposit but they also yelled at me. His daughter told me that I have no morals and ethics because I didn't like the rubbish that they made and called a lehenga.
    She yelled so loud and bad that the other customers there had to tell her to behave herself. She scared everyone off and the store emptied as soon as she started yelling. I am glad she lost her clients but she probably didnt even care about them to begin with because if she did she would know how to behave with them.
    I would never suggest anyone to go to this store. They are the most arrogant and rude people I have ever met in my life.

  10. The worst customer service you will ever come across! Mannerless, rude, impatient, unethical people.. both Mr.Looney n that crazy girl!! Me and my mom decided not to buy anything from their so called classy designer collection! We were happy to shop at Frontier and Study by Janak (same budget) felt like wedding shopping :)

  11. This blog just made my day!! Here's what I experienced at the hands of Mr. Loony. I am getting married in December & I went to Mr. Loony's shop last Saturday with my mother-in-law. She told me that it's a very old & renowned shop so I had high hopes from this place. Mr. Loony (I just love using this term for him) started by showing us the replica of Soha Ali Khan's wedding lehnga & priced it at 90K. Post that, he started showing us other designer pieces with exorbitant prices. However, I rejected whatever he was showing on the fact that the designs were not appealing / not suiting my frame & this pissed him off. In order to shoot us down, he said, "Bura mat manna but I believe that you guys are not very focused on your wedding lehnga despite your wedding being 4 months away!". I kept mum hoping that the torture would be over soon & it soon did. While wrapping up, when we again asked the price of the same lehnga that he had showed us in the beginning, he said with a lavish tone, "One Lakh Twenty Thousand"!!!! I and my mother-in-law immediately retorted that you said 90K to which he replied, "I don't have lehngas in that range in my shop. Why will I say that to you!" We decided not to argue with him and left the shop with the same thoughts as you guys have! Also, at the same time when I was trying out the lehngas, the crazy daughter was on the phone with some vendor & was talking to him for some delivery date. She kept telling the vendor that the customer is sitting right in front of me, so tell me the best date you can give me. BUT, there WAS NO customer in the shop apart from us!!!I realized the kind of liars & cheaters who were sitting in this shop & was extremely glad that we caught them at the right time. Mr. Loony & his crazy daughter have just become Loonier & Crazier over time! :P

  12. Thank you for the post dear...i am getting married in november and i was planning to go to this shop this weekend but after reading so many truths about the behavior of the owner and her daughter i would not even think of going there...neither my mother nor i have the patience to tolerate such a man...thank you for saving our time as well as mood


Sorry about the word verification. There are a lot of crazy bots out there posting comments by the truckload. I just need to make sure that you aren't one of them. :)

Go on. Prove it!