Salvatore Pappalardo

Photo: Brad Paris

Salvatore is your real name, right?
There are a lot of Salvatores in Italy. There are so many, it’s not even funny. Working here is much easier; people don’t forget my name. It’s on every box!

You’ve been here sixteen years. Are you on a first-name basis with the Ferragamos?
After two weeks in my job, I had an $18,000 sale. Massimo called to say he wanted to meet me. And whenever Mrs. Ferragamo comes to New York, she makes sure she comes to say hello. You should see her with the high heels.

But you’re not a celebrity hound.
No. I don’t worry about who the heck they are. Michael Jordan was here; he buys very quick. He dropped about $15,000 in half an hour. He bought crocodile shoes. He’s only 13D. I thought he was much bigger than that. Mrs. Clinton is a very good customer of mine. Those people are really running around, and sometimes I say, “Listen, Signora Clinton, I don’t know where to find you.” She says to me, “Salvatore, you know when I need shoes, you will be the first person to know.”

What’s your sales technique?
It’s so important to remember names. I smile, I break the ice the moment I look them in the eyes and say good morning. People need to be, how do you say, entertained?

What’s your favorite item in the store now?
There’s a handbag from the Mediterranean Group. It’s got a pocket in the back for a plane ticket, a cell-phone pocket, a Palm-pilot pocket, a key chain inside. I mean, she did everything. The only thing that handbag needs is a toilet.

Salvatore Pappalardo