Published: 23:29 BST, 20 December 2012 | Updated: 23:32 BST, 20 December 2012
Disgruntled brides have slammed TLC's reality show Say Yes to the Dress for turning one of Manhattan's classic bridal stores into a tourist trap.
The upscale Kleinfeld boutique was once the ultimate stop for style-savvy New Yorkers, but after becoming the subject of the popular TV series many say it has gone to pot.
Parisa Arash, 31, who visited the Chelsea store wedding in May, told the New York Post she expected first-class treatment - instead she encountered 'a madhouse'.
Too popular? TLC's series Say Yes to the Dress, follows staff members at Kleinfeld as they help brides-to-be find the perfect wedding dress - but some customers say service at the store is on the decline
'There were probably 20 other brides trying on dresses at the same time, so you never had a dedicated mirror or platform that was for you,' she explained.
'You had to stand around the middle of the floor waiting for someone to move... It’s literally a machine that’s pushing people through.'
Disappointed, Miss Arash ended up buying a,500 gown from Vera Wang on the Upper East Side.
Kleinfeld, founded in 1941, spent more than six decades in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn before moving to Manhattan in 2005.
Bridal Mecca: Kleinfled was once considered the ultimate destination for style-savvy New Yorkers
The New York Times previously wrote that it came to be the 'ultimate destination for pampered, one-stop shopping with an old-world emphasis on personal attention.'
It added: 'Many of the brides, accompanied by family and friends, came from New York and neighboring states, but others routinely arrived from across the country and around the globe.'
'You had to stand around waiting for someone to move... It’s literally a machine that’s pushing people through'
Its founders Mara Urshel and Ronald Rothstein struck up a deal with TLC shortly after the store relocated and in 2007 Say Yes to the Dress hit the small screen.
The series, which draws an average 1.3 million viewers per episode, follows the progress of individual sales associates and fitters, along with profiling brides as they hunt for the perfect wedding dress.
Christina Martinez, 31, believes that Kleinfeld's owners have 'gotten too big for their britches'.
After a July appointment at the store for her upcoming Brooklyn Botanic Garden wedding, she said: 'They’re relying on their notoriety. They’re national now and their service has suffered entirely.'
This spring a kiosk opened in the lobby selling a range of merchandise emblazoned with the slogan 'Just Say Yes'.
Still got the luxury factor? Kleinfeld was previously described as being the 'ultimate destination for pampered, one-stop shopping with an old-world emphasis on personal attention'
Peaceful and serene: Although these publicity shots on the Kleinfeld website show the store empty, some brides have said during the day it gets overcrowded with fans of the TLC show Say Yes to the Dress
And a sign above the front door contains a release notice informing customers: 'Please be aware that by entering Kleinfeld, you consent to your voice and likeness being videotaped and used without compensation for exploitation on television.
'If you do not wish to be on camera, please inform your sales consultant.'
'I don't think that it's a place where you can be a serious buyer... It's really about the publicity of the show'
Despite the complaints Kleinfeld insists that standards have not slipped and customer service remains the number one priority.
Jennette Kruszka, director of marketing and public relations told the New York Post: 'It is a big store and it’s very busy... but we do try to treat each customer and each shopping experience as an intimate one-on-one experience.
'We can offer both the intimate one-on-one experience and the less intimate experience out in the store where everyone’s looking at you - some brides look for that.'
Meanwhile co-owner Mr Rothstein said: 'What the show has done for us is - it used to be an average of three people [that] come with the bride.
Back for more: A new season of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress is set to air on December 28 at 9pm
'Today, because of the show, they’ve got six, seven, eight people. There are no small bridal parties any more.'
Joanne Cava, a lifelong Brooklyn resident, described the shopping experience when she bought her dress at Kleinfeld 20 years ago.
'The store was very family-oriented. It was an Italian and Irish neighborhood with a lot of mom-and-pop shops. They catered to you, and it had a special touch,' she said.
Talking about the store today Boston-based Catherine Lee,27, said: 'I don’t think that it’s a place where you can be a serious buyer. It’s really about the publicity of the show and selling souvenirs.'
TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress returns for a ninth season on December 28 at 9pm ET
Say Yes to the Dress Photos Say Yes Assortment of stylish latest candle holder for decoration
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