Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Cranky Shopper Returneth

I couldn't help it. My curiosity got the better of me and I found myself in front of the Yves Saint Laurent counter at Bloomingdale's looking for the black gloss. I had to see it for myself and try it on. But the first obstacle in my way was the deserted counter. No SA was to be found. Left to my own devices I started playing with the YSL HolidaySet: The Bow Collection and was quite impressed. I liked just about everything they had there, especially the four color eye shadow palette: rich pigments, the softest texture and just perfect colors. I decided to get it and probably also the Golden Burgundy gloss.

But where was the sales assistant?

A lady from the Guerlain counter was efficient enough to go and locate the YSL guy, who was deep in conversation somewhere around the Dior area. He wasn't happy about being disturbed. I asked about the black gloss. Sure, he said, producing a golden box from a drawer, but we don't have a tester and I can't open one.

Seriously? Am I supposed to blind buy a black lip gloss without actually seeing it in action?

The guy shrugged. We don't have a tester yet.

Do you sell many of these without a tester? Do you know how it's supposed to look?

Another bored shrug.

No "hopefully we'll get a tester next week/after the holiday/when Santa comes". No "leave me your number and I'll call as soon as we have one". No "Can I show you the Holiday Collection?". He was eager to get back to his conversation.

Guess who didn't get my business?

That's why they invented online shopping. There aren't any testers, but also no attitude.


  1. Great Post! It always amazes me when a line doesn't have a tester of the new item they're selling. Its not like we're at the drug store after all, and that's one thing I like about buying at the department stores - you can test (usually anyway!). In this economy, this SA should be just a tad more helpful (actually, ALOT more helpful!). Wow, black lipgloss, its got my curiosity up! (I also want to see the Holiday collection you posted about).

  2. May I recommend the Lipstick Queen black gloss as an alternative? It's a bit sticky, in the pot, but not on the lip, and the sheer black sort of makes your lips a tiny bit deeper in color. Very flattering, surprisingly understated.

  3. It's good to know there are other people who have snooty SA horror stories. I dragged myself into Nordstrom the other day because they had a gift with purchase for clinique (which I was planning on buying the other day). While I was there I decided to check out some of the NARS makeup. There was an SA right there and not a single other person in the area- she just looked me up and down and then went back to staring at a wall. Okay, so I was coming from class and didn't look too wealthy at the moment, but since I was the only person in the cosmetics department at that time, it couldn't have hurt her to help me out. It just reminded me why I hate Nordstrom so much. The sad thing is that these horrible SAs are also killing the sales for the nice ones- because people would rather shop online if they can't try the stuff on anyway. Maybe stores should do better at policing their SAs.

  4. Nice one!
    I have a 'black gloss' of sorts somewhere in my makeup bag(s). It's Benefit, and I think it's discontinued. But the effect was as described by Juno, understated and flattering.

    I find myself getting cranky in shops far more often now than I used to. Are the SAs getting worse, or am I just turning into my mother? ;-)
    Whatever, there's an SA in the perfume department of one famous London store who has more than once put me off buying, just by being so offputting and uninterested.

  5. Write to YSL and CC Bloomingdales. In this economy there is no excuse for that sort of service.

  6. Wow, I thought I was the only one who had horrible SA stories! I had a similar experience that Amanda B had, except I was at the Chanel counter, and the woman was not only snooty, but she had this overly-put on English(ish) accent. When I asked her where she was from (having just got back from England myself) she replied that "When one pronounces words correctly, it sounds like we have foreign accents. Americans don't often understand the concept."

    She also refused to help me with a lip gloss situation I had, saying that the testers were very valuable and couldn't be wasted. I'd intended to drop quite a sum (especially for me!) on some nice gloss and a new bottle of No 5, but not after speaking to that woman. I'd rather drive 30 mins out of my way to another Macy's or Nordstroms than deal with that sort of service ever again.

    xx Alexandra (lurker, but fan!)

  7. Indeed, praised be the online shops!
    Maybe there is a positive side to it, and maybe your encounter just shows that the economy is not so bad at all.... if it was they SA would be laid off by now.
    Just trying to see the positive side everywhere, I guess.

  8. Alexandra-

    You need to go back to that shop. That is YOUR shop. If that woman pulls that crap again affix her with your steeliest gaze and a dangerously sweet smile and ask her if she thinks those testers are wasted upon you, a customer. Then ask to see the store manager, now.

    She works in a shop. There's no shame in that, but she's there to serve you. That's her job. I don't get paid to tell the people I work for they aren't worthy of receiving the information that I am paid to give them and expect to keep my job.

    This sort of thread should be standard reading for people at Federated, etc. This is why stores are closing. If I have to deal with crap (and woe to the SA that dares try that with me) then why would I purchase there?

    Sorry to highjack, Gaia


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