Beauty Counter Biatches.

The grumps, sour pout, just downright unhelpful and unfriendly – the beauty counter is not the place for these negative adjectives.

With the exception of an extremely bad day personally (maybe you should take a day off?), I believe beauty counter staff should be beaming little bottles of groomed sunshine. Helpful. Welcoming. More than willing to suggest a lipstick that will make your whites whiter.

I may be alone here, (I have a suspicison that I’m not) but a trip to the beauty department of any major department store is like entering a world where shiny surfaces and bright lights make everything better. Those little pots and potions are full of the mysterious unknown, and there is always something new to discover. It’s safe to say a woman’s self confidence is linked to their appearance, so the beauty counters offer the possibility of a new magical product to inspire a look, alleviate a concern, and add a sparkle to their usual facade. Not to mention beauty products being a well recognised form of retail therapy.

So it really shits me when the bubble of perfection gets popped when one grumpy lady can’t be bothered noticing you, or huffs when you enquire about the benefits of liquid vs. powder. There’s a reason why you man the counters- you’re supposed to be trained in makeup to answer the questions of those who aren’t.

I’m not sure if it’s a case of the ‘can’t be bothereds’ or an immediate perception of your personal wealth divided by current beauty inventory square root to the average likelihood you’ll make a purchase (can you tell I’m not maths person?). However, if the latter is the case, isn’t that one of the main points of designer brands having a spin-off makeup collection; to offer the ‘common’ person a slice of affordable luxury, whether it be a Chanel lipstick or Armani perfume?

Today at David Jones (which is meant to be Australia’s premier department store) I approached the Laura Mercier counter with a voucher for a complexion consultation and a sample of their Mineral Foundation Primer. I had the email on my phone, and waited 5 minutes to even be acknowledged. Then I was nearly thrown a sample, of which I was “lucky to get” as I didn’t have the voucher printed out. The voucher the states I would receive a complexion consultation, application of the primer, foundation, concealer and setting powder to achieve the trademark Laura Mercier ‘flawless face’.

I realise it was only a voucher and I was scabbing around for a trial of the product, but isn’t that the point? I am much more likely to buy a product once I know it suits my skin and the other products that I use. A friendly, advice giving make up artist/beauty counter lady is also an important factor, as their behaviour definitely influences my perception of the brand. Am I right? Is it a case of suck it up and smile? Or has the beauty floor changed and I just need to get over it?

I’ve only ever had friendly, enthusiastic women at Bobbi Brown, more than willing to try a foundation/bronzer on my actual face.

Benefit girls have always been chirpy and knowledgable.

Which counter have your beauty best and worst experiences happened at?


6 Responses to “Beauty Counter Biatches.”

  1. 1 Annette @ Wellness WA May 3, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I am feelin you 142% on this one Holly!

    Half the time I feel like I’m being chastised for even approaching a beauty counter without wearing a face full of make-up already, because you don’t appear the type to be ‘interested’ in make-up. WHAT?!

    Maybe it’s my own insecurities but I feel that when I am wearing more make-up the girls are much more receptive to me!

    I agree with you that the Bobbi Brown girls are pretty delightful! 🙂

  2. 2 Indigo Kir Royale May 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I agree with everything you said! I also agree with Annette, but I try to pretty myself up with make up as well before I go make up shopping hoping to get better service?! It’s ridiculous. I try to avoid department stores as much as possible as I’m almost certain to have a bad experience than not – with the exception of a few counters. I generally found that the more mature aged sales assistants provide better service, I guess they’ve had far more experience, or take the job more professionally, or perhaps they’ve known a time where customer service was the key?! There’s a lovely mature aged lady I like to go to at DJ in Adelaide. She’s lovely & offered to be of assistance even when it was a minute to go before closing time. I had a very bad experience at Lancome DJ 1-2 months ago. The SA showed me a sample of their limited ed. mascara which I was interested in and I said yes please I’ll take one. Happy with my purchase I started walking away and as I do normally, I like to check that I was given the correct colour in the box, I took it out and noticed that the tube felt oddly warm and it had a lot of grubby finger prints! I opened the mascara and I could see some excess product on the rim which you wouldn’t normally see when brand new. I was surprised and hesitated about going back since maybe I was seeing things or possibly being pedantic? But then I thought, what if it IS used? It’s very unhygienic and I paid full price for it!!! So I went back but the SA who served me was busy, so I went to another SA. I felt a bit embarrassed to ask, but I wanted her to check if it was used(?). I showed it to her and she didn’t even bother to take a good look at it and insisted there was nothing wrong with it. I said I would like to exchange it and she said there’s nothing wrong with it. So I walked off, but then get really mad and went back to fight! This time I managed to speak to the lady who served me. She claimed there was nothing wrong with it too and accused me of putting those finger prints on it!!! I explained to her what I did – I simply tipped the box upside down for the tip of the tube to fall onto my palm – I didn’t even had a chance to hold it properly yet and the first thing I noticed was how grubby it looked! It was so obvious against the black lacquer!!! She said we can’t exchange due to hygienic reasons. I got REALLY mad and I said – I just bought it a few minutes ago?! I paid full price expecting it to be brand new and I don’t want to use it for the same reason that it is used and unhygienic!! She went quiet then talked to a different SA from another brand. Immediately the SA told her to exchange it. What an idiot! I would never shop there ever again. I’m still mad thinking about it. GRRRR… >:-[

  3. 3 Indigo Kir Royale May 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Oops! Sorry for the longest comment EVER! Maybe I should have pointed to another link for this! *blush*

    • 4 hollyjcurtis May 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      No, not at all, thanks for your comment!

      That IS terrible customer service! I think it would be a different story if you had come back a few days later, but if you had just left the counter minutes ago?! And if you had indeed put the marks and excess mascara on the tube, why would you be bothered to fight for a new one?

      I really think some counters need a major overhaul in their staff’s service, however that is not to say that all counters have bad service. I still receive wonderful service from some brands!

      I’m thinking of doing a secret evaluation on some counters in a blog post soon!

      • 5 Indigo Kir Royale May 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm

        Thanks Holly. 🙂 Yes there are still a few that offer good service – e.g. Lancome counter @ Myer in Adelaide, Benefit & Guerlain in Myer ADL.

        A secret evaluation sounds like a great idea, so be looking forward to that if you do post it. 🙂 Have a nice day!

  4. 6 Indigo Kir Royale May 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    As if my other comment wasn’t long enough. Just a few days ago, I went to Chanel Myer in Tea Tree Plaza (South Aus). I got an email with a voucher to get a sample of the new mascara. I couldn’t print it and I was sure it would be OK to show the voucher from my i-Pod. After waiting to be served for a good 15 mins (for a sample!?!) she told me I needed to print it out! WTF?! I said can’t you type the bar code numbers in? You know, the numbers that appear on the bottom of the bar code in case you can’t scan it?! She said NO. I printed it out and went back the next day. Another SA was there. Guess what? She couldn’t scan it in & without hesitation, typed the bar code in like a normal person with a brain would do. GRRRRR….. I might also add that same SA that wouldn’t type the barcode number already gave me bad service twice before. Why is she still working there?! OK that’s my rant. Post or not. This was therapeutic for me.

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