More beauty counter problems..(19 Posts)
What is it about me that causes make up counter staff to ignore me, or worse be very rude indeed?
I’m a bit limited in what I can buy due to allergies. Apart from blusher I really need to buy hyper-allergenic. Clinique counters are really terrible. After being told that I couldn’t expect the beauty department in Debenhams in Gloucester to be anything more than the Marie Celeste at 3pm – because it was lunchtime! I decided to move my custom to Cheltenham.
Yesterday I wanted three items, an eyeshadow palette, mascara and a lipstick of a particular colour. I probably spend over £500 a year on make-up, nearly all Clinique, and just expect to be served, no more than I get in Waitrose or anywhere else, with a modicum of politeness. I went to HoF in Cheltenham and joined the queue. At the front a young lady with a blonde and purple ponytail was going on and on and on trying to persuade someone to buy a load of stuff that she was not that interested in, eventually after I’d been there over 15 minutes said person purchases about half of the stuff that was being pushed at her. Assistant has let the queue build up without even a word of “I’ll be with you as soon as I can” She then tries to service the person behind me, remonstrating that she was there first, only when this lady made it clear she hadn’t been there did she “serve” me, delightedly pointing out that the first item was out of stock (no offer to order) With the lipstick, I’d brought along one that makes me itch to colour match. She pulled one out to the stand said it was nothing like and then told me there was nothing else before selling me a very puny mascara when I’d asked for the most volumising one they had. She then rudely said, “Well that’s it then”
Off to Space NK for a NARS blusher and perhaps a lip liner if there was anything hypo-allergenic, 3 members of staff standing at the counter and none of them said as much as Hello, I left without buying what I’d gone in for.
Off to Boots, the ladies on the Clinique counter there were lovely, couldn’t believe the HoF person had been so rude and got out loads of lipsticks to try against the one I wanted to match, with a very good result. They ordered my eye palette and promised to ring me when it came in.
Now I cannot help but notice that some people get fawned over and some get short shrift. I seldom need much time to make my choices but time and again I’m made to feel as if I’m nothing but a nuisance. Even when I wanted advice on a couple of pretty neutralish lipsticks for my mother’s 90th I got told to look through the tray with no recommendations made. You may be wondering if it is how I look but I don’t think so, quite swishy, nice hair, Boden coat and White stuff dress yesterday, clutching a few carrier bags that clearly indicated I was in the mood to shop. If they can be polite to people in Boots why not in department stores?
The most important thing to get your head around, believe me, took me ages, is that this is on them, not you. They are, bluntly, not very good at their job. Vote with your feet and leave and email their company with your complaint - keep it factual and unemotional, even though it feels very emotional. I've been treated brilliantly and awfully by all kinds of counter assistants and often tried to figure out what it is "about me"...am I not pretty enough/tall enough/thin enough/look like I'm going to spend enough blah blah like I'm seeking their validation as a potential mate! There is no consistency in anything other than there are some awful counter assistants and some great ones - they don't fit into any box, either. As I've got older, I've got far more confident in walking away and even asking dismissive assistants "would you rather not help me today?". I stay polite but I'm so over handing over cash to an assistant who cannot be ars3d to deal with me.
It's not you. It really is them.
They're the same with me. I'm bored of them. I have a quick look around the counter on my own then order online. To be honest when they do show an interest they make me orange and don't match things well anyway, I've had no less success doing it on my own.
Agree with OP that the Boots staff are always friendly and often appear knowledgeable about their products. Also good at "balancing" queues/multiple shoppers at the counter.
Also agree with the PP who suggested emailing Clinique and H o F to explain so that they can choose whether to try to improve the service (e.g. retrain staff).
I find Boots and Debenhams beauty counter staff really helpful. However usually if I know what it's usually cheaper to buy online
I'm pleased it is not just me that has this problem. I was feeling a bit sad yesterday that Christmas was nearly over and only went into Cheltenham to cheer myself up. Having waded through the tat in most of the clothes shop sales I thought a couple of beauty purchases would be a good way to cheer myself up, sadly deluded.
It's not just you OP! I have exactly the same problem in Cheltenham, usually end up going to John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway! It's really annoying, I dress "nicely" try to be pleasant and polite, but I feel sometimes that seen as a weakness. Silly really, I'm in my mid fifties and have a lot more money to spend on skincare and makeup that I've ever had before....a bit like that shop scene from pretty woman! Their loss though 😀
A bit unrelated but I have many skin and cosmetic allergies especially to colour pigments found in make up and have recently discovered that Urban Decay make up is virtually free of all of my allergens. Some Laura Mercier is ok too and also a few products by Boots Seventeen. That is honestly it. Prior to this I'd been ordering specialist products online (which were expensive and rubbish). I would never have thought to try urban decay but now I love it and can use anything they do. Maybe worth investigating.
Great post Bingohandjob.
OP I think you should email about the shoddy service, I would really grudge parting with my cash on a brand where their staff treated me like that.
Not very good salespeople or brand ambassadors.
I found space nk in Cheltenham really unfriendly, the customer service was shocking!
Gloucester Debenhams is terrible too, staff on Estée Lauder are mostly really rude, with a few exceptions ! I once wanted to buy quite a bit of make up and already had picked up a skin care gift set, the woman on the counter was awful, her general attitude was so bad,
not to mention the bright orange tide line of makeup I left everything on the till.
The counters are often empty with staff on their lunch break that seems to last all day.
I worked out I've been using Clinique since I was 25, so that is 35 years, they have had a fair bit of my money over the years, Thousands I suppose, so it would be good to be treated with respect. Gloucester Debenhams is one I can't formulate a view on, the make up department seems to be totally unstaffed most of the time.
I have this problem with Bobbi Brown in Covent Garden - shoddily rude. But in reverse was in Canterbury a few months ago on way to see friends and stopped off to shop as too early to meet and there was a really helpful BB lady called Georgia in department store that I forget what it's called ! She was great and I plan to go back.
Don't get me started on House of Fraser staff in general, dear god the online customer service is actively detrimental to one's mental health and the in store staff seem to believe that customers are only there to get in their way.
I was at the BB counter in HoF a couple of years ago looking for a blusher and I asked the woman, I don't know whether she was an MUA or not, about a certain shade. They didn't have it in. Ok... well what would she recommend of those that she did have in stock? Well nothing pink anyway as I have a lot of redness in my cheeks already.
Wtf? I had a bit of mild rosacea, no make up on, fair skin and the shop was roasting. Plus I tend to flush when I'm annoyed, as I already was before she even made that comment.
I was going to explain that with my Doublewear concealer and foundation on I'd still need blusher but then I thought no, fuck her. So I just said Right. Thanks. and left. Then I ordered the one I wanted online from somewhere else.
The memory of it still annoys me now!
Also, I think it's good to balance this with letting companies know when you get really good service. I make a point of doing this now - to the point I contacted Sainsbury's last week a every time I go into my little local one the young lads working there are just a delight to all the customers - happy, friendly helpful. The store manager was delighted to hear such good feedback and said he'd make sure they knew. Good to keep the karmic balance of complaints with compliments I reckon. I'm lucky in my job in education that I regularly get lovely thoughtful comments from students and families so good to spread that around in the world.
I find the Urban Decay assistants at my local Debenhams are DREADFUL! They stand around chatting and not serving even when I am making it very obvious - as in asking - that I would like some help.
The ones in HoF are great though.
Most of my local HoF are v helpful, even the really expensive brands.
Posted too soon!
I tend now to walk out if I get bad service, I've done retail and I don't put up with shabby behaviour. Part of the job is to be nice, even if you don't feel like it.
To be honest, I think it's about the individual rather than a generalisation. On saying that I'm quite confident so usually get good service, but I have seen others get short shrift. I can though tell the difference between one who is just doing as requested to one who genuinely wants to help.
The most bizzare but complimentary moment though was in house of Fraser and I put my beauty purchase in the little basket and as I walked away one of the women said " you are very beautiful" whilst staring at me. I was slightly taken aback and said what, her colleague then said "she said you are very beautiful, it's your
face" . Whilst making a circle motion round her own face in case I was confused as to where my face was. Eh, thanks,,,That's going above and beyond ladies.😂
Anyways, it's the clothes concessions in house of Fraser that piss me off, trying to find a till to pay, so now I just find a random staff member and ask them to open their till and let me pay in a tone that always embarrasses my daughter but brokers no argument, and generally they do, but with a pissed off air about them. Like you're actually inconveniencing them by actually wanting to buy stuff.
One of the best afternoons I ever had was with my friend at the Chanel counter in Debenhams!
There was not a sales assistant in sight!
We were sat in the chair, trying the samples on each other, access to the tissues and wipes to take it off again and in the end behind the counter opening the drawers to find what we wanted!
No one came near us the whole time, in fact we were joking about ringing the items we wanted through the till ourselves!
Hours of fun and we spent a fortune when we eventually found somewhere to pay! Best make-up shopping experience ever! Maybe they should just do away with them altogether!
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