I love buying cosmetics online. Sure, I can’t try the products in person, which can make online purchases quite risky at times (although thanks to blogs, I can have a good idea of what a shade looks like or how a product works), but at least I don’t have to deal with rude, pushy or ignorant SAs. Going to a cosmetic counter should be a pleasant and fun experience, but when you don’t get good customers service, you’ll start to dread even approaching one. Here are 5 things that will make sure I’ll never visit a shop again:
1. Pushy sale assistants
I can’t stand it when a SA tries to sell me something I neither need nor want and refuses to take no for an answer. The SAs at my local Kiko shop are the worst. It doesn’t matter if you go to the shop to browse or buy, the moment you step inside, they’ll jump on you raving about the new releases you absolutely have to try. If you tell them you’re looking for something specific, they will help you and then proceed to try and sell you the entire store. And going there when the shop’s so full the SAs won’t have the time to harass you doesn’t work either because as soon as you approach the till to pay for your purchase, they’ll try to sell you something else. For instance, if you buy a mascara, they’ll try to sell you an eye makeup remover, and if you’re purchasing a lipstick then you need a gloss to give it some shine! Argh! Why can’t they just let you browse in peace?! If we want something, we’ll tell you. Otherwise, leave us alone!
2. Being ignored
Being paid too much unwanted attention by a SA is very annoying, but being ignored is just as bad. Once, I had to wait for about 15 minutes before a SA finally stopped gossiping with her colleagues and bothered to help me. And when she did, she acted like she was doing me a favour! It’s their job to take good care of customers, and if they can’t be bothered to do it, then I’ll just take my money elsewhere, where they treat me with respect.
3. Being treated like a thief
If I enter a shop when I’m more dressed down and say I just want to browse, the SAs very often keep staring at me and watch my every move, like they’re afraid I’m gonna let a lipstick slip in my pocket or something. I understand that they need to keep an eye on customers in case they misuse testers or even open and use products for sale (which is another thing I can’t stand), but surely they can do so in a discreet way. Besides, it’s not so much the fact that they look at what I’m doing that bothers me, it’s that they do it only when I’m not wearing expensive clothes. On days when I make an effort to dress up, they’re more likely to ask me if I need help and, if I say I just want to browse, they let me do so in peace. And it’s also annoying when they assume you can’t pay for an expensive item just because you’re not carrying a designer bag. I was at a YSL counter once to look for a foundation and the first thing the SA said to me was that the price was high. Like I didn’t know that already! YSL is not a cheap brand and if I want to purchase something from it, it means I can, so don’t treat me like I’m making you waste time!
Some SAs seem to believe that making rude remarks like, “you have awful skin, try this miracle cream”, or “you’re really bad at applying makeup, you need lessons” will help them sell more. Actually, it’s not just SAs that think that. A lot of adverts and magazine articles keep pointing out how inadequate we are at pretty much everything so that they can sell us a product or give some advice that will improve our life in some way. And it really irritates me. Instead than pointing out what you think is wrong me with me, why don’t you tell me what is so great about your product? If you can’t do that and keep resorting to such low tactics, then you will not only offend me, making me never want to deal with you again, but you will also convince me that your product isn’t all that good after all…
5. Lack of product knowledge
I’m not one of those people that expects a SA to know every product, including old, discontinued ones, of the lines they are selling. But I do expect them to have some knowledge of makeup and skincare, and be able to apply their makeup properly, especially if they insist on giving me advice on how to do mine. Instead, most of the time, they just repeat the claims on the packaging, like “this cream will make you look 10 years younger”, or “our products are formulated to work synergically together so if you use them with products from other brands, they won’t work”, that are blatantly false. Some SAs also have such poor knowledge of their products that they don’t even know they exist. I once heard someone complain about a MAC SAs not knowing what the Vanilla pigment, which is one of their most popular, was, let alone if they had it in stock! I, instead, left a SA speechless when I asked if they had a brush cleanser. After giving me a weird look, she simply said “use soap and water”. I had to explain to her that there are products especially designed to clean brushes, and she briskly replied she didn’t sell them. Somehow, I had already figured that out…
Of course, not all SAs are bad. There are lots of professional, knowledgeable and lovely SAs out there who are very good at their job, always treat their customers with respect and help them get exactly what they need. And they deserve praise, especially when you consider what they have to put up with every day. After all, customers can be rude, annoying and demanding at times too.
What are your makeup counter pet peeves? Have you any bad (or good) stories to share?