Cosmetics sales girls - how do you feel about them? (28 posts)

Im just wondering what the general consensus is on counter girls. I am one, I only work a couple of days a week and dont consider it my full time career (freelance earns sooo much more), and Im just wondering how we are for the shopper? I find my job exasperating at times, and im sure by the end of the day im showing my lack of patience, what bad experiences have you had? whats the worst thing we can do when serving you? please share, i need your perspective. Because sometimes, i feel like if one more person asks me what colour eyeshadow 'suits their skintone' Im going to cry. Its an eyesshadow!! do you like it? yes? then it suits it! Its not like foundation where you have a correct shade, how do I know if your a browns or a pinks girl?! :)

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bellarina

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Last Post: 10-02-11, 02:48 PM by Bantam

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19-09-08, 12:15 PM

  • Hmm, that's a good question. I guess a lot of women are looking for guidance when you're at the cosmetics counter. There's this bewildering array of products, and if you're in a department store it's pretty pricey and you don't want to make a mistake. Or, say, you're just looking for some safe-for-work eyeshadow and you're feeling a bit cross-eyed after a day of shopping and you'd like someone to steer you in the right direction. I've had some great experiences with sales girls, and some bad ones, but I think that's just down to energy level/personal chemistry. I'm a total beauty nerd and when I meet another total beauty nerd (like the time I spent a full half hour at Mecca talking about Serge Lutens fragrances) it's awesome, even if they are selling me things. But if someone's obviously distracted, or bored, or clearly  trying to make a sale and get me out of their life, I'm less charmed (I'm looking at YOU overly orange Lancome lady!). So, yes. If someone is bright, polite and highly knowledgeable about what they're selling then they will get money from me, and I totally understand end-of-day lack of energy. On the other hand, if someone irritated by their job, they do not know their shit, and they themselves have terrifying makeup, then I shall wait for someone else.

    GeorgeGlassNewbie

    192 posts

    19-09-08, 11:18 PM

  • I always get really freaked out going to counters, mainly because I"m rather makeup dumb and have no clue! And it's funny you mention eyeshadows cos they're the ones that scare me the most. Generally any suggestion is helpful, samples make me want to buy the product because I get a chance to try it first. The only time I've ever had  bad experiences is generally when people scare me with their pushiness (and pushiness means I generally buy nothing...Dior at Chatswood Chase haha!). But if you're friendly and helpful I don't think you can go wrong. Oh but I agree with George...scary make up makes me run a mile! Well, maybe not a mile...

    rubyjoyNewbie

    20 posts

    22-09-08, 01:15 AM

  • This is a great subject! I have so much I could vent about when it comes to sales girls in cosmetic shops, but I will try to keep it brief. First, I won't buy makeup from anyone who has overly bright/cheap/tacky looking makeup themselves. It completely turns me off. Who wants to buy makeup from someone who looks like they let their baby sister make their face up like a Bratz doll? Second, I won't buy makeup from anyone who has an attitude problem or who is clearly judging me because of my lack of makeup, daggy clothing or otherwise. I don't feel that I need to wear sparkly eyeshadow and a whole compact worth of blush to go to the local Westfield. Nor do I need heels and an outfit I would wear to a nightclub. The two first points are directly aimed at most girls who work for Napoleon, (Sorry) but it would be the same for any other store. I have never had a pleasant experience in their stores and generally avoid it at all costs. My one love from there is the mascara. Can't live without it. Third, I like to be able to ask questions and not feel like a fool. I also like good, thorough responses. If that includes suggesting a product, that's good. If that then extends to being given a sample or having the product tested on me, thats even better! Fourth, I don't like being pressured into buying something. I will buy it if I goddamn want to, and only then. Fifth, I like a nice friendly welcome. Enough said. I know when I was younger and first getting into makeup the only place I would go would be the Body Shop because they were friendly, would answer your questions, make helpful suggestions, try any of the products on you and help you pick the right shade. I eventually got the courage to try other products/brands and realised that their is so much better makeup out there, but in terms of service, nothing beats the Body Shop. Also, I used to work in retail, so I understand the end of day tiredness. Honestly, the best thing you can do is to spark up a conversation with the customer and say something along the lines of "it's been a long day". That way they understand you are tired, but you still seem friendly because you are talking to them. Just my 2 cents worth.

    amsterNewbie

    38 posts

    22-09-08, 01:37 AM

  • Agree. This is an excellent topic. There are some beauty brands that train up their counter staff brilliantly. They understand customer service. They're well groomed. They're knowledegable about the product ranges. Without any of the above, a brand might as well just start stocking the shelves at Coles or Pulse Pharmacy. If I'm going to spend money at the prestige counters, I want a fabulous experience. That's part of what we're paying for and why the brands have the real estate in department stores to begin with. I've been impressed with the counter staff at: Chanel, MAC, Mecca Cosmetica, and Clinique. (Pet hate: the upsell. If I want an eye pencil, I sure as heck don't want the new skincare range for $750. Stop the insanity!)

    StrappyFlatsNewbie

    40 posts

    22-09-08, 10:07 AM

  • thankyou girls, its so interesting for me to hear your POV. i HATE pressure selling. HATE HATE HATE IT! Have never done it, will never do it no matter how much I may need the sale to make my daily sales target. And the only time I try and up sell is when I really believe the customer needs something eg; when they have bought a cleanser or moisturizer but have TONES of surface dryness and dont exfoliate, I will always suggest the the microfine refinisher (MAC, yes I work for MAC). And I guess with lots of questions about colours or technniques, I only hate that when the customer chooses the worst time for it. At MAC we get sooooo busy, like busy where we get abused because people have been waiting for 20 minutes to get served. So when your in peak hour rush and you finally get around to a customer who has been waiting, and there are still 10 others, and the customer wants you to explain a smokey eye and try 6 different colours and then says 'thanks ill think about it' and walks away, you feel a bit used. Getting a make over is not free, by getting me to put colours on you and making me believe your there to purchase and then saying 'can you write that down for me' is a bit shifty! You dont go to a hairdresser and say "i just want to try some colour in my hair" and then not pay for it!! :) Thats my #1 pet hate. And as for scary looking make up, I HEAR YA!!! Often at MAC we have to wear certain colours, we are a bright and outragious brand, but I tell you what when Im not at work I am minimal all the way! Keep the comments coming girls xxx

    bellarinaNewbie

    79 posts

    22-09-08, 11:24 AM

  • I agree - this is a great topic!  Overall I find cosmetic counters incredibly intimidating - I love makeup as much as the next girl - but I don't wear a lot - and when you see some so thickly painted they look like a doll or something - it's a real turn off!  I understand brands like MAC and Napoleon are the bright and adventurous types - and I expect that their makeup will be slightly more outrageous than a Clinque girl, and that's fine.  But like others said, when the level of make up is ridiculous, you don't want to shop there as you think they're going to try and make you look like that too.   Biggest hate of course is pushiness - I refuse to be pushed into buying more than I want, and if someone starts pushing, I'll usually end up walking away with nothing.  Best thing you can do when someone walks over?  Say hi how are you, do you need any help?  Gives the customer an opportunity to say yes or no, coz there's nothing more frustrating when you just want to have a browse at new products/colours etc, and the sales assisant is hovering above you watching  your every move, and on the other side, equally frustrating when you go there needing help and you're ignored.  So if the customer answers no, please either walk away or busy yourself with something so they don't feel like you're hovering.   I used to work in retail too - and I know the long hours and horrible customers that can make you exhausted and snappy - and the best thing is to say you've had a long day, and the average customer will sympathise!   I understand the frustrations of the customer asking 20 questions when you have another 20 customers waiting, and then they walk away with nothing.  I've dealt with those types in retail, and they're horrible.  If I want specific help with something I will try and pick a quiet time so that I know the SA can spend that time helping me.   So while I will back away from the upsell - suggestions never go astray.  I don't have a problem with an SA saying something like "if you're interested, this lip gloss will look fantastic with this eyeshadow you're buying" etc - and of course samples are the best - and I think the best way to ensure a future sale! :)   But please, overall, be friendly but not pushy.  You cosmetic girls can be very intimidating with your perfect makeup and attire etc, and when I'm rocking up to the shopping centre for a quick shop in my trackies and a tshirt - I don't like to be looked down on just coz I'm not looking polished! :)

    ElmoEnthusiast

    211 posts

    23-09-08, 01:50 AM

  • My biggest pet hate is when the girls are standing around doing nothing/talking to each other and the counters are a mess, at Mecca in chatswood Chase there are always testers messing and random shadow spilled all over the place. It just makes me thick that the SA's dont really care.Mostly I find all the cosmetic sales girls to be really helpful but when I was younger and didn't wear much makeup I always felt really intimidated (especially at MAC).

    beautyfillNewbie

    10 posts

    23-09-08, 04:57 AM

  • Man, I love my MAC counter staff something hardcore. They've always been helpful, polite and very, very knowledgeable. They sold me my first bronzer (for the record, I'm a fair blonde and prefer the Cate Blanchett/Nico look to WAG at the Brownlows) and taught me how to use it to create cheekbones. LOVE. Also, the ladies at Kit are the business. I also totally feel the whole messy counter thing. It was my biggest gripe with Mecca at David Jones Bourke St. Their counters were always disastrous. Hope it improves now they've moved to Myer...

    GeorgeGlassNewbie

    192 posts

    23-09-08, 07:03 AM

  • I am often really irked by the lack of product knowledge of staff - not anywhere in particular. I don't think I am unusual. I read magazines (these all have cosmetic/hair sections) ... I watch TV, and I browse the internet before I buy. But all too often I encounter staff who eg - work at Mecca which sells boutique skincare, and cannot successfully identify a product with AHA or BHA in it. I'm not asking them for a item by item breakdown of a product and I don't expect miracles ... but some interest in your product might help. However, many staff I encounter are fabulous. And seem genuinely interested in answering my questions when I ask them.

    jujiEnthusiast

    159 posts

    23-09-08, 07:51 AM

  • I'm not really into the special packages they sell - I never buy $110 worth of products to get the 'gift with purchase' - but what I love is when i am buying one of my regular products and I get a little something extra just for being a loyal customer. Case in point, I went to DJ's in Bourke St Mall the other day to grab some Clinique CityBlock because I had run out, and the sales assistant gave me a tester of an anitoxidant moisturiser, just because. She didn't try to up-sell me or push me into anything - but it made my day because it was just random and nice!

    pipsqueakNewbie

    49 posts

    25-09-08, 01:22 AM

  • I agree to a certain extent about the eyeshadow, but I always like to see what they will recommend to make my eyes 'pop'.. there are def eyeshadows that don't suit me and vice versa. I just can't handle SAs who speak down to me, or on the flip side, are overly gushy. Or really pushy. And don't ignore me just because I'm wearing trackies and have three pimpes on my jawline that are bigger than your head. I refuse to buy from a counter that has horrid service on principle. I am a sucker though for a lovely SA - as soon as they're nice and helpful, I may as well just hand over a blank cheque. Good: give sample(s) with a purchase, let them play heaps with the displays, offer recs, speak to them nicely and make eye contact. Bad: ignoring, getting all impatient and pushy, not having a sense of humour, not knowing your product.

    theloveofpinkNewbie

    152 posts

    29-09-08, 06:14 AM

  • Yikes.I met the sales girl from hell the other day. I was happily broswing in Mecca, on my own, clearly not interested in the hard sell. She shanghaied me in the corner at the back of the store, next to the Fredric Fekkai products... She asked me if I was looking for anything in particular, to which I replied "No, thanks anyway, I've already been browsing online and I just wanted to test things out in person". Then she asks "What have you been looking at?" So I reply ... "Oh, tinted moisturisers, but really I'm fine. Thank you anyway!" She then says "Oh, I'm SO bored...Please let me put some products on for you!" Eventually I relented because I am a sucker. But then she tries to sell me Utowa's liquid foundation and tries to tell me "It's a foundation, but it's really light" even though I said I was looking for tinted moisturiser. And for me "pre foundation cleanse" she used the Utowa cleansing oil and removed it with Darphin toner. NO WATER! WTF? I was silently wondering if she knew the oil emulsifies with water and is not a "wipe on/wipe off" product. It was 5.30pm on a Friday and I was on my way home, so you can imagine, I was not interested in chit-chat. She had me trapped for 45 minutes! After this I went to MAC, purchased select tint and was out the door in under 5 minutes.

    jujiEnthusiast

    159 posts

    06-10-08, 01:56 AM

  • OMG I had the worst experience ever getting a makeover for an event at Mecca a few years ago. I know what I want and the MUA refused to do it for me. She kept pushing the natural look - all I wanted was dark eyes, contouring and nude lips. She ended up doing brown eyeshadow and rosy cheeks. If I wanted the natural look, I would have gone to Bobbi Brown- or better yet- done it myself!All I ask of from counter girls is - The ability to tell me if the product will meet my expectations eg. if its long wearing / waterproof / hypoallergenic etc - Not make me feel like a hobo for asking how much something is.- Dont make a comment in reference to how lousy some other product I'm wearing is "Oh you use xyz brand foundation? OMG xyz brand  does something terrible to your skin. Our brand is soooo much better!"

    spikeNewbie

    7 posts

    10-10-08, 03:52 AM

  • I know this is an old thread but thought I'd add my two cents. Bellarina, when I was much, much younger there were eyeshadows I used that most certainly did not suit me...and made me look quite unwell in photographs.. If only a helpful SA had been there to steer me away from those shades as young, clueless tween lacking in confidence and basic understanding! Perhaps just appreciate that some of us are really not confident about makeup and how best to apply it in a flattering manner. Things that I like about good sales assistants: explain why they recommend a particular product/shade (especially when it involves skintone!), give you samples especially for skincare, prep/prime and foundation, are happy for you to come back later so you have enough time to check if something suits your skin, don't assume you're entirely stupid if you're asking reasonably informed questions, know their product, and take the time to help you choose and make recommendations based on what they can observe of you not just generic recs.. I try to make it as painless as possibly for them by doing my research beforehand - so if I'm asking questions then it's because I'm really not sure. This is usually about knowing about shades that suit me e.g. foundation - I'm not heaps confident, especially as many SAs seem to disagree on skintones  I've had different MAC SAs match me to completely different foundation shades and tones within the same week... I realise sometimes that it can take a lot of patience for SAs but if they take the time to help me choose I'm more likely to come back later and buy that product and probably think of other things I need to pick up while I'm there!

    saccharineNewbie

    2 posts

    30-06-10, 12:33 PM

  • I know this is an old thread but thought I'd add my two cents. Bellarina, when I was much, much younger there were eyeshadows I used that most certainly did not suit me...and made me look quite unwell in photographs.. If only a helpful SA had been there to steer me away from those shades as young, clueless tween lacking in confidence and basic understanding! Perhaps just appreciate that some of us are really not confident about makeup and how best to apply it in a flattering manner. Things that I like about good sales assistants: explain why they recommend a particular product/shade (especially when it involves skintone!), give you samples especially for skincare, prep/prime and foundation, are happy for you to come back later so you have enough time to check if something suits your skin, don't assume you're entirely stupid if you're asking reasonably informed questions, know their product, and take the time to help you choose and make recommendations based on what they can observe of you not just generic recs.. I try to make it as painless as possibly for them by doing my research beforehand - so if I'm asking questions then it's because I'm really not sure. This is usually about knowing about shades that suit me e.g. foundation - I'm not heaps confident, especially as many SAs seem to disagree on skintones  I've had different MAC SAs match me to completely different foundation shades and tones within the same week... I realise sometimes that it can take a lot of patience for SAs but if they take the time to help me choose I'm more likely to come back later and buy that product and probably think of other things I need to pick up while I'm there!

    saccharineNewbie

    2 posts

    30-06-10, 12:35 PM

  • This is such a great thread. I hate to admit it but I'm a bit intimidated by the sales girls after I've had a few rude ones. I feel like I'm bothering them and feel a bit silly asking for advice.

    misslysieMaster Fan

    431 posts

    02-02-11, 11:06 PM

  • What an interesting thread! I have come across some really lovely and helpful sales assistants but also some terribly snooty and rude ones. I think these are the ones that give cosmetic sales assistants a bad name and make approaching a counter intimidating and unpleasant. I actually do make mental notes about which assistants I like and which I don't and I buy from the ones that treated me with respect and courtesy. I tend to pick up free samples when I can too and this is the most nerve wracking experience of all. It's a good way to test the sales assistant though - if they give out a sample without looking at me with disdain then I'll come back. I think sales girls often think you're just being a sponger but in fact, I really do just want to test the products and review them and just about all my beauty purchases have been brought about by liking a free sample. It must be frustrating at times being a sales assistant but if I was to give some advice I would say try to be tolerant, friendly and helpful. No need for hard selling - a friendly personality will bring the sales to you.

    beautybee1Master Fan

    2029 posts

    03-02-11, 10:32 AM

  • I am a bit intimidated by sales girls like many others are.
    Thinks that I hate about some not so good sales are; too much caked on makeup and cases where the foundation is way darker than their natural skin colour and you can see the colour change down their neck, Lol! If they can't help their own face, how can they help me?
    Where they are standing talking to each other rather than doing something proactive, especially if you want service.
    When you say you are only looking they hang around still paying you more attention than what you want
    When they don't have much knowledge on the products they sell.
    When they look down at you if you haven't been too bothered with wearing your best clothes and makeup for a shopping trip.
    And I also don't like it when they try to push a sale onto me. I will only buy if I know I want the product, if I'm not sure I will decide later and may come back if the sales assistant has been friendly and non pushy.

    GorgeousEmeraldsMaster Fan

    1457 posts

    05-02-11, 07:02 PM

  • It was my 22nd birthday a few weeks ago and stupidly I left it til the last minute to book in to get my make up done (the Wednesday before!). I went to MAC at Castle Towers and all I got was complete rudeness. It wasn't busy at all and the manager (she looked like the manager) was standing there talking to one of the other make up artists and when I came up to ask for an appointment they just both looked at me like it was such a hassle that a customer who was willing to spend $95 to get their make up done dare ask them to check their appointment book and actually do some work when there were no other customers around! She then informed me (quite rudely) they were fully booked. So, I went to the Parramatta MAC and even though they were also booked out they were extremely lovely and didn't look down on me like the girls at Castle Hill did. I will never go back to the Castle Hill MAC due to the utter rudeness and "superiority" complex they tried to portray there.

    danigirlEnthusiast

    51 posts

    07-02-11, 02:24 PM

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