Saturday, February 22, 2014

Beauty Event Today

Holy moly, the brands must be desperate. I thought that the economy was improving, but I was disabused of that notion by the number of brand-hired freelancers who aggressively sought to sell me perfume at Beauty Event. It was a real turn-off.

Stationed at the front door, one woman actually got in my way,  imploring me to try Brand X's new fragrance as I made a bee line to the counter I had gone to visit. She did not take my polite brush-off well. She persisted, so I had to not-so-politely ignore her and keep walking. Darn if she didn't try again as I left the store. All I could say was, "I'm outta here." Apparently she had no memory of being rejected the first time.

Before I could get to my "home counter," I was pitched by two more of them! I detected a frenzy of desperation. Is perfume not selling? I also had several offers of makeovers. At least they were nice/helpful and carried no message that I needed one.

By the way, I bought fragrance, but from my favorite Tom Ford representative who actually had to tell one of the spritzers to stay away from me because she had patchouli in her bottle.

I choose where I shop using many factors, one of which is lack of aggressiveness. A few years ago, I told the tale here of a particularly annoying trip to Nordstrom. That day, I was unable to take three steps before being assaulted by someone trying to sell something, all the while having to answer one person after another as he or she asked how I felt that day. The pleasantries nearly drove me over the edge.

Now they seem to be even more aggressive, skipping the pleasantries and going straight for the sales pitch - a pitch I already know because I do follow their industry. Today, I was approached by the same freelancers multiple times. I finally went to get a store regular to escort me, help me select what I wanted, and get out of there without interference.

I'm glad my friends and regular brand representatives were there. Otherwise, I would have left for home without experiencing the nice day I anticipated. How was your beauty event experience this week? Did you notice a hint of desperation in the air?

Photo courtesy of dailyfinance.com

13 comments:

Nemo said...

Here's my experience: I walked into NM and was immediately pounced upon in the cosmetics dept by a horrid woman who demanded to know what I wanted to buy. Demanded, just yelled it out. I stood there with my jaw agape and another, older woman approached me and said timidly: Is she too aggressive? And I said yes and I'm going down to Saks, they are much nicer there. And I did, and they were.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a pretty good markup on fragrances, and most of the new releases depend on a huge amount of sales at the front, rather than having repeat buyers. I am totally intrigued to find out which fragrance you bought! The only TF i have is Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, which is a really lovely tuberose. I loved TF's film, and look forward to his future film work.
I went into a chain store recently, to buy a lancome eye makeup remover. They were so desperate to sell me a store credit card i left with nothing-not even the product I came to buy.I go to cosmetics for escapism , and to feel better. If i wanted to talk about finances i would have been in a bank!
Sincerely,
Carole

Kate MacDonald said...

Very little grates on my nerves like overly aggressive sales people. I don't want to be ignored, but honestly, I'd rather wait a couple of extra minutes for service than be accosted when I first walk up to a counter.

One time recently, I approached a counter and was looking at the display and one of the women immediately asked what she could help me find. (Note: Not IF she could help me but WHAT she could help me find.) I said everything was fine at the moment. She gave me about half a second and then started trying to sell me on every single thing I reached out to swatch on my hand. It got to the point where I didn't actually want to show an interest in anything, because I didn't want to be subjected to a pitch.

I keep hoping that my body language will be enough to convey my discomfort, but it seems to be getting harder...

Eileen said...

Most of the SA's at the local mall are quick to greet, but a simple, "I'm just looking, thank you," always seems to elicit a cheerful, "If you have any questions or if I can show you something, just let me know." Nice. Very nice. The worse SA's in the business, though, are those horrid, pushy people that work for brands like Le Caprice, Dead Sea, and Oro Gold. They actually step away from their kiosks or out of their stores to wave samples in front of people. And that ridiculous come-on, "Can I ask you a question?" drives me nuts. I know they're doing what they've been told to do, but stepping out in front of people, waving things in their face, interrupting people who are having a conversation, calling after them as they walk buy, etc. is rude, abrasive, and ignorant. I actually reported one of those businesses to security because an SA (who was standing outside of the store) reached out and touched me on the shoulder as he tried to give me the sample which I had already declined. Now that's what I call aggressive--and stupid! Something must have been said to that store's management because I notice that the SA's now stand at the door but don't actually come out. They still call out and wave their silly samples, but at least they're out of people's way.

Betsy said...

Ugh, my bank does that and I feel the same way! I hate being pounced on and having to tell people CONSTANTLY that I'm not interested, that I'm there for a certain thing and want to get it done without being harassed. It's not good customer service to be all over the customers, and I wish places would realize that!

Meredith said...

Dreadful experiences. I also go makeup shopping to relax. What on earth is wrong with these people? Where have manners gone?

Lisa said...

I love what you wrote about today. I am originally from New Orleans and have travelled and shopped everywhere for beauty products. My first experiance at being mugged and stalked at the beauty department was at NM at Houston Galleria 6 or 7 years ago. The behaved like used care salesmen. I was completely mortified and felt harassed and complained at the Chantecaille counter. The counter manger at that time was no better, trying to sell me things ill suited for me, etc. I finally asked are you on comission? They backed off, but indeed they are. It is better their now but I stayed away for 3 years and only go now directly to Tom Ford Beauty (bee line) and out. Nordstrom was horrid 2 weeks ago! Saks, much more pleasant. Less desperate.

Kristina said...

I too went to the beauty event yesterday at Neiman Marcus. The SAs mostly are a bit snooty. I'm tired of being harrassed at Nordstrom also. I'm in the dept five minutes and one day I counted, six people asked me if i needed help within ten minutes. It seems we're not allowed to look and test anymore. However, this drives me to order everything online, which is hurting the brick and mortar stores. It's their sales model that's not working anymore.

Deb said...

It really is quite ironic that the stores and brands can't figure out that the pushy, aggressive, rude sales tactics are doing exactly the opposite of what they want; selling their product. If you want to experience snooty and aggressive, try the high end stores at the Scottsdale Fashion Center in Scottsdale AZ. The whole thing has gotten to be such a turn off for me that I will no longer set foot in the stores. I order everything online. Since most places have easy return policies, why subject yourself to the harassment? I guarantee that if enough people just stopped going to the counters, the business model and tactics would change. And I'm willing to bet rather quickly. Because as we all know, the one and only thing they want is your money. It used to be so much fun to makeup shop. I loved it and could spend hours playing at the counters. Those days are over and it bums me out. But I will NOT subject myself to such an unpleasant environment for any cosmetic product. Nothing is that special or life altering.

*JW* said...

In my small, Southern city, the "economic downturn" is so bad that there are not enough sales representatives in most department stores. In the biggest and most well-stocked beauty department, the one make-up/perfume person has to handle five counters by herself while we customers get bored waiting, and sometimes just leave. One actually has to walk all over the store to find someone to pay after we have found what we want by ourselves.

*JW* said...

I meant to include in my comment about a lack of sales persons in my city how I get rid of the pests in a big city mall where I sometimes shop. I hold up my two index fingers in the sign of a cross while leaning my head away; as if to ward off vampires (blood-suckers if you will). So far this has worked every time.

Samar Samuel said...

I feel your pain, I get the same thing but I think it is not that they are happy of harassing people, but the store itself force them to do so to make their sales quota otherwise will be fired.

lady d said...

Yes I did detect desperation in the air. Was in NM Las Vegas and the salespeople were virtual vultures during the beauty event. Many are so fake and don't realize that many of us are quite savvy in their department. An older lady I worked with was only interested in my $350 purchase, but failed to send a couple samples that I asked for. Guess what, she will NEVER get another sale from me!! She may even get a return for her snarky treatment over the phone. You just to have the right person to do business with and stick with them....keep searching till you find a non-vulture who wants repeat business!!