An Open Letter to the Cosmetics Counter Girl And Her Friend From Today

Dear Cosmetics Counter girl and fellow cosmetics assistant

I was having a nosy earlier today around all of my favourite product stands on my break. Adding to my mental inventory of things I really, really want/need. I noticed your counter was very busy, it's a lovely thing a busy counter, especially for a nosy parker like me who wants to stick their fingers in all the new pots of eye-shadow and oooh and ahhh as is my want without getting glared at. So I was minding my own business squeezing tubes and rubbing shimmers on my hand as you were completing what looked to be a large sale with a customer and then I got the shock of my life. As the customer moved off to the next product stand you looked at your friend who was near you and laughed. Now I obviously didn't know what you were laughing at, it could have been anything, from the state of British Politics to Ren and Stimpy cartoons, when I worked on a beauty stand I often laughed at inopportune ways I'd tried to remove the foundation from the counters, so I didn't pay much heed. Standing quite near though as I was on the other side of the stand almost behind you and your friend I was pretty surprised when I heard you say 'God love her as if that'll help.' Still mildly baffled I looked up to see you both looking up at the customer who had walked away and was standing at the next stand over.

Granted surely what should have sprung to mind instantly was the first rule of bitching which is '1) thou shalt ensure the target of your bitching is out of earshot.'  I'm not entirely sure this girl was. She was maybe 10 feet away looking at products. I don't know if she heard you but I thought at the time, 'maybe they aren't talking to her.' Your friend helped though by saying 'I know I was laughing the whole time you were serving her'. So no doubt about it you were talking about the previous customer. I didn't really get it though, I took a look at the customer you'd just served, she was a woman perhaps in her late 30s, she was a larger lady but dressed really fashionably in my opinion and she was pretty and clearly a fan of cosmetics judging by the enviable expensive luxury haul she had in her bag. I really didn't see what was making you laugh at her? I mean hearing you snicker that 'like what's the point in that' I'm still mystified. What's the point in someone wanting to spend their money on expensive cosmetics? Maybe it makes her feel good, maybe she enjoys it. Or is the issue here the fact that you're looking at her and thinking her efforts with herself are pointless as she's not seeing the bigger picture?

Maybe I've read you wrongly, maybe you were looking directly at her and whispering about someone else, but it didn't seem like it. Either way it made me kind of disappointed and honestly it's made me hesitant about buying from your stand again. I do love my luxury products but I don't like the thought that I might be laughed at because I don't meet the criteria you feel are necessary before I wear your cosmetics. I mean whilst perhaps to some it may be preferable for me to wear a bin bag and not try, not waste my time on cosmetics as lord knows they might think I have bigger aesthetic problems, but I want to. It makes me feel happy. I don't think I should be judged by the people I'm buying the products from. This is not Pretty Woman, this isn't Rodeo Drive, it's a cosmetics stand in Belfast, it may be a higher end one but still! Surely customer service should extend until you're out of earshot? Maybe it comes from my hatred of two-facedness but it left me with a really sour taste in my mouth and I moved on to another counter as I didn't want to listen to it any more.

I'm not naming and shaming even though at the time I was really adamant I would, but mainly its because I don't want to lose someone their job, not that I have anywhere near that kind of influence, but it would make me feel bad. Be nice it won't hurt, everyone deserves nice things, don't be the nasty lady from Pretty Woman 'big mistake, BIG MISTAKE!'

Much Love


26 comments:

LoubouLush said...

Ouch! I've been pretty lucky with make up counters I've used in Belfast but I do find them a bit intimidating and this kind of thing doesn't help :(

Claire | French for Cupcake said...

Wow, as if I wasn't intimidated enough at those stands. If I were you I would name and shame, because those idiots don't deserve to be in that job. Jobs are sparse these days, and they should go to people who know how to do them! x

daisychain said...

Bloody hell that's awful. You should send this to the company.

germangreeneyedmonster said...

that's the reason I'm too scared of counters and avoid them entirely :-(

madamegourmand.com said...

I very rarely find a beauty stand assistant who doesn't make me walk away and go somewhere else. I've encountered many rude assistants at MAC, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Dior, Bobbi Brown and Clarins. The best beauty stands in my area are Armani and YSL. I would rather swatch in store and order online for all other brand purchases.

I get very annoyed when I actually wsh to buy something as most counter staff give the impression that serving me is not as important as chatting to their friends or co-workers. I very rarely buy one item, usually when I go to purchase something I will walk away with 4 or 5 items sometimes more meaning my purchase will always be around £130+ if the counters can't be civil to me I'm happy to take my money somewhere else!

Makeup Over Mind said...

Great post. You're so right. It's amazing how quickly you are put off any and all purchases when there is a rule sales assistant. Particularly if they are beig condescending. What they did to that woman is a disgrace. So much for sisterhood!

Lisa xx said...

i hate beauty counters, some of the girls that work on them make you feel worthless! do they not realise without us shoppers they'd be jobless?

Mittens said...

This is exactly the reason I dislike of beauty counters lol what most counter assistants seem not to understand is that its the customers that pay their wages ...

Robyn said...

I work on a beauty counter and I would NEVER say anything like this! I don't think I've ever even thought something like this! I'm always (I hope anyway!) polite and helpful, even if it means having to be super nice to a customer who is being very rude (who hasn't had this in retail?) Even after said rude customer has gone, I would still never bitch about them this harshly. I might say "well...she was a bit difficult!" but I'm never rude about people's appearances. We get all sorts of people on our counter and I absolutely love it when I get someone who is clearly lacking self esteem go away with products that make them feel better about themselves. I think that you should email the company that the person worked for because it's unacceptable to be so rude on a counter and the company should be aware of this kind of rude behaviour being displayed by their staff. Everyone has issues and god knows I'm not exactly what a "perfect counter person" should look like! Not only that, but it gives all of us beauty counter girls a bad name too. We're not all like that, I promise!!

DawnieP said...

Wow what a lot of response I didn't realise so many of us felt a similar worry about stands and the assistants on them. It's annoying that we feel that way but I'm a culprit as well I've only used the MAC counter to buy things in my hand and not actually ask any assistants. Most of the time I buy online I'll sample at the counter if it's busy and I can fly under the radar.
I can't believe we all feel so similar, as an ex beauty Counter girl at Clarins I know I wasn't like that it wouldn't have occurred to me to be so we aren't all like that :)

WitchHazel said...

I'm also intimidated by beauty counters; I buy the bulk of my cosmetics online because of it. I always get bad 'I'm better than you' vibes from the counter girls.. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that this scenario has played out after I've walked away from a counter. I'm normally not a complainer but I definitely would have written to both the department store the counter was in as well as the brand that those girls were representing to let them know what was going on.

Jessica said...

That's so rude! I hate how some girls who work on a beauty counter think they're sat on a pedestal above everyone else.
The majority of counter girls in Liverpool are so lovely and more than happy to help (mainly Illamasqua; amazing service in there!) but there have been times when I've wanted to query them over a product, colour, or get help with something, but I've felt like I'm annoying them or they can't be bothered to help me out.
The Mac shop in Liverpool is usually quite helpful but there are a few who fold their arms and look down their nose at you, so I now refuse to buy from there.
I have spent over 5 years in Customer Service/Retail and it's not hard to crack a smile and just look approachable, even if you are in a foul mood.
sorry for the ramble, but it grinds my gears hearing about people being this rude for no reason!
xx

Linda said...

God! That's horrible, nasty girls :(

Lu said...

one of the many reasons i avoid a make up counter.

i would complain, not to get the person in trouble but i'm sure the manager would not be happy at the potential damage it could've caused. Especially who happened to hear it - ie a blogger. Forget about the complete and utter bitchiness, from a professional point of view of representing a company i don't think this is in the staff/brand guidelines.

I'm so so so sick of girls hating on each other. If it's not slagging off Tulisa because she's not considered "sexy" then it's condemning someone who's doing what we all do and buying themselves a treat to make themselves feel better.

rant over.

Lu

@illusivelu

Becky beauty galore said...

That is so upsetting as the customer probably knew she was laughing and felt she had to continue with the purcjase.
Beauty counters are intimidating and the mahority i have been to the girls are too busy chatting to care.
It is a shame as it does give other makeup counter girls a bad name.
The obly real thing i can say is that perhaps those girls are so worried about their own flaws without makeup that they feel the need to point out others flaws before their own insecirities are picked up on. Everyone is beautiful and i hope that lady knows she is x

Bex said...

OMG! That's unbelievable!! I'm actually so angry!! Dawn you should definitely forward this post to the company in question. You don't have to say who the sales girl was, but they need to know thats how their staff are behaving in front of customers. As a business owner, I would be horrified and so embarrassed if one of mystaff spoke about a customer like that, in ear shot of the customer or any other customers. It's important they know so they can address the staff on appropriate behaviour rather than let them tarnish their name.

Tru said...

Perhaps as I've got older I am less intimidated by girls (& I use the term loosely in some instances) at beauty counters. Over the years they have evolved from middled-aged mahogany harridans who look they've they've been blasted in the face by a makeup shotgun and napalmed by Elnett, to a younger, more modern aesthetic crowd. Sadly the I'm-so-much-more-gorgeous-than-you-are mentality still clings on. My response to being given snotty attitude? "Very nice but I'd rather not buy it here. From you. I'll get it online." If I had overheard what you did today I'd have, without any shame, gone to the Manager AND got immediately in touch with the Cosmetics Company those women represent. In fact, I'd have probably said something to their faces and LOUDLY! I once chased a group of people up a street after they had stood by & loudly barracked a lady, a larger lady, enjoying her fish & chip dinner in Whitby. I made a big scene about how wonderful it was for me to actually TOUCH perfection & weren't they SO lucky not to have any flaws at all. They ran away as bystanders laughed at THEM.
But that's just me. Definitely contact the company though. That sort of thing cannot be tolerated. What if that lady was your Mum or your sister or your neighbour? Makes me feel all punchy!

DawnieP said...

Girls I took all of your advice and I emailed the company in question. I told them the location of the stand and didn't mention staff names the stand should be enough. I'm hoping that it might result in a bit of training or a forward to the manager of that stand I don't know. I also have linked them to the post here as I think it's only right they see how many girls are put off by beauty stands and the attitudes that go with. Maybe that stand will have a picture of me up with a 'throw things on sight' notice lol hope not. But fingers crossed something will be done in training.
:)

Strawberry Blonde said...

omg this has made me so angry Dawn. I would have SO struggled to bite my tongue & not say something to the girls at the time. I 100% agree that you should tell their manager - they are losing the brand business by their behaviour. If I was their manager I'd want to know!

Nic

Sara said...

What is up with some people on the beauty counters? When I worked in the city centre on weekends I used to frequently go into the counters at Boots, where firstly they didn't have enough staff on, and secondly the staff were often too busy chatting/reading magazines to help. Tbh on more than one occasion I wrote to Boots to let them know how their staff were behaving.

Sara said...

And only on Sunday past My friend was passed over by a lady on the Clinique counter in order to Serve someone maybe 10-15 years older, who I'm assuming, the salesperson thought she'd get a bigger sale out of.

This annoys me SO MUCH.

But I'd also like to add that I've had really excellent help from some people - there's a woman who works on the Chanel counter in Boots (think she's on maternity leave now) and the deputy manager at Urban Decay in Debenhams are absolutely fantastic. Major props to them for being REALLY helpful, not pushy, and taking time to talk to me.

badBarbara said...

I wish I was in this situation, cause I would say something, cal these girls out, that's what some people need to put themselves back in check, so rude I tell ya.
badbarbara.com

milkymoles said...

Tat is terrible, may karma bite them on the arse!

Nick said...

You made some good points debra kroll

Jason Ellis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Ellis said...

Nice post, with the great messages to everyone who use to say anything before thinking what they are telling. Every girl deserve respect.
marriage compatibility test , one more blog which will help girls in solving issues.

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