Yesterday I made a quick dash to the local shopping centre (hellish – too many Christmas shoppers getting in my way. Online shopping people! Why wasn’t I online shopping? Why darling, when I need a sparkly mauve lipstick, I need it now).
Whilst I was in Boots, I was accosted by a bizarre lady from the Benefit counter who grabbed me and asked where I got my brows done. I know a sales woman when I see one, so I mumbled something about getting threaded a few weeks ago.
“Come, come…” she said, “sit in my chair. There. Sit.”
So it turns out Benefit have a brow service at £11 where they will sort them out for you (waxing and tweezing). To be honest, I did actually think she sound like she knew what she was talking about, but she was so damn pushy! Even when I said I only had them done recently, she was insisted I need some tidying up (which I do but can’t people take subtle hints anymore?).
I managed to get away although she looked like she was going to stuff a dr. feelgood down my throat.
Here’s the thing – I have a confession….
I did the training for Benefit many moons ago when I was a student at University. They have a very particular style of dealing with customers but let’s just say it doesn’t rhyme with supple.
Here is my rather more relaxed selling style.
Me – “Would you like to buy this?”
Them – “No”
Me – “Fine!”
I lasted a day, 5 hours if you count the time I spent in the toilets, sobbing uncontrollably, 4 if you count the hour I spent saying “I don’t need this, I don’t need this, I’m a student, I’m supposed to be poor.”
So – I have a hierarchy of counters with the worst staff for being pushy or generally not helpful.
Of course each counter will vary from place to place – I am not tarring – but..these are just my observations.
There will be great MAC staff out there – I just haven’t met any of them. If its not queuing for hours whilst a few tranny-rific girls exchange drinking tips (do they go home looking like that?), its the inability to offer advice and suggestions, and a general, “Take it or leave it – we are MAC and we will hit our sales targets whether you buy from me or not” attitude. If you were helpful darling, you would sell a lot more.
I once called the London store, where I spoke to one of the most condescending women, ever.
“I just bought this pigment, its a quarter full”
[laughs hysterically] “No, no, its a finer matte powder which is why its only partly full”
“But its a frost. There’s glittery bits in it.”
[laughs hysterical-er] “No.”
*I do recommend MAC mail order though although they send me cracked make up quite a lot.
Bitch Rating: 4/5
Benefit are one of the pushier brands, thats for sure. They try to sell you things in threes…you have to look out for the ones with crazy eyes. They are crazy. They are told of course, to reach certain targets but it doesn’t bode well for long term customer relations.
The problem with pushing someone into sale, is that in the UK we can’t return stuff. Once you make someone resentful that they have bought something the really didn’t want to buy, they are going to avoid you like the plague the next time they walk past the counter. You know, walking round in a giant U bend whilst ducking and diving to avoid you…
Bitch Rating: 3/5
3. Trish McEvoy
I had the much discussed issue at Trish McEvoy. I must emphasise that there is a brilliant counter and a really bad counter near me. The bad counter has a super scary lady, who likes to tell you that your skin looks “awful” and you are going to turn into a swamp monster if you don’t buy her beta hydroxy pads…
And of course she palms off faulty (but still expensive) make up on you too. And she makes you feel like a petty cow for being annoyed that a £28 foundation that doesn’t even come with a case has a big giant crater in it.
I can’t face going back to that counter, no chance.
Bitch Rating: 4.5/5
I could go on all day but I won’t….but you can certainly let me know which counters annoy you and why?
My top 5 counter bugbears:
1. Staff that ignore you when you are waiting to be served (and don’t even acknowledge you – a simple hello, or I’ll be 10 minutes makes *all* the difference)
2. Staff that chitter-chatter too much, before – during and after a sale. I have worked in retail and I know it can get dull but when you have a customer having a conversation about penises (yes, really) is kind of not really suitable.
3. Staff that try to sell you something you don’t want or pull the hard sell. It can be that you just really don’t want it, or you have explained why you don’t need yet another mascara or red lipstick. Some people panic and decide they must offload as many products on you as possible otherwise their time has been wasted.
On principle, if I have had great service I do always, always remember, and will buy a lipstick or a small item at least if I am happy with the SA (and of course the product itself). But when I say I really do have too many foundations etc. and they still try to convince me, I get quite irritated.
On top of that there’s staff that are always trying to add on extra products (the Trish lady was not happy with my £100+ spend and wanted me to buy the planner organiser too – she looked miffed when I didn’t!). If I want to see more, I shall ask – honest.
4. Staff not taking their time and rushing through. I don’t know if anyone else experiences this but I find that some SA’s are mega lazy. Like when buying a product such as a foundation, a good SA should always test it on you, right?
But the amount of times someone has tested a base on my hand (when we all know very well that is not a good way to colour match!) or have used the power of their eyesight to tell me if a shade is right….nope.
You need to take a bit of what I have on, off my face and test the new base however annoying it is for you. Anyone who won’t do this (on a high end counter) is lazy and just wants a sale done asap.
In terms of staff rushing – I once was interested in four lipsticks (and knowing me, I would actually buy four if I liked all four)…well the SA tried all four on me…AT THE SAME TIME. One each quarter of my lip. No good for getting a true feel for the shade, is it?!
Also, I once went to a Laura Mercier counter and the SA was great then at the end of it she shouted “NEXT!“. I didn’t like that. I didn’t go back.
5. Staff that are dumb. By this I mean a members of staff that do not know what their products are, what ingredients mean, that can’t apply make up etc. etc. etc.
“I’d like a cream with SPF please for my other half”
“You don’t need an SPF in England”
“Yes but – we can still get sun damage.”
“But its not very sunny here, its cloudy”
“Yes but it doesn’t have to be. UV rays come through clouds too…”
“Oh. I didn’t know that.”
The brand begins with the letter C.
Staff training – its there for a reason. I clue myself up before buying most things (as I resent paying full price so I shop around for the best deal first anyway and go to a counter if I can’t get it cheaper online). So I know when someone it talking rubbish to me – I did the research, darling.*
*I seem to be turning into Kim Woodburn.
Theres more irritants, but I better stop before I get labelled…dare I say it…grumpy?!