Have You Ever Called To Complain About Someone at a Store or Makeup Counter (Please, No Names)?

Published in: Just For Fun

GURL, let me tell you something…

Nope, I haven’t. Not yet. Although I have come very close…

So close that I had my phone out and my fingers hovering millimeters over the number pad to call a customer service line one time last year.


It was regarding an incident at a particular store (which shall not be named, just because I don’t feel like ganging up on them in public). I was there looking at NARS and took out my phone to check some notes I’d made earlier in the day.

It was my day off (Saturday), and I was happy to just be there playing with makeup. I thought, “Hey, why don’t I do a quick tweet with a pic of some NARS shadows and give a special shout-out to this great store that I love so much?”

Well, one of the gals working there saw me take the pic with my phone and loudly, and not-so-nicely, ordered me to stop, saying that photography in the store wasn’t allowed.

I understand being told to stop. It was their company policy, but after that, the girl hovered over me until I deleted the pic, saying that she didn’t trust me to do it on my own.

Yes, she actually said that to my face.

I get that some places don’t allow pics, but honestly, I was pretty p*ssed. Not about the policy, but about the approach.

Maybe the girl was having a bad day, but I still felt like she could’ve handled it with more finesse.

I was actually at the store to stock up on some skin care and makeup and planned to drop a good chunk of change (I’d been really looking forward to the visit), but I was so turned off by the way I was treated that I just walked out right then and there. Later at home I purchased the products online from somewhere else.

I haven’t purchased anything from that store since, and now, whenever I walk by it at the mall, I curse them under my breath (“A plague on both your houses!”). And when the store ever comes up in casual conversation, I always re-tell that story…

How about you? Have you ever called to complain about someone at a store or makeup counter (please, no names)?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. TGIF! 🙂


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  1. Agata says:

    That sounds pretty rude. But I often feel like the associates (who very often know less about makeup than me) act like they are superior and better in some way than me. That’s why I often feel intimidated to get color matched/ask for a sample etc although I have never really had anyone say anything rude to me.
    Agata recently posted … Pick Your Weapon- Powder or Liquid Foundation?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Agata,

      I’ve had that happen several times; I think you just have to take it in stride. I listen to the information (never hurts to gather more info), and then find a polite way to exit the conversation.

      It’s worth it to put yourself out there, I think, because you can meet some really great and knowledgable people. And who knows, maybe you’ll make a new friend who loves makeup just as much as you!

  2. Thomasina says:

    I don’t have a particular experience but in general, I avoid going into Sephora. I spend waaaayy to much $ on their website, but I dislike their physical stores. The salespeople always hover around me, they usually are low on stock and the open samples always look dirty. Who wants to spend $35 on a lipstick when the tester looks like a toddler played with it?

  3. Sunny says:

    Oh wow, that was rude… I’ve never really had that happen, but I know that some SAs can be a bit snobbish. It would have been so much nicer if she had walked over and told you to delete the pic nicely instead of making a bit of a scene. An experience like this can ruin the store for you for a LONG time!
    Sunny recently posted … A Dose of Spring in Autumn: Dior Spring Rouge Dior Baume & Dior Contour

  4. Megan says:

    I did once – partly because of where it happened. This was probably 8 years ago(I’m not 100% sure of the time, but I was already reading MABB). Anyway I went to Nordstrom which is supposed to have killer, top notch customer service policies right? Well I go to a particular make up counter, it was probably like 8pm on a weeknight, so the store was really not busy. Anyway, the girl at the counter is on the phone very obviously having a personal conversation. I knew what I needed, but I browsed around a bit. After a little browsing, I stopped and waited at the counter where I knew she could see me. After about 5 minutes I finally interrupted her to say “Excuse me, is someone else working this counter or are you?” To which she rolled her eyes, sighed and then told the person on the phone she had to go. It wasn’t make up specific and it was just textbook bad customer service, so yeah – I sent an email to the store.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Megan,

      Oh, no. That wasn’t nice! Were you able to grab what you needed, at least?

      And thank you for reading MBB all this time! The last 8 years have flown by, yeah?

  5. Rachael Williams says:

    I sent an email after I returned something to an LM counter. The product just didn’t work on me & when I went to return it the sa was so rude to me, insisted I wasn’t using it correctly, wanted me to try it longer. (If concealer doesn’t work on me I know immediately but tried working with it for a week)
    They were pretty nice & said they would address the issue but I’ve never went back after that.

  6. Amanda says:

    That treatment you recieved was totally uncalled for Karen. It’s really sad some people never learn common courtesy and the do unto others as you’d do unto you way of interacting. I’ve complained when service has been subpar and the person is rude, and it’s been more than once. I have very low tolerance for rude, mean people. I haven’t had too many problems at makeup counters although I do think most SAs are snobby and act condescendingly at most higher end stores. It’s funny because I’ll go do sociological experiments sometimes; like I’ll wear nicer clothes, do my hair, and carry a Prada or LV bag and they’ll be super nice. Other times I’ll pull my hairback, wear minimal makeup and leggings and a hoodie with a Coach bag and they’ll totally ignore me until I ask for help. It’s really unbelievable.

  7. Ashley says:

    That’s horrible. I have called a manager on an associate once.

    It was at a Sephora. I called prior to going to the store to make sure they had a certain new product in stock. They did. I get there, go to the display, and the item isn’t out yet (which isn’t uncommon for how new the item was). An associate asked if I needed help, and I said yes, I wanted the new (at the time, it was the TF Chocolate Bar Palette) palette, that it’s not out on display but it’s usually in the back. She decided to scan the whole display anyway, and then said: “Nope, we don’t have it.” I told her I was told they did, and if it’s not out, it’s likely to be in the back/stockroom what have not, could she possibly check? Once again she said: Nope, we don’t have it. If it’s not here on display, it’s not in the back either. I replied with: “But I called and they said…etc.” Her response: “We definitely don’t have it.” She didn’t even radio the stockroom to ask. I said okay politely, then stepped out of the store, called the store, was once again told that they had it, and I decided to be smarter this time and ask that they put it on hold behind the register. Lo and behold, I walk back in, and it’s waiting for me at check-out. What really pissed me off is that the associate was so unwilling to even radio the back and ask if they had it. She just cut me off every time I tried to explain. After buying it, I wanted to shove the palette in her face, but she was helping other customers and I didn’t want to butt in and be rude.

    I got home all riled up and my bf encouraged me to call the store’s manager. I explained the situation, and that I just wanted her to know that they actually had the palette but she was unwilling to do a bit more to help. The manager knew exactly who I was talking about, apologized on her behalf, and gifted me a gc, which was totally unnecessary but so sweet.

  8. Linh says:

    Perfect timing! I just had one and yes I complained! I had been helped by two previous associate earlier in the day at the store(pleasant interactions) when another associate approached me while I was looking at eyebrow makeup to ask if everything was ok. Small chit chat, no harm right? She then changed it up to ask if I needed or was interested in some skincare products. I said no thanks, she continued to press on about them and said they were great. Especially for someone who has oily and acne prone skin like mine. I was shocked. The only makeup I had on were my eyebrows and my skin was as clear as it always is (clear, no zits at all, later confirmed by a gf and my bf as my skin default). I again expressed that I wasn’t interested and my skin was justfinethankyouverymuch. And this lady was just sooo tone deaf. Its a good thing I have good skin (and thick skin) because otherwise..I cant even imagine someone with actual acne taking some lady wearing makeup telling them how they need to handle their skin to get rid of acne. So yea I went home and wrote a complaint and it’s been handled by a manager. But really some people are just not too bright and they love putting their foots in their mouths.

  9. Nope, never. Because I’ve never had any reason too. But I would if I really felt mistreated.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … New in | Lush Brazened Honey Mask, I love Juicy Shampoo & Caca Brun Henna

  10. just_kazari says:

    To this day I refuse to buy anything at the Clinique counters, I always buy online or at Sephora. I used to be somewhat brand-loyal to Clinique, but without fail, every time I went there the saleswomen were snooty, contemptuous, and acted like I was wasting their time even though i was buying, not browsing! Several times they completely ignored me in favor of other women who probably looked like they had more money than me. Notably, I NEVER got this kind of treatment (even on the days I was dressed like a poor college student, haha) from any of the other make-up counters I ever went to, including VERY high-end ones like Estee Lauder. Now I refuse to let any of these awful people make any kind of commission off me. Internet shopping and Sephora can have my money! I didn’t call to complain to corporate about any of these instances, but I should have. I was young at the time, but if that happened to me now, I definitely would.

  11. Elena says:

    I did take the store survey for a Sephora store after a particularly distasteful experience in store. I have trouble with getting decent customer service anyways, but this time I was looking around trying to ask about a set that I saw online (that said it was in inventory at this location) and no one helped me. I mean I was wandering around the store with the whole aimless clueless customer look and no one assisted me despite several associates just kind of standing around. My previous visit a week prior, no one helped me and the cashier was rude and didn’t even want to be nice and make small talk despite the store being practically empty. It was a combo of those two experiences that made me leave a horrible survey and a description of the girl at the register.

    I also made my very first ever return in my history of shopping with Sephora and happened to toss the receipt. They treated me like a thief even though I was exchanging for (and paying the difference) for some Dior products. The sales guy tried to say they didn’t sell the Nars Blush I was returning so I had to pull it up in my order history with the item number to show him yes, they did sell that color (and it was an item I purchased).

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Sephora and they get way too much money from me (I think if there was a level about Rouge, I would hit it lol). But I prefer to shop online. I am a pretty self-sufficient shopper and “know my makeup” for the most part. I just have too many poor in-store experiences. Also, I feel if my makeup isn’t on point or I am dressed too casual at certain stores, I get sub-par service or treated like I can’t afford the high end stuff (or get greeted by so many people in a short amount of time it makes me think that they think I am going to shoplift or something).

    I am an avid online shopper for that reason! Although, I do try really hard to give sales reps benefit of the doubt. I am in retail and try to give my all in terms of service. We are human and all have bad days-I try to not let it show of course! I would let the store know of terrible service but I wouldn’t go so far as to try and get someone fired (unless they did something really really bad).

  12. Jae says:

    I have complained about poor customer service to both their direct or regional supervisors and depending on how bad it was, may send a corporate email.

    I work in a very customer service driven market and so for me, there is a level of service that I expect. I do understand that we all have bad days, no biggie, but the one incident that stands out is when I called ahead of time to reserve some LE products. Over the phone, the associate that helped me was great. Got to the store after picking up my kids from school and was excited to get my stuff. Well, the associate that helped me over the phone was with a customer and the TWO other associates were busy just talking amongst themselves. I politely asked if I could please have assistance to pick up some items I had on hold PLUS get a few more items. I wanted to be in and out since I had my kiddies. The one, completely ignored me and the other smirked, rolled her eyes and said, “She’ll be with you in a moment” pointing at the associate already with a customer. I politely declined any of their service and bid them a good day.

    Got to the car, loaded the kids, called the makeup line’s supervisor and regional director to reported the incident and provide constructive feedback and custmer improvment suggestions. They were very receptive and apologetic, but for me, you only get ONE chance to make a first impression. So I’ve never been back. I’ll drive an extra 20 minutes to patron another store that values my business. Sorry for the lengthy comment but this one of those things that really strikes a chord with me.

    Hope you’ve had much better service at other retailers! For those of us who love our beauty items, we do drop some serious dough! 🙂

  13. Eileen says:

    I almost called to complain, but I was too busy. I wanted a certain red lipstick for Christmas and it was out of stock. They told me they’d have it soon. I went back a few days before Christmas and it was still out of stock. I was SUPER stressed (because, you know, it was a few days before Christmas) and I said something like, I can’t believe you still don’t have it. When I walked away the SA said very sarcastically to a co-worker, “I hate to see a grown woman cry.” I’ve worked in retail, and 2 common sense rules are 1) You have to be polite and professional even if the customer is totally spazzing out, and 2) If you’re going to dis that customer, wait until she’s out of earshot! This is kind of funny now, but I think it’s significant that I still remember it 20 years later.

  14. Kwmechelle says:

    Dude, you really are just kind & sweet, Karen, because there’s really no way that I would’ve let that one go. For starters, I’d politely reprimand the associate for speaking to me in such a loud & condescending way.

    Secondly, I’d kindly ask for her mgr’s contact info, or headquarters if she was the boss, to express my disdain. I’m not one for rude customer service. I typically handle it on the spot. And I try to demonstrate that there is a decent way to speak to someone when you don’t approve of their behavior

    That said, I don’t recall ever encountering this at a makeup counter, though, surprisingly enough, I’ve experienced this with a neurologist’s office staff. Needless to say, that matter was promptly handled & resolved. I don’t consider myself confrontational but there are moments when I won’t back down from it. Shame that experience left a bad taste in your mouth for that store. In my best Sophia voice (from the Golden Girls), “May their nose hairs grow beyond their face!” #Takethat

  15. Erin says:

    Talk about rude! I’m not sure what I would have done!
    Erin recently posted … Holy Grail Skincare: The Magic Pads Review

  16. NeapolitanMimi says:

    The same thing happened to my friend in the red light distinct in Amsterdam. He took a picture of one of the ladies in her window and the bouncer came and all but assaulted him saying pictures weren’t allowed. Good for my friend he had a digital camera (this was several years ago) because if he hadn’t been able to show the bouncer that he really was deleting the picture then I think the bouncer was legally allowed/encouraged to physically take and destroy his camera. I can appreciate the large difference between a lady of the evening and a NARS display.

    She could have been much more courteous to you and not so loud. I used to work at Disney and we are required to be courteous with very interaction with a guest, no matter the circumstances. Why can’t other companies train their people to act courteous, nice, like they would want to be treated? I feel that customer service in this country is in the toilet…but I digress 🙂

    Once in college a coworker of mine was mad at a girl who worked at at a clothing store. She got a bunch of comment cards and had us all fill out something bogus so the girl would get at least a talking to. In retrospect, it would have been better fir my friend to call the manager and complain rather than taking the comment card barrage route.

    Oh and once my roommate and I bought 10 things each at a grocery store and as we were pulling up to the 10 items or fewer line, the cashier yelled at us for having too many items. I did complain to the manager about that on my way out. That was just rude.

  17. Shannon says:

    Wow, Karen – that’s kind of unbelievable!
    I haven’t had any truly offensive experiences at a store or makeup counter, but I’m *super* sensitive to attention from SAs. When I worked in retail, one of the ways they suggested “dealing” with someone you thought might steal something was to basically pester the crap out of them – in hopes that they would leave. So SA interaction that I don’t directly solicit tends to make me paranoid that they think I’m a potential thief (which is ridiculous, I know).

    I did have this one instance of going into a (very small) boutique clothing shop, and having the gal at the register basically spill her guts about her love life to me, while simultaneously gushing that I should get a specific article of clothing that “everyone loves” and was “totally my style” (it wasn’t). I had NO IDEA how to handle it without being super rude, especially since we were the only two people in the store. I think I finally ran away with the excuse that my lunch break was over, promising that I’d be back later to consider the article of clothing – but I couldn’t bring myself to return that evening, and I haven’t been back since!! It’s a lovely little shop and I’d like to browse more often, but I’m too worried about getting trapped in conversation again!

  18. Megan says:

    I had an incident at a popular makeup store last year around Christmas time. I asked a sales associate if she could show me where a certain foundation was. She walked me over and blocked the display. She then proceeded to apply foundation to my face and neck with her BARE HANDS, without asking! I was disgusted. I didn’t know where her hands have been and I rarely even apply foundation to my face with my own hands. She didn’t say a word while she was applying foundation on top of my already existing makeup. I was in shock and couldn’t say anything. This woman then says “I wouldn’t go any lighter than this color” and hands me a box of the foundation to purchase. I didn’t ask her anything about the foundation other than where it was located in the store. I thought it was very rude of her to put her dirty hands on my face without asking and then hand me a bottle as though I would purchase it. I emailed the store and the manager contacted me. Management handled the situation very well, they sent me a $25 gift card and many deluxe samples (one of which became my fav under eye product!). Because it was Christmas time I assume this woman was a seasonal employee. The store management impressed me with how they handled the situation so I still frequent that location.

  19. Dominique says:

    That was really rude. In fact I complained about a Sephora store where everyone was rude, they never smiled or even said hello. Some girls don’t work there anymore and… well things have changed ! I am very glad about that because it was awful and many customers would go elsewhere ( we have around 10 Sephora stores in the area ).

  20. Sadie says:

    Hey Karen. That is a really rude way to behave to a potential big spender! Aside from general snootiness at counters, the only bad experience I’ve really had turned into a very positive one… I had booked a makeover at a department store beauty counter here in London for one evening after work. On the day itself I didn’t really feel like going as I was super tired, but thought it might perk me up to go so I made the detour on my route home anyway. When I got there, nobody was there and I eventually found out from an assistant on another brand’s counter that the girl who was supposed to be making me feel beautiful had gone home early. No reason given, no courtesy call/text/email received – just a no show. So, on my way home I tweeted the brand to let them know how disappointed I was, and they immediately put me in touch with their customer services team who offered to rebook for me at a different store, and to send me “something lovely” by post by way of apology. Two days later the something lovely arrived – and it was around £80 worth of full size make up pieces, a couple that are firm faves of mine too. So sometimes it does pay to complain, as long as you do so politely though of course 🙂

  21. Kaelyn says:

    No I haven’t yet either myself, but I always tell my friends and family to avoid the ULTA close to my house because there is a horrific sales women there that just angers my soul when I see her at ULTA. However I haven’t seen her lately, so maybe enough other people complained and got her canned. She has terrible customer service skills and I could do a better job recommending products to customers that she ever could!

  22. Sara says:

    In my opinion, this is one of those times that you should still give feedback to the store. I mean, it’s one thing for an employee to make sure a customer is aware of a company policy, but there’s no excuse for the rudeness you were subjected to and it affected your willingness to continue to buy from them. If I was a manager at that store, I’d want to hear about experiences like this because they can learn from it, and it affects their bottom line.

  23. Fieran says:

    I was tempted to do so, but didn’t think it would be worth the effort.

    I was in a large department store in the US and there was a new foundation I wanted to be colour matched for. I asked the SA and she took a look at me and say “You…have a very dark skin colour.” I was shocked. I had never been told that before – well by mean people as a child, yes, but not by an SA at least. I didn’t think my skin colour would be a big deal because that brand does have shades for everyone. It felt kind of racist and judgemental. I tried to find the right thing to say, but as she started looking at the colours and such, I realised that I didn’t feel like getting colour matched anymore so I told her I had something to do, pretended to look at my watch as if I had forgotten the time and said I’ll come back later. I never went back though – and never got colour matched for that foundation.

  24. Rachel says:

    What a psychopath. Mostly the salespeople have been nice to me, and I’m lucky to have a cousin that works at Sephora now so I only go when she’s working cause she’s super nice and helpful!

  25. Kim says:

    I haven’t but, since doing store checks is a big part of my job, I’ve had my share of staff asking me to stop what I was doing. Which, before our awesome smartphones, entailed physically writing down every item and price (in a 20 foot planogram). It could take an hour or more and wasn’t very discrete. HAHA!

    I understand why you don’t shop at that store anymore and my only similar story is that on online retailer that I spent a ton of money with for years recently gave me some less than stellar customer service and I haven’t bought anything from them since. I had loaded 2 gift cards on the site ($100 each) and then purchased about $60 worth of product. There was nothing that said the balance wouldn’t be stored and I’m used to sites like iTunes and Amazon that store the card info. Long story longer, I threw the cards away and when I went back to the site several months later, I logged in and my balance was gone. $140 worth. I called and was told (after saying “but you must be able to at least retrieve the number from the card that was used”) that they could get that number but the other was lost forever – so $100 down the drain. The gal was not rude but not particularly helpful or sympathetic. I tried emailing customer service as well and basically got a stock “too bad” reply. I’ve been a customer for many years and routinely spend over $1000 per year at their site and have never even returned a product. I would think they could have at least pretended to care or try. And I notice that they still don’t have the warning about not storing gift card information. Disappointing. 🙁

  26. Was actually contemplating this just yesterday. I guess the thing I will learn is: Never let the Girl with no eyebrows do yours…

  27. Meghan says:

    I haven’t called but I certainly emailed about it.

    I live in a smaller town (20k people) in Northern Canada, and we don’t have a lot of selection up here for makeup selection, so I always tried to go to this local one with a points system that stocked Urban Decay, Stila, Estée Lauder, Clarins, etc. I was obsessed with their points system and always had an ongoing list on my phone of their deals/ points promos so I would re-stock my fave products even if I didn’t need it right away.

    Well one day last July, a new guy was working in the beauty section of this store. I picked up a Clarins toner since I needed to repurchase, and was going to wander around the rest of the store to pick up the rest of the things on my list. He stopped me in one of the aisles and said he’d put the Clarins toner at the till, and at first I was understanding. I said, ‘I know you guys get commission on this stuff, so I’ll be right over to pay’ (I used to work there as a teenager, so I knew the drill). He told me that ‘it wasn’t a matter of commission, it was theft prevention’ so basically told me I had the intent to steal. I was immediately so upset that I gave him my basket of stuff & told him to take it all. I grabbed my mom to leave, but before doing so I stopped and talked to another employee. I was actually brought to tears because I was so embarrassed of his accusation.

    I emailed the store manager, who sent my complaint to the store owner. She said that she ‘couldn’t really know what happened because she wasn’t there’ which was totally unacceptable. You can’t accuse someone of stealing and expect them to go back. I used to spend a good chunk of my pay cheques there & haven’t been back since, they obviously don’t need my money & I’m happy to order online.

  28. Fancie says:

    Wow! That’s really rude and awkward. I would have had to politely ask her to remove herself from my face lol. I’ve never had that bad of a run in but I have had people act snobby as if they didn’t want to help. I just leave the store. Not worth supporting them!
    Fancie recently posted … NYX Matte Finish Setting Spray Review

  29. Tiffany says:

    That was REALLY rude! There’s always a nice way to say things… I’ve never had to complain (Thank God).
    Tiffany recently posted … I’m a Believer… in Black Soap

  30. Dee says:

    Wow thats pretty awful :s sorry to hear. There’s a specific store here ( that shall not be named as well) where the sales folks were downright rude and snooty. I was going to look at what I *thought* was one of their testers when she ran over and asked if I “couldn’t see” that that was not a tester. THey had testers in that row for every product except this one and had placed unopened one there that I just assumed in a hurry was a tester. Umm..yeah. A 2 second conversation ensued and I haven’t gone back since.
    Dee recently posted … BRAND FOCUS: Ben Nye & Camera Ready Cosmetics

  31. Bella says:

    I believe in speaking up about bad customer service. Most of my jobs have been customer service and I’ve always tried to treat each customer as if they’re the first of the day, even if it’s the end of the shift and I want to go home. I haven’t had too many bad experiences with make up brands (apart from being ignored at MAC counters and getting a really grumpy operator when I called their customer service line about one of their collections. Yes I was aware the collection was sold out online, which was why I asked about in store.)

    But I do have the story of my mum’s horrible service at The Body Shop. My mum is in her 60s and has started to take an interest in make up. She wanted a red lipstick and went to The Body Shop since they’d given her an excellent foundation match. The girl at the counter told her she shouldn’t wear red lipstick at her age and pressured her into buy a lot of stuff she didn’t really like. My mum was so upset and embarrassed, so she went along with it and then felt even worse when she got home.

    I tweeted The Body Shop and called their customer service line and they apologized, refunded my mum and she got some bath scrub she liked free, but she hasn’t been happy about going shopping for make up since. I go with her now and she’s had great service from a lot of high end counters she’d been too scared to approach before, but I’m still really hurt someone dented her enjoyment of make up and her own self image so much.

  32. Iris says:

    That is really rude. It’s one thing to have a policy but another to be condescending like that.

    I haven’t had a bad experience in a makeup or beauty store before but there was one time I complained. I won a prize and went to pick it up in a store (not a beauty one). In the midst of preparing and wrapping my prize (where they didn’t even verify my name for), the associate stepped away to help another customer in the middle of helping me. It wasn’t a simple question either; it took several minutes for her to help the other person. She didn’t explain her actions, ask another person to help me, nor apologise after she returned back to wrap my prize. I was going to spend money in the store as I’d just gotten a promotion, but this experience put me off. I ended up contacting the store by email, got an apology, and offers of a gift certificate. I ended up thanking them but not taking the certificate. It was my first time in the store and I ended up not returning, as the whole experience made me anxious.

  33. Lena L says:

    That is certainly rude and I think you were being rather nice about it!

    This is why I shop online more and more often. I have all the brands accessible in a walking distance but I hate dealing with ignorant and rude sales associates. I’ve gotten quite good with imagining things from reading other blogs, too. This is a new era and also a big crisis for many brick and mortar stores. Now with so many websites with great customer service and free shipping options, they can get into a big trouble unless they strive to a better job.
    Lena L recently posted … Zoya Lael

  34. Cleo says:

    Yes, last year I had a pretty horrific racial profiling incident at Ulta. Yes, I’m naming names. An employee that I’d never seen before followed me around the fragrance section abs checked every shelf after I moved away from it. I circled twice to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. I basically live in that Ulta cause it’s a nice walk from my house, and I know all the girls there and they know me, so the irony is that I was there to redeem a coupon they sent me for having spent so much money in there the previous cycle, I wanted something for my mum for Christmas. This employee was on loan for the holidays cause they were super busy, so she didn’t know me, but that’s no excuse. Funny enough, there was a girl with her boyfriend, not five feet away dropping stuff into the girls huge bag.

    When I got home, I called the customer service line and filed a complaint, then I tweeted and blogged it. A few days later, the District Manager called me to apologise, and tell me that the employee had been let go, cause Ulta doesn’t tolerate profiling. Kinda felt bad for her, but keep your prejudices to yourself.

  35. Laura says:

    I never called anyone but I had one really off putting experience. I went into Kiehls looking to buy a specific mascara and when I specifically asked for the product the salesperson showed me. Anyways she hands it to me and in the most snooty tone says to you DO KNOW this is 17 dollars right? I was flabbergasted and thrown off and simply said yes and bought it, but omg that whole situation rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t think I was wearing a shirt that spelled BROKE on it.

  36. Betsy says:

    I had a bad experience about ten years ago at the J.C. Penney jewelry counter. There was a watch that caught my eye and I asked the clerk if I could try it on. To my surprise, she refused. She said that I would have to BUY the watch first, then try it on and return it for a refund if I didn’t like it. I explained to her that my wrist was a little larger than usual and some watches don’t fit well, it was very important I try it on first. She was adamant that customers were not allowed to try on watches, they had to buy them first! I walked away and wrote a letter to the manager of the department. I never received an answer, nor were my two phone calls returned. Happy ending – I went to a Mervyn’s (before they closed), saw the same watch, the clerk GLADLY let me try it on, it fit and I bought it. And I have never purchased any watches or jewelry from J.C.Penney since then.

  37. emeris says:

    I have had an issue with the customer service at Nordstrom before. It is really hit or miss sometimes with this store. When they have designated people for certain counters, like Chanel and Bobbi Brown, its not as much of an issue. However, this particular time I was trying to get a few products from Clarins and could not get anyone to help me at all. I just stood there and the other associates just chatted with each other and made zero effort to come over and help me. I spoke with the cosmetics floor manager before I left regarding it. I haven’t been back to any of the counters there since, except Bobbi Brown.

  38. Amanda says:

    After reading these other comments I want to cry. It makes me ill to know that a woman just like myself can go into an Ulta and be profiled bc her skins a tiny bit darker than mine. I don’t get it. At all.

  39. Melanie says:

    Im sorry you went through that Karen. No one likes bad customer service! But at the same time Im amused that some people are complaining about getting too much attention and others not enough. Im sure that the SAs arent angels, but perhaps the stuff we nit pick over on a particular day matters too. Im sure stores that rake in that much dough certainly CARE, but not enough to despair over one lost customer. Something to think about before throwing a fit and never returning just because of one bad experience. Hate the SA, not the store.

  40. Dimmie says:

    I think complaints definitely have their place, as it leads to further training and development, but I also think compliments need to be voiced as well. We’re all so quick to complain about the negative experiences but rarely do we thank SA’s for great service – I think that’s definitely something they’re superiors need to know about!

    • Donna says:

      yes, it is important to inform the supervisor of the department of both exceptionally superior service and exceptionally rude service (which is what you received Karen). If you don’t make a comment, then no one will know.

      The store may or may not care but you won’t know until you have made your comment. I have made several friends of the SA’s at Saks by being myself and admitting I don’t know something or admitting I don’t like the color they are putting on my face! Guess I just sing it like it is.

  41. Katherine M says:

    I haven’t had any rude sales associates that I can recall or think of on makeup. Sometimes they are a little pushy, but that’s it. I have met rude people in other professions, though. Because of the standards I have been held to in my career and jobs, I am pretty critical of how I get assisted/helped. I am not afraid to go above the person being rude and get their management involved. I believe that if you want change, you have to be willing to do some things yourself and be a little unpopular. I would rather get dagger-eyes from the rude employee than have that employee be rude to anyone else. I am sorry that you had that experience. I have never heard of any policies on taking photos of things in stores.

  42. Anya says:

    Off subject, but I love your tank top (what I can see of it!), looks like a cute pattern!

  43. Tracy says:

    Yes I hate to admit this but I had to complain because last winter I slipped and fell in a Sephora. I literally was on the floor for quite a while before someone came over to see if I was ok. Also they had me fill out an accident report form which I did but in the meantime no one asked me if I was ok BUT did offer to give me a sample makeup bag fill of makeup.

    Totally turned me off because why would you not see if someone was ok BEFORE offering free makeup.

  44. Miki says:

    Thankfully, I’ve only had to complain once about associates. It was at a Lancôme in a department store. I was there to purchase a few items, and the young ladies completely ignored me. I gave them some time as I browsed through the items. But they did not even look at me. They were too busy with their own lives apparently. They weren’t doing anything else either. Just sitting there talking to eachother. I was choked! So I went down to Sephora in the same mall, and bought something entirely different, that looked appealing. I messaged the department store and Lancôme later about the incident, and they were actually very concerned and requested all the information about the time and the girls who were working. I appreciated that. It’s always worth it to complain. If they don’t care, then you don’t go back. If they do care and make it worth your effort, you’ll want to go back again 🙂

  45. Lulle says:

    I’ve never called a customer service, because I don’t really like to deal with call centers, but I have emailed and sometimes tweeted. Surprisingly tweeting seems to cause a reaction more often than sending an email.

    I once complained about a sales person at Nordstrom who treated me like I didn’t belong there and was wasting her time when I was looking for a LE Dior palette. After I tweeted I got a call from the store beauty department manager and they managed to find me that palette from another store. Happy ending.

    More recently I received awful service at a Sephora store. Girl gave me last year’s birthday kit (Benefit) and when I pointed at this year’s kit (Make Up For Ever) that she had a large box of visible behind her counter, she told me those where for the VIB Rouge customers. This is absolutely not true, and I was actually very close to Rouge status. She was also super rude. I was pretty frustrated and wrote an email to the customer service, who graciously did NOTHING. Not only did they not send me the MUFE birthday gift, they did not even apologize for one of their employee being rude to a loyal customer. Making me happy would have been so easy, but they decided my business wasn’t worth it. Well, I used to buy/order from Sephora about once a month, and I would have become a Rouge customer by the middle of the summer, but because of this incident I stopped shopping there altogether.
    Lulle recently posted … New Diorskin Star Foundation by Dior – is it worth it?

  46. Gilbert Cervantes says:

    We all have experienced rude customer service in some way or form. I get it. I’ve worked behind the “velvet rope” of a makeup/fragrance counter as a beauty consult, a business manager, and other titles. Believe me I’ve had my moments where I’ve wanted to punch people in the throat who I’ve tried to make a purchase from. Karen yes the person should have displayed more professionalism in regards to that matter. We’re all human. One rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve hear tons of stories of shity service from beauty consults. I get it. For over a decade I worked my ass off trying to correct those kinds of experiences. Believe me it wasn’t easy but please do all the other amazing beauty consults a favor and encourage your fan base to still visit these counters and stores. Why?!? Because the cosmetic industry in department stores have drop so much where people are now having their hours cut, health benefits lost due to lack of business, and positions cut. People’s livelihoods are on stack. Online business is taking over. So the basis of my rant is if you get crappy service from one person don’t punish the whole store. There are other awesome beauty consults that are more then happy to give great customer service to you and help you purchase the all the beauty items you will fall in love with. They will show you loyalty when you give them a chance. We are all trying to make ends meet in this economy. There is no need to boycott a store just give your business to someone that will appreciate you within the same store. I’m just trying to give a new take on it. Support all the amazing beauty consults and other department store associates out there that are passionate about their jobs.

    Thanks from a former beauty consult that still has the backs of another beauty consults still trying to make a living.

  47. Sylirael says:

    Funnily ehough, I just had this kind of experience today!

    After ballet, I went into Smith and Caughey’s (Our local equivalent for Nordstrom, I guess?), looking to buy a birthday gift for my Grandmother. I had decided on a lipstick, brought a nice, clear picture of my Nana with me, and was all set to scour the HE makeup counters for the perfect shade.

    Well. I had an interesting collection of the follwing at different counters:

    – Being totally ignored because the counter had no staff or the ones that were there were too busy with themselves.

    – Having an SA acutally leap at me in what appeared to be fright when I reached for a tester – like I was going to steal it or something? I later observed that those were the testers that that brand’s SAs used on their own mouths (ew), so that’s probably why she was so defensive, but…really? Like, she actually gave a little incoherent cry as she leapt, LOL!

    – being approached and told I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of their merchandising when I had my ipad out to look for the picture of my grandma *pats Karen on the shoulder in sympathy*.

    -Being first to a counter, but being passed over for someone who (presumably) looked like they had more money to spend – they were even behind me at the time.

    Finally, somewhat exhausted, I wound up at the Guerlain counter. Now, Guerlain is probably the most expensive brand of lipstick you can buy in the store (Rouge Gs are $83 each here, people), so I don’t really spend a lot of time at that counter. However, the SA who was there was immediately (but not aggressively) attentive, super friendly, kind, and nice to talk to. This is even half an hour before closing on a Saturday evening! We had fun picking out a shade of the Rouge Automatique (Chamade) for my Nana, and I got one for myself too – it even turned out Guerlain has had a price drop recently! We had such a nice chat, and she gave me a bag with lots of samples, and gift-wrapped my Grandmother’s present beautifully. I left in a rosy glow, with a new friend and a new lipstick. Is there a better way to end the day? 😀

    The rest of this is to say that although I won’t ring the manager(s) about the other more iffy service, I will most definitely be contacting Smith and Caughey’s to make sure they know how lovely Emily at the Guerlain counter is! 🙂
    Sylirael recently posted … A Quest in Fluoro Pink Armour Through the Heart of a Volcano! Polishes by Formula X and Nailstation

  48. Quirky says:

    I’m actually dealing with one of these incidents right now. I’m not going to put the store on blast, but even asking their social media department to intervene and get some assistance has gotten zero assistance.

    Long story short, I made a purchase, tried to get an appointment at a brand, and was told that I wasn’t a good enough customer to get said appointment- it’s only for the very best customers and an exclusive benefit.

    This appointment was associated with a large event. I’ve been attending said event for years, and the outside MUAs that serve the region even remember me from being there.

    I tried to get assistance from management about the way I was treated and they were unwilling to even respond. Event ruined.

  49. Grace says:

    One time at a certain department store that will remain unnamed, I was trying on YSL lipsticks at their counter, and the SA called over a security guard because she thought that because I’m a teenager, I was going to steal one of the testers because I couldn’t afford to buy an actual lipstick. True story.

  50. Efrain says:

    I know I’m not the best customer because many times I only go window shopping, however when I really like a product I’m going to save in order to buy it.

    There are three main stores in my city to buy makeup and skincare (well apart from the dermatological stores and drugstores). One of them is Sephora and I don’t like it completely, first it’s expensive and the SAs are always behind you. The other two stores have some good and some awful counters, but one have more friendly SAs.

    Until know my biggest issue with them has been that they look at me as a customer and doesn’t put attention on me when I’m asking (even when most of the times I know more than them) or even they don’t want to try something on me just for being a guy (yes MAC boutique SAs I’m talking to you, I use blushes and brow products).

  51. Nicole says:

    The department stores in Melbourne are pretty appalling, not around the makeup counters, but certainly in the women’s department. More often than not they’re huddled in a corner wrapped up in a deep conversation not paying attention to customers. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never get great customer service; online shopping, FTW!

    At least you didn’t pull a Reese Witherspoon and retort, “don’t you know who I am?” I’d totally fangirl if I ever crossed paths with you in a department store. Could happen when I’m visiting SF with my folks during the first weekend of November – hint, hint!

    In the end it really is the store’s loss and shame on her for bullying you in the middle of the store.
    Nicole recently posted … Straight to the Principal’s office: Kerastase’s Discipline

  52. Stephanie says:

    Wow..these stories make me mad. It’s sad that we have all had such bad customer service experiences when trying to buy makeup. It shouldn’t matter how we look when we’re shopping. You never know what someone’s story is and obviously we all talk!

    I know you said no names, but I have to mention the name or the story won’t make sense. I had just reached VIB with Sephora for the first time and was really excited about the VIB makeover. I had a red lipstain that I bought online that was way too red for me. That was my bad, I never should have tried to pick out red online. So I decided to take it to the store and exchange it and see if they had time to do a VIB makeover. It was a Monday afternoon and I knew there was a good chance they either wouldn’t be staffed to do a makeover or they’d be booked. So I figured if that was the case I’d just schedule it for another time.

    I was greeted when I walked in and I explained that I was hoping to get a VIB makeover and I needed help with an exchange. The employee that greeted me said she would check and see if they could fit me in, nothing about the exchange. She asked me if I could wait a few minutes, I said sure. So I browsed nearby so she could find me easily when she found out if anyone was free. 5 minutes went by, then 10 minutes. She was now talking with another employee, I approached and asked if she had been able to find out about a makeover. She was very nonchalant and the other employee acted all put out, like I was wasting their time. I finally gave up and went to the register and waited in line. When I got up to the front I asked about a makeover and was told they couldn’t fit me in. The SA that helped me was very nice, I scheduled a makeover and she found someone to help me with the exchange. I picked out a different lipstain and got back in line to complete the transaction. The SA that did the exchange could not have been more rude. She acted like I was bringing in a disgusting, almost empty item and was very put out that I would return it. Believe me, I don’t like returning makeup. I know they can’t use it if it’s been opened, I felt bad. But I couldn’t wear it.

    I used a credit card to pay the difference, when I swiped it the machine asked for a PIN #. It’s a credit card, there is no PIN. I accidentally hit the wrong button for “credit”. The SA was clearly PISSSED that I cancelled the transaction. I tried to make a joke out of it, but she wasn’t having it. She rolled her eyes, re-rang everything, sighed and basically threw the bag at me when we were done.

    I left feeling so bad, like they didn’t value me as a customer and I was just wasting their time. When I got home I did the survey on the bottom of the receipt and I said I did not feel valued as a VIB, etc. Then I emailed the store directly and explained how badly the experience made me feel and that I wasn’t comfortable coming back for the VIB makeover. The store manager emailed me later that day and apologized and asked me to please come in for the makeover, she said she would really appreciate it if I gave her store a second chance. I did and I have to say it was a great experience. The store manager came over to thank me for coming in and for giving her feedback. She told me she had every single store employee read my email because she wanted them to feel how I felt. She also gave me a bag of goodies.

  53. Carmen says:

    I can totally relate to a lot of women’s stories on here. I have been ignored plenty of times when I go into high end cosmetics lines with my hair up and sweats on. I also have been to Sephora a few times when literally every single worker follows me around and asks If I need any help with anything, it makes me feel like they think I’m a potential theif. My worst experience was when I went to Mac and they just released their highlighting pens and I picked up a shade and asked the SA about it and she replied that that shade would look “ugly” on me. I was so disgusted I just placed the pen down and walked out. I will never shop at that location again.

  54. Tink says:

    I had a bunch of old empties (like, from the 90’s and onward) that I had been saving for years for Back 2 MAC. You know how it is, you put things in a safe place, forget that place, forget to take them with you to shop, etc. Anyhoo, I finally got about 30 of my empties together to exchange. A lot of it was in old packaging with the screw top – not the newer flip top. The young lady who assisted me looked curiously at the shadows, then asked another young lady on the floor “Is this fake MAC?” Right in front of me, out loud, on a crowded Saturday morning. The other lady says “MAC has always had flip top shadow lids, not screw top.” I explained to her that their previous packaging was indeed screw top. She didn’t believe me, and neither of them bothered to go ask an artist about old packaging. They both assumed I was lying and didn’t let me recycle product. I didn’t have time to argue because I was running late for an appointment. After the appointment, I called the counter – LIVID – and explained what happened. The kind gentleman on the phone said he was well aware of the old packaging, and to come back to the counter and he would help me. The lady who refused to help me when I was there earlier was still on her shift, and looked a little embarrassed by the fact that I ended up being right.

    It’s not my fault she didn’t know the packaging history of her employer’s products, and she could have stepped off the floor to ask someone about it instead if embarrassing ME, a long-time customer.

  55. Carol says:

    I’ve never done it, but I was really upset once and I feel I should have said ir right on the SA’s face. I was at a MAC counter where I bought lots of stuff, including a Pro Longwear Concealer. I wasn’t particularly happy that day, I’ve had a huge fight with my bf. Then the SA looked at me and said: “have you ever thought about buying our Fast Reponse Eye Cream? You have deep eye circles, that makes you look tired, it would help”. Seriously, no one enjoys having their “flaws” pointed like this! yes, I had deep eye circles, but no eye cream would solve my problem, which relates to the shape of my eyes and cheekbones..I was really embarrassed 🙁

  56. Angie says:

    No pictures of cosmetics at a store, when the products are available online? That makes NO sense! Sorry, but if something is on the counter & it’s been released online, it’s fair game. I’ve gotten sneak peaks of item that were about to launch….That i understand.

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