**WARNING. LENGTHY POST!**
**edit: took 'Bourjois' out of the title. this is not their fault**
How many of you read blogs and buy your makeup online because the thought of having to deal with the pressure of buying a product in-store makes your skin prickle? Is it because you don't like the stress of having to make a decision in front of someone? Is it because you've experienced humiliation at the hands of an orange faced, talentless sales assistant?
3 incidents in Boots (2 very recently) make me feel that I never want to go back there and I am not a person who fits into the above categories. I adore going to into makeup stores, browsing; lingering over the new products at a luxurious counter, speaking to the usually very well-made up, talented & passionate sales staff (many of whom will want to make you feel your best & are very knowledgeable). If I am just browsing, I will tell them - I never pretend to be interested in something just to try it. By all accounts, I am a good customer. Have a read of this post by Caroline over at Beauty Mouth if you want to learn how to become a good customer.
And you know what? Caroline makes a very good point. Sales staff do a job. They are human and they are offended by rudeness, the same as customers are. But there are some bad, bad bad assistants out there, the same way as there are bad, bad, bad customers. What we need is some kind of super-makeup store, where the good customers are served by the good sales staff - a pipe dream perhaps?
Anyway, enough of this waffle. Let's get down to the nitty gritty of why I am writing this. See my disclaimer - I don't rant about things unless I am very very unhappy. Usually reserved for products, but in this case, my experiences with Boots, Aberdeen & it's staff has really left a sour taste in my mouth. So here goes...
Case Study 1
Where? Boots, Bon Accord, Aberdeen
Who? Floor Manager
When? Late 2009/Early 2010
What was I wearing? A suit
I am browsing the 'Bliss' stand. I don't know if other stores have Bliss staffed or not, by mine isn't. Neither do they ever have testers out to try the products. (Point 1 - who would spend £30 on a cellulite product if you can't even see a tester first? oh yeah. me...) So imagine my surprise when I spot a product open. I can't even remember what it was, some sort of miracle cream. I squeezed a little onto the back of my hand, it smells rank so I walk away, off to the till to pay for the rest of my purchases.
The till queue is massive. I am stuck in the middle - a queue ahead of me and a tail back of people behind. Someone taps me on the shoulder and says "excuse me can I have a word?". I turn around to see a man with a ripped box in his hand and the aforementioned product and proceeds to demand, loudly in front of at least 15 people, why I had seen fit to rip open a sealed product? He then informed me that the product was now wasted and I had cost the company money. Completely aghast (and shamefully embarrassed) I managed to stutter that it was already open and nothing to do with me, when he turned on his heel and walked off. By the time I had been served, anger swept over me, I tracked him down and asked to speak to a manager, only to be told he was the manager. So, I said "well I'd like to complain to the manager about how I was just spoken to by a manager". I told him that I didn't appreciate being spoken to like that and what made him think that it was me? He responded that a member of staff had seen me using the tube and how was he supposed to know it wasn't me? At that point, I walked off. Thinking about how embarrassing that was, still makes me cringe, a year on.
Case Study 2
Where? Boots, Bon Accord, Aberdeen
Who? Orange Faced Dior Sales Staff
When? 2 weeks ago.
What was I wearing? Work clothes, with a North Face jacket (it was snowing in Aberdeen!)
This incident has angered me (and hurt my feelings more than I would have thought it could), not because I was particularly offended by what she said, but because she saw fit to make a judgement on me and take the decision that I clearly wasn't good enough for Dior. What makes it worse is the fact that Dior should know about my complaint and they have my contact details and yet they have further seen fit to snub me and have chosen not to contact me.
Anyway, I was looking for this....
Instead of writing the whole incident again, I have copied the email I sent, via a contact, to Dior.
Popped into Boots at lunch to go buy the Dior Addict Lip Glow balm, dandered up to the counter and I kid you not, the woman barked at me, asking if I was looking for anything in particular. I said I was just looking and would give her a shout if I needed anything, but she continued to talk to me so I said I was looking for the colour glow lipbalm (couldn't remember the exact name!) but before I could continue she informed me that 'Dior doesn't sell lipbalms'. Again, before I could say anything, she waved to the back of the shop where the non-staffed counters are (you know... the Natural Collection etc) and said, "perhaps you'd be better looking around the brands back there, maybe somewhere like Too Faced might be more suitable for you"
Completely taken aback, I just sort of said, oh well it was actually a specific Dior product I was looking for, not just any old lipbalm, to which she just shrugged and said again that Dior didn't 'do' lipbalms! So I wandered off but turned back once I'd regained my usual composure, spotted the Lip Glow immediately on the stand and asked her for it (not pointing out that it was 1 of 2 products out on display with lipbalm in the name!)
It probably took her a good 10 minutes to then locate the product in the stock drawers and not once did she apologise for what she'd said, or that she was wrong and they did infact stock lipbalms or even acknowledge it!
I just really was shocked that a brand would take it upon themselves to judge a person and make suggestions as to where they should or should not spend their money! I'm a 30 year old professional woman who does not expect to be spoken to in such a manner and I was completely insulted. Such a minor point, but it really left me with a bitter taste! I'm not normally one to take such cheek, but she really really shocked me with her attitude. Really disappointed and a little bit hurt actually - so daft, but she made me feel like a 12 year old with sticky fingers!
Ummm, ok Dior doesn't 'do' lipbalms? For clarity, Dior, if you are reading this, please refer to your products Lip Glow Colour Awakening Lipbalm and see below for the Creme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lipbalm.
It's a shame this happened as that day I was also looking to purchase an Amber Diamond shimmer brick (and instead went for the LE YSL one) and a pot of the Capture Totale HD powder. Oh well, I probably would be better off buying something from the Natural Collection. At least I don't pay for rude, snidey service there.
Case Study 3
Where? Boots, Bon Accord, Aberdeen
Who? Boots floor staff
When? 1 week ago.
What was I wearing? Jeans, Top & Chanel handbag. (maybe I should've had this the day I went to Dior...)
This is short and sweet and I kinda feel bad as it will reflect negatively on Bourjois, but it was Boots' fault. Bourjois - you might want to take this up with them?
I wanted to buy this mascara.
There was no tester and as I hadn't tried it elsewhere, I wasn't parting with the £10 odd quid that it cost without at least seeing what the brush was like. I took an unopened one over to a sales girl and explained there was no tester, did she have one she could open to replace the missing tester? Her reply? No. Now, if it was "No, I'm sorry I don't have the authority to do that/it's not company policy/I wouldn't know how to unwrap it" I might have had a bit more sympathy, but she just said "no" and looked at me blankly. I handed her the mascara and just said, ok in that case I'll leave it and headed to superdrug. I still haven't tried the mascara but I know I wont be going back to Boots to do it! If this had just been a one off, it would never have bothered me, but coming so soon after the Dior incident, it was the last straw. At Boots apparently you can't get good service from highstreet brands or high end brands!
Is it me? I have included details of what I was wearing - I know that shouldn't make a difference, but I could understand a little if each time I was wearing rags and smelled a bit funny. So what's up then? I've no idea. And don't get me wrong, I'm not not normally one to complain and in isolation, these incidents would be annoying at best, embarrassing at worst, but as a collective, make for pretty poor reading.
What I do know is I will be sending a link to this post to Boots & never shopping there for makeup again. I will still need it for toiletries, but I have John Lewis beauty hall & Superdrug in the same place which can more than cater for my needs. Speaking of John Lewis (and further evidence of my good customer skills), I spent an hour at Bobbi Brown a few weeks ago and asked the SA for help choosing some brushes. I let her divulge all her hints, tips and tricks for looking after & cleaning brushes and tell me all about the differences uses you can get out of different brushes, you never know - I might have learned something and she felt good that she'd really helped someone. I also then bought £130 worth of said brushes. Ahh - so that's good customer service!! She made me feel good, attended to and got me to spend more money than I'd intended. Dior - are you listening??