Your worst beauty counter experience!

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 24 - 2011

We’ve all had them, those tooth-grindingly painful encounters at our local beauty counters.  From the over enthusiastic SAs who turn us orange to the snooty brigade who look like they’d rather cop off with Barry Manilow than grace us with their attention.

photo credit: w578325

Shall I tell you mine?  (Oh, go on then… if you insist!)

I was in a big department store a couple of years ago, I won’t name the counter but they were a new installment.  I approached with a small amount of trepidation and started swatching at the pretties.  Within about a nano-second, I’d been swooped upon and ‘dusted’ with a powder brush.

I recoiled as the bubbly SA introduced the brand and steeled myself for the hard sell but she seemed to calm down once she realised she had my attention and that I *really* did want to hear about some of the products.

I pointed out a couple of things that I was interested in and asked if it would be ok for me to try them.  She squealed and showed me over to the makeup station, signalling for me to sit down.  I realised that we’d clearly had a communication meltdown when she started playing big-time makeovers on my face.  Ontop of my already applied foundation.  Ugh.

In fairness to her, I’m one of those who suffers in silence.  I sit there and suck it up with a semi-smile glued to my face while my eyes search for the nearest exit.  She moved on to the eyebrows, painting them (literally) black with the help of a wet brush and a liberal dose of powder.  I watch in horror as she (all the time telling me about her marriage breakdown and subsequent move to London) transforms me into a cartoon version of my self.

“There!” she proclaims.  I’m left waiting for the “Ta-da!”

I slink away clutching two products, in fairness… one of which is now a HG and find the nearest toilet in an attempt fix the car crash on my face.

I have to return 10 minutes later because the SA had given me the wrong shade for one of my products.  At which point she apologises and confides that she’s still learning the ropes.  Why would that be?  Well, she normally works in the brand’s office but that they were short-staffed on counter that day.

Laugh?  Cry?  I think I did a bit of both.


I wanna hear about your worst beauty counter experience.  Spill!

70 Responses to “Your worst beauty counter experience!”

  1. Joyce says:

    hahahah…I would have loved to see a picture of how the makeover turned out.

    Sometimes, SAs don’t know how to do makeup on people who have different features and structures than their own. =/

  2. claire says:

    My worst encounter was at a Guerlain counter. My friend and I were looking for my bridal make up. I mentioned that an eyeshadow quad was similar to a Clarins one my friend had. Suddenly a rather short, orange man started ranting that Clarins had copied Guerlain with the quad – we kind of nodded and carried on browsing.

    The orange was clearly listening to our conversation and kept interrupting us and getting more and more irate over nothing!

    We were talking about blushers when the man launched himself at me and started slapping blusher on me! I told him to stop and he was flapping around shouting at us! Obviously we vacated the counter immediately, complete with stripes of blusher.

    I contacted Guerlain who were mortified – they sent me a HUGE package of products as an apology!

  3. Jamilla says:

    The funniest experience I had was at the Urban Decay counter at House of Fraser at the Oracle in Reading. I was looking at some 24/7 eyeliners and the SA asked “are these actually for yourself?” I think she thought I was too old to be shopping at their counter!

    • Angelabdc says:

      Very similar to yourself I was looking at Nail Varnish, (Nail Varnish mark you!) at House Of Fraser in Glasgow actually shopping for a friend’s birthday when the sales assistant told me that I might find something more age appropriate at another counter.

      • Alice says:

        YES! Very similar experience at House of Fraser on Oxford St in London. I was looking for a new eyeliner, tested a few at Urban Decay, then went over to Guerlain. I guess the Guerlain saleswoman had seen me come over from the other counter, because after I swatched on an eyeliner, she said snootily: “You know, we can TELL who comes here to buy makeup, and who comes just to test.”

        I was wearing a red duffel coat and was 22 at the time, and have been told I look young for my age, so possibly she thought I was a high-schooler? Not that that excuses anything. Jesus. I actually kept my cool decently well at the time, told her she’d been rude and got her name to report. Trouble was, at Customer Service, it turned out all I could do was mail a form to headquarters (no email), which I was then too lazy to do.

        In retrospect, I should’ve just insisted on speaking to her supervisor then and there.

  4. Anitacska says:

    Hahaha, that’s funny! I haven’t had too many bad experiences, I never go for a “makeover” as I always wear full face make up and I don’t want them to mess with it. I did once try some things out at a New CID Cosmetics counter and the lady was half crazy there, talking non-stop loudly, but didn’t do too much damage. She did criticise the make up I was wearing which I thought was not really on.

    I hate snobby, stuck up, uninterested sales assistants more though. I was just at the NARS counter in Selfridges on Monday and was swatching the fall collection, there were two SAs standing 1 m away from me chatting, but I actually had to ask them for their attention and even then the one who bothered to look at me was very uninterested. I asked for a wipe as my hand was covered in swatches, she handed me one without speaking to me, and then once I decided what I wanted I had to ask her again for her attention. I don’t think she smiled once. B*tch. I still bought what I wanted, but actually I should’ve walked away and bought it elsewhere.

    • kelly says:

      I often think that when buying anything where the SA is rude, but more often just buy and accept bad service. Having worked in sales I really should learn, walk away and go elsewhere!

  5. Janny says:

    I seriously hate it when I’m ignored or brushed off, as if I’m not good enough to wear the brand or whatever. And it happens. Blargh.

  6. Tali says:

    Aside from multiple SpaceNK experiences where sales assistants make fun of me or roll their eyes or give comments on how i need make-up lessons..
    the worst was Harrods Benefit counter before I had a date 5 years ago. It was a double bronzer half highlight half bronzer and she literally made me ORANGE and sparkly. Never again!

  7. kelly says:

    I am scared of counters! I have really, honestly visited 2 in my life. But then it is only now I am 31 that I have started to buy higher end brands.
    My worst experience was at No.7. Being my 30th and having lots of birthday spends I wanted to treat myself so decided to get some Protect and Perfect, the products were 3 for 2 so I decided to get some foundation. The counter girl was quite insistent I needed a yellow based moisturiser. I disagreed, so as I was make-up free she asked if I would like an application. Sat down, she did my base, I checked it out and in the store lights it looked fine, made the mistake of buying! Got outside and I looked like a banana! Hideous! The foundation remains unused in my make-up bag, used once, just in case I was wrong lol
    My only other experience was at Bobbi Brown, where a SA was lovely and spent nearly half an hour helping me find my perfect pink lippie.
    Now I have started blogging, I am going to be visiting a few more, I deserve it!

  8. Ashleigh says:

    Mine must of been when I went to purchase my wedding makeup, and try out the look I wanted for my wedding day. The makeover itself was fine, but the lady didn’t seem to be able to believe that I was old enough to get married. She must have asked me about five times how old I was, and asked my mother twice. At one point I thought that she was going to accuse my mother of pimping me out as some kind of child bride, she really wouldn’t let it drop.

    I wouldn’t have minded, but I was twenty five at the time!

  9. Sorry if this sounds cruel but I love reading these. And I’m sure you’re not the only one who had to go through something like this.
    I dread the beauty section in Debenhams! I just can’t seem to walk around there without being attacked. I was at an UD counter once and was about to purchase their Primer Potion (note: free-lance make-up artist here for a living) and I swear the SA harped on for about half an hour. Even though I tried to give subtle hints that this is a repurchase for my kit, nothing went through to her. It’s really off-putting when they won’t stop talking.

    • Anitacska says:

      Ha! Just the other day I went into House of Fraser in Oxford Street and was “attacked” by 5 separate people while trying to walk around – all within 2 minutes or so! Hideous!

  10. Rhamnousia says:

    As you know, I’m quite thick skinned and you can say a lot to me without it really bothering me.

    A few months ago, I was walking around Selfridges with my brother trying to find something for my mum’s birthday and this is where the horrendous experience took place.

    I won’t mention the brand in question but I’ll never ever buy anything from them again. I was looking at lipsticks, pressed powder and foundations as those are the kind of things that my mum wears. My mum’s skintone is a lot lighter compared to mine and therefore her lipstick and foundation shades are different. I was swatching away as I wanted to pick up a lipstick for me and I heard the SA’s whispering something like “she will look like Papa Lazarou wearing that”. I kept my mouth shut and walked over to the powders and then she said “now she’s getting the powder to match”. She only came over when I was looking at eyeliner, when she told me that “someone with fat folds over their eyes shouldn’t use liquid liner as nobody would see it”. What made me laugh was the fact that she clearly had no idea how to apply makeup herself as her unblended eyeshadow had no base and her lipliner colour was three shades too bright for her lipstick. I asked to speak to her manager and told her everything that she had said. The manager (to her credit) was really nice and offered me a massive discount on the goods but I declined and walked to another concession where I managed to get exactly what I wanted for my mum.

    As I said, those things don’t really bother me as I have bigger problems but I watched her for a bit and she did exactly the same to a 15 year old girl who left the concession in tears.

    I don’t understand the attitude that some makeup SA’s have, you’re just selling makeup, you’re not busy finding the cure for cancer.

    • Tass says:

      Oh my god that’s awful. What a bitch!! I’m probably one of those who would have cried, especially if I was on my own.

    • Lillian says:

      Oh my God that’s terrible! What business is it of hers even if you were buying the stuff for yourelf? Gragh I’m appalled on your behalf.

    • kelly says:

      Thats horrible, how they get away with the attitude astounds me. In my sales job I always told to be nice, being nice makes people want to buy from you, being a bitch will get you nowhere!

  11. Robyn says:

    Hahahaha! Oh, thas is funny, but also, bless her! I’ve not really had a horror story other than general rage at some Benefit staff.

  12. sharnek says:

    My most disappointing experience was in Selfridges recently. Afternoon to myself and a whole load of budget to blow, I hit the beauty floor. Hardly any of the SA at the counters I visited were keen on selling. I asked a couple about their latest collections and LE, but it was like getting blood from a stone, they were reluctant to assist. Asked a few about their foundations for my skin type, again they came across as unwilling and the opposite from the stereotypical pushy SA that I’ve encountered in the past and way more disappointing. I ended up in MAC, where I was able to swatch to my hearts content and spent my money there. I was open to try new brands and don’t get the chance to visit Selfridges often so I do feel it my time was a little wasted.

  13. Plum says:

    A woman on a counter which I won’t name, but they seem to be known for their overly made up SAs, once told me I should never wear a bold lip colour or cat-eye liner because I have a ‘pudgy face with no definition’ and that it would be ‘wasted on you’. She then attempted to sell me a full coverage foundation in the wrong shade. I didn’t know whether to burst into tears or throw something at her!

  14. I have numerous tales on my blog about fraught shopping experiences. In one store I was asked if i needed assistance with the makeup, I politely said no thanks you. Then I was hounded by the other SA’s asking the same question. The store was practically empty so they all knew, and then the SAs just started talking to me and putting products on me (without offering a way to get them off). I felt really harrassed, and worst still when I contacted the management they ignored me.

    Flip to another well known brand store where the SAs ignored me- instead choosing to take turns sitting int he makeup chair and applying makeup to each other!

    When I shop sometimes I want to be left alone, sometimes I want help. What I really want is for the SA to LISTEN to me and take my wishes on board.

  15. Oh and I refuse to shop in the stores again.

  16. Sarah says:

    I was once out shopping with my slightly grubby just came from work then boyfriend, and we went to visit my local Chanel counter. I’m a frequent customer and the lady usually there knows my name and is always super lovely and helpful. But this particular time, there was someone new… I just wanted to have a play and a swatch with some of their glosses and blushes. I starting playing and swatching away and this particular SA came over, didn’t say a work, and just stood behind the counter peeking over it, watching me. I looked up expecting her to offer assistance, but she didn’t, just briefly looked away, although didn’t budge an inch. I felt so uncomfortable and un-trusted, I was only there a minute or two with her peering and watching before I left. Thankfully, haven’t seen her there since. It was horrible!

  17. Christy says:

    I went to Estee Lauder here in Sydney and the male SA wanted to do a make-over on me and as I had a few minutes to spare, I agreed. Well. I looked like a transvestite who’d had a *very* bad night. He kept wacking on layer after layer of really dark foundation. Horrible! Then put on a dark grey eye-shadow that fell all over my cheeks that he just wiped away with a tissue and it smeared everywhere (but he didn’t notice) and I looked like I had two black eyes! Ugh. I couldn’t get away quick enough!!!

  18. Lillian says:

    Aww your experience is sort of sweet as well as appalling, bless her!
    I’ve never had a truly terrible experience but one always sticks with me. I’m very very shy so whenever a SA asks if I need help I say ‘no thankyou’ even if I actually could do with some help (stupid I know, but i’m too nervous to ask). Usually they just say ‘ok well if you need anything just ask’ and smile and then go off. But thi one time the SA just wouldn’t leave me alone! She said ‘just ask if you need help’ and I smiled and went back to my swatching and basically every time I picked something up she would pop up behind me going ‘oh thats a great product!’ or ‘let me show you how to use it!’. Seriously this was with just about every colour I tried to swatch. It made me feel really really nervous and scared and in the end I had to just walk away even though I actually did want to buy some stuff! Most people don’t like pushy SAs but I genuinely find it frightening.

  19. Lauren says:

    LMAO, this had me cracking up, too funny. I’ve not had too many experiences with beauty counters, but I do remember when me and my mother were going to the ___ counter because she wanted a concealer that she’d seen me using. When the guy came to ask if she wanted help, she quickly said “NOPE, NO, MY DAUGHTER IS HELPING ME.” which I found rather embarrassing for some reason. But it seemed to really offend him, and he didn’t leave, so when I picked a colour for my mum he said “Oh yes, that will get rid of the purple.” =X

  20. Vijaya says:

    Wow! That sounds awwwwful.

  21. Lilmiznutcase says:

    I went for a makeover in the now defunct B Never Too Busy to be Beautiful, sister shop of Lush. The Lush & B staff actually tend to be very helpful, although I know some people find them a bit overbearing. The guy who did my make up is actually really nice, but for some reason he decided bright blue eyeshadow from lashline to brow was a good look for me (I had told him I was going to a house party that night). Either makeup is not his forte or these stores train their staff to make people look like drag queens.
    On a positive note, I had a mini makeover in Body Shop when I was about 12 and it was great. They didn’t try to plaster me in stuff I was too old for, but they did treat me with respect which, given my age, was surprising.

  22. Leah says:

    MAC Tunbridge Wells. Totally ignored by the girls behind the counter. Me and my mate were both in the mood to spend (we’d been on the vodka over lunch so had lost all financial control) but we virtually had to set our hair on fire to be noticed as they were chatting about their social lives. When they did finally deign to flick their eyelashes in our direction, they didn’t even get what we wanted right. My friend came out an eyeshadow light, but at least she hadn’t been charged for it. Useless. There was no doubt they just couldn’t be bothered.

    Did it put me off? Yes. I haven’t been back since.

  23. Selena says:

    LOL Just recently I went to a counter to see a new shadow that had been released. The MA said she would just put it on over the top of my already eyeshadowed eyes. Not only did she put on the 2 shadows from the palette, she also added another shadow along with it. Mixing it with the other shadow completely took away the original color, so what was the point? Not only that my cheeks were COVERED in eyeshadow because she loaded up the brush so much, but the shadow line was so sharp, not blended at all. Her clean up job was not great, I went straight to the car and with tissue and powder tried to clean up the streaks across my face. UGG

  24. Wendy says:

    My experience was at Sephora… nothing much to it. I was shopping for MUFE HD and was playing about with the colors to figure out what I was. I had an idea of what shade I was but wasn’t 100% sure. All that needs to be said is that after a SA approached, I was assaulted by her fingers applying the foundation to my face. BLEHHHHH. I contacted Sephora and they sent me a gift card… seriously disgusting.

  25. Katherine says:

    I had an incident with a girl on a Too Faced counter. To be fair it was possibly my own fault as I had previously been to one of their counters and had come away with an absolutely gorgeous blue-green eye shadow duo that I absolutely love and am now working through my second of… but I digress…

    The girl was saying they were having a “slow day” and that as she was bored could she please give me a makeover as I’d only been nosing as a possibility of picking something up for going out that evening. As I wasn’t pressed for time and had had a good experience previously I didn’t really give it a thought before sitting down, thinking I may be shown a product I wouldn’t have considered before such as the above mentioned eye shadow duo.

    Oh no, nothing of the like.

    Now, what you need to understand is I am very much of the pale-pinky english-rosey skin type, complete with mass of freckles and red hair.

    Given that the girl wanted it to be a “suprise” I just thought I’d let her get on with it… but with every product she pulled out my heart sank a little further. Still, it’s only makeup, right? It can’t be THAT bad surely?

    After nearly half an hour of her smiling and patting stuff onto my face – sweeps of thick dark eyeliner, two types of bronzer, glitter, thick eyeshadow etc etc I was finally allowed to look at myself. The girl, bless her, had turned me into an orange-toned drag-queen look alike. I smiled in a kind of frozen manner and scuttled out, convinced that I was being stared at by everyone I went past, straight into my local branch of boots and my favourite make-up counter – Benefit.

    Whilst not being on first name terms, but knowing the girl on the counter fairly well, I confided in her that I had just been the vitcim of a callous make-up crime and could she please help sort me out. It was not until we eventually finished wiping off all the stuff that the poor girl announced

    “Oh hello! I didn’t recognise you – I thought you were just some kind of odd stranger!”

  26. Oh gosh, that sounds awful xD
    I haven’t had all that many bad counter experiences – my worst was probably some very posh counter at Liberty’s, where I was very aggressively offered a makeover, which I found *slightly* offensive as I’d just -had- a paid makeover, and was glowing with happy at how it had turned out xD

  27. Eden-Avalon says:

    The worst that’s happened to me thus far involves poor color matching (not her fault – the girl was paler than the moon and i’m tanner than a honey teddy graham) and being ignored. BUT now that i’ve become a bit of a counter whore I’m starting to dread my first truly bad experience. Why? Because I tend to get mad. And when I get mad I get blatantly rude. I can see it now: My boyfriend dragging me away from the counter as I kindly inform the rude SA that one fake boob is larger than the other. D< HOW DARE THE IMAGINARY SA INSULT ME THAT WAY? ~rages~

    • I have to say, as mad as you say you get, you seem sweet enough to give the benefit of the doubt. I worked cosmetics for years & now freelance professionally. I am lighter than any major line goes, yet I can match anyone within 3 swatches (though usually just 2). It’s actually kind of mathematical ( I have a tutorial on my site on how to do it!) There’s no excuse for a poor color match tr than poor training or poor shade range, in which case, the SA needs to own up to it! Mini-rant, sorry.

  28. Jolielaide says:

    I’ve had some pretty horrible experiences like most people, being ignored/looked at like you didn’t have a penny to rub together etc but my worst ever experience in a beauty department was actually as a member of staff.

    Years ago I was employed by Benefit as an account manager (I apologise to all of you ever subjected to Benefit’s guerilla sales tactics – I swear we don’t mean to piss you off!). I had a meeting with the beauty hall manager to discuss me joining their store to run their Benefit counter, from the moment I entered her office I knew it wasn’t going to go well as she kept referring to Benefit as ‘odd and quirky’ and that the brand didn’t sit well in ‘her’ store, but by far the most uncomfortable part of out meeting consisted of saying to me ‘I don’t mean to be rude, but how do you think you are going to fit in here? All the girls on my counters are tall thin and beautiful and you’re the complete opposite.’ she then proceeded to give me a list of my flaws and tell me how I could ‘improve myself’.

  29. Grace London says:

    Years ago. Smashbox Selfridges. Vegas Showgirl. We’re talking BIG arched brows, shimmery eyeshadow winging out to my temples, glittery eyeliner on the cheeks and pale, shimmery lipgloss glooped on until my lips made a sucking sound when I opened and closed them. Steve (Mr L) was browsing in the book department – when I went to get him he quite literally JUMPED when he saw me.

    I only wanted to try the cream eyeliner.

  30. sara says:

    I was in Selfridges beauty hall. I was in London for three days working with a client on a training video aimed at raising awareness of Equal Opportunities in the workplace ….worthy yes, Hollywood no. i made the mistake of telling the “make up artist” working on my face why i was in London. She clearly thought I could help her “break into show business” and proceeded to re-enact the contents of her show reel including a piece to (an imaginary) camera that included talking the non-existant audience through what she was doing to my face “now I’m covering up all these unsightly crow’s feet” “Now I’m working on hiding these awful dark circles” Hideous, truly hideous AND i ended up buying stuff I didn’t want or like

  31. Meeta says:

    One trip to Harvey Nichols sticks in my mind a bit when I was browsing in the Beyond Beauty area and an SA promoting an eye cream/illuminator asked if I would like to try it out. I hesitantly agreed but immediately regretted letting this person pat layers of eye cream over my eye makeup (I had even asked that shouldn’t it be applied over bare skin?). I looked in the mirror and it looked absolutely horrid – the cream looked flakey/cakey over my eye makeup and ridiculously pale/ashy on my skin colouring. I was amazed when the SA insisted that it looked much better then my other, naturally concealed eye area and was surprised I wasn’t going to be purchasing one. The SA had quite a hostile attitude when I said I didn’t like it.

  32. Dee says:

    My local Benefit counter was having a launch party for the b.right skincare and I was sent a letter to invite me. Only the date on the stamp on the envelope was the day AFTER the party… Shame as I love Benefit makeup!

    Clinique I have found to be the snootiest, and I have also been shooed away from another high-end counter (I forget the name) because I was clearly “one ov dem youfs” about to steal something! If only they realised there are many teenage beauty bloggers!

    Dee x

    • kelly says:

      Terrible, although I used to get the same when I was younger. Assuming the same and yet I had enough pocket money saved to buy stuff! Used to end up with good old Rimmel lol

      • Katherine says:

        I still get treated like that occasionally and I’m 28. That said I also still get ID’d if I try to by booze snas make-up.

  33. Trimperley says:

    I don’t get to London very often and when I do get there I think the sales assistants can tell I’m a yokel up from the country. I got caught out in the fancy make up hall of a well known London department store where I wondered why they’d removed the labels from the bottom of the products so you couldn’t tell the names of the colours. When I got back to my hotel on the other side of London I found that I’d been given a sludgy yellow gloss and a brown rather than the nice pink glosses I’d asked for. I didn’t have time to take them back and was really angry with myself for not asking to see the colours when I paid. It put me off the whole store.

    • kelly says:

      Thats awful, why would they do that?! Never seen that in my any department stores in Bluewater. I would have contact their head office, these things don’t come cheap and to get the wrong things is disgusting service!

  34. Glitterishallsorts says:

    I was at a counter in Selfridges London with a friend and asked the SA whether the products I was looking at were dermatologically tested (I had super sensitive skin at the time so this was a deal breaker for me). She looked at me as if I was speaking gibberish. I then tried a different angle and asked if they were hypoallergenic. Again, blank exasperated looks greeted me. As my friend and I turned to leave they started talking about us and laughing at us. I was so gobsmacked by this blatantly poor customer service that the hostility I normally display when i feel someone is being disrespectful went straight out the window and i was just speechless. Suffice to say I have never shopped from that particular brand again.

    Since then i decided that if a SA was ever rude to me I should just contact their management as soon as I can.

  35. Sandra says:

    At Bobbi Brown counter in “El Corte Inglés” in Barcelona. I had heard so many good reports about BB corrector and concealer that I wanted to try it. When I told the “make up artist” about my wish to try it she replied that she’d only try it on me the day I were going to buy it. I couldn’t believe how rude she was, I wonder if she’d given the same reply to a perfectly suited up middle age woman (I was going very casual…). Anyway, I insisted, saying that I had gone to “El Corte Ingles” only to give the corrector and concealer a try, and obviously, I wasn’t to spend so much money in a cosmetic without having tried it first. I convinced her, and she softened her tone, almost apologetic… Needless to say that, while applying it on me, we were both a bit tense, haha.
    I didn’t buy it (I said i needed to be sure it stayed for hours), but if i ever do, i won’t buy it in that counter…

  36. Jules says:

    When I was looking for makeup for my wedding, I stopped in at a MAC counter as I’d had an eye on their lovely shadows and had heard such good things about their SAs. Well. . .don’t know where the good ones were that day, but it wasn’t there! The service was apathetic at best, and the counter girl seemed absolutely ticked off at having to cease texting and actually (gasp!) work while at work, but the kicker was when the young lady used their eye makeup remover to take off a shadow she’d applied and I’d declined — and POW, my eye swelled shut immediately! Having never had this happen, I was rather concerned; the girl just said ‘Oh, yeah; that happens sometimes’ AND WALKED AWAY.

    Fortunately, the spouse was there with me at the time so I was able to get home without incident. Guess where I didn’t shop for my wedding makeup, and where I’ve never considered shopping since?

  37. Charmaine says:

    I was at my local pharmacy browsing through the hair care section and immediately one SA came up to me and started lamenting at how terribly dry my hair looks like and I should try this particular brand of hair conditioner. Geesh, I don’t need people coming up to me stating the obvious when I’m having a bad hair day. After all the fake smiles and nodding at her, a second SA came and did the same thing! Grr…

    Anyway, I used to work at Sephora (holiday job), and I totally hated the sales manager who insisted on us tailing each and every potential customer. A customer even scolded my colleague (who is a friend of mine) to stop following her like a dog. I’m not sure which is worse, being a customer at our store or being us. >.>

    • Donna J says:

      That explains a lot. I haven’t had many bad experiences, but I did think it was annoying the first time I went to Sephora and I had 5 different SAs come over to me asking if I needed help and each time I said no, I just wanted to browse.

      My worst experience was being ignored at MAC while the two SAs were busy gossiping when I actually did want to buy something and stood there looking their way expectantly, but nothing, so I just walked.

  38. Charlotte says:

    I love how so many of these are from selfridges! Mine was too actually, at the chanel counter. Long story short, I was blatantly ignored and it was on one of those days when I wanted to spend some serious cash. Oh well, their loss.

    • Katherine says:

      Do you think it’s possible that when they apply for staff they have aticky-box saying “can you on a fairly regular basis be rude to our customers and put them off shopping here in future?” then only accept the ones that tick “yes” or “maybe, it’d depend on my mood”?

  39. Chelsea says:

    I’ve not had a BAD experience as such, but I’ve had a few times when I’ve not enjoyed myself. My skin tone is quite a strange one and I like to try high-end foundations on before buying, but I ended up standing around for ages, when the MA came over she seemed so inconvenienced that I was asking her to explain the new skin bases to me, and then I had to practically beg for her to put it on me and she only tried it on my hand (which is a complete other colour to my face). I decided to just be annoying and ask her to give me a sample to try when I got home. When I asked her to put one of the pigments on me too (I was already wearing a similar colour eyeshadow so it wasn’t like she had to take anything off) she just seemed like I was wasting her time. I’d just been at the MAC pro store and they’d been so helpful, but I prefer Illamasqua stuff and just felt so let down that I wasn’t given the same level of treatment.

  40. Evelyn says:

    My first experience at a Chanel counter could have put me off the makeup. After piling my face with layers of creams and lotions (the fragrance was killing me) SA painted on foundation and kept adding more, threw on concealer, bronzer, blush, powder. Then she did my eyes using a shadow quad – she keeps adding and adding, stopping to look, adding some more, studying her handiwork, adding some more (meanwhile I keep wondering how she could possibly need to add so much). I feel her put liquid liner on me and pencil liner, add, review work, add some more and finally finish off with mascara. After all that she’s so excited for me to see her work and hands me the mirror and…I was a shade of brown that I do not turn even when I tan with a layer of makeup a mile thick…and NO EYELINER! The shadow was there but both the pencil liner and the liquid liner had disappeared into oblivion. I bought a few things I liked and slunk off to wash my face in the bathroom because I was too embarrassed to walk around with that scary mask on. I’m half terrified to let someone work on my face again.

  41. LindseyD says:

    It seems like most of my horrible experiences at makeup counters involves Chanel SAs (as they do seem to be some of the worst around).

    This spring I had stopped into a Saks to get a pair of new jeans and decided to look at a few Chanel products that I see people rave about online. It took quite some time to get the attention of an SA (there were four SAs working there: one was with a customer and the other three were gossiping–literally, I forget the details, but they were talking about someone’s relationship) and when I did she acted completely uninterested in everything I said. I mentioned a foundation and she eventually said she’d put it on me after I asked for a sample (acting like she was doing me some huge, unimaginable favor).

    I sat down and she basically randomly chose a color for me (I had heard enough about the foundation to know the one she chose would be way too dark for an NC15). She then proceeded to GLOB it on my face and wipe it on, HARD, with a sponge. After a few moments of this, I started to notice a strange tingling sensation, which started to become a burning sensation.

    When I told her about the burning, she looked at me like I was crazy. Then she started going on about how it’s a water-based product and if I’m having a reaction to it I must have such sensitive skin that I shouldn’t even bother with makeup, even though I obviously needed it. I had to ASK for makeup remover, at which point she gave me a disgusted look and plopped a bunch onto a single tissue and walked away.

  42. […] – wants you to dish the dirt on your worst beauty counter experiences, a trauma shared is a trauma – erm, […]

  43. […] – wants you to dish the dirt on your worst beauty counter experiences, a trauma shared is a trauma – erm, […]

  44. Giselle says:

    I’ve never had a bad experience at a makeup counter, at least not yet. I’m very shy and I just feel like I’m bothering them if I ask for help. But if a SA ever pisses me off, I already know I’m gonna throw some loose powder on the bitch and run.

  45. Caitlyn says:

    We in Germany don’t have Selfridges or Sephora, but we have a chain called “Douglas”. They sell all kinds of make-up and also high-end make-up like Chanel or Dior or suchlike.
    They are also the only ones that carry OPI nail polishes (16 Euros per bottle. That’s $21 for one bottle of OPI nail polish. Twenty-one bucks. That’s why I keep shopping in the US and pay all the shipping and custom fees, because even then it’s way cheaper than buying those nail polishes here).

    Anywho, I was standing at those shelves, looking at all those nail polishes and trying to decide which ones to put on my wishlist, when I was stared at by two SA’s. I wore only jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers that day, so nothing fancy, and they kept staring at me like I was going to steal something, following every move with their eyes.
    At one time a third SA came near me and swatched a color for another customer on some tape on her arm, almost pushing me out of the way – while there was plenty of room!

    I then found 3 nailpolishes from “Anny” and decided to buy them (they were around $20), walked up to the counter and they completely ignored me. One was busy sorting some paperbags or pens or something, the other one took like half an hour to put one bottle of perfume plus some samples into a paperbag for another customer (typical 40 year old woman in a costume and wearing sunglasses).

    When she couldn’t ignore me any longer, she took my money, gave me the receipt, didn’t smile, did NOT offer me a paper bag, turned around and walked away.

    I then put my nailpolishes into my own bag and walked out. Haven’t been in there ever since ^^

    Sometimes I think it would be fun to do a coverage, filming the same woman only in different dresses/shirts/jeans/hair-do’s , going into Douglas, looking at stuff, swatching stuff, maybe asking for stuff and see how the SAs react.
    And in the end do a recommendation how you should dress/act if you want to be well-treated in there.

  46. asmahahahahhahahahahah says:

    selfridge manchester is disgrace.thats all

  47. Clara M says:

    Debenhams Birmingham. I’m not local but was enjoying a day in the city and felt like treating myself to the two YSL lipsticks on my list. Not commission to be sniffed at, or so I thought.

    I stood there with my male friend for over ten minutes swatching the colours and thinking I’d be preyed on soon enough. No one came and I eventually rummaged in the drawers MYSELF and took out the lipsticks I wanted and wandered over to another counter hoping they’d pick up the slack.

    Stood around chatting, the reps from Chanel and several other brands iced me out completely. One looked over and looked away. I was SO angry that uniformed staff members ON THE JOB didn’t see my business as valuable. I’d finally chosen three lipsticks, amounting to just under £70 but clearly this didn’t matter. I’m seventeen so maybe they would like to see me as a time waster but when I have £67 worth of goods in my hands, I could have easily been the largest individual purchase of their day.

    Instead, I walked away without lipsticks and with my money away from lazy, arrogant individuals. It might seem like a mountain out of a molehill but when I’m dropping the money that I earn, I expect to be SERVED. I can’t operate your till myself…well, I could but then I’d have to take your salary too.

    To any beauty salespeople reading, we do recognise the good you do, too. The girls at my local MAC counters in Chester and Manchester as well as the Liverpool girls are just lovely; giving me generous samples, heads up on new collections/stock of limited products and suggest products I should try by MANY brands, not just MAC. Others in beauty halls are a disgrace.

  48. Isabella says:

    The last time I went to mac has really put me off and I feel intimidated from going now. I went to buy my friend a lipstick she wanted, When I got there they werent busy at all, despite this the girls completely ignored me if only to give me a dirty look. I literally had to tap one of them on the shoulder to get their attention and she treated me like I was a piece of **** she had just stood in. When she realised I was only getting one lipstick she looked me up and down and said “is that it?” and smirked at me. I put the lipstick down and told her since she had been so rude she could piss off.

    However it has to be said that the first time I went to a MAC counter was with my mother, and we got very good customer service from a lovely girl who gave my mum a beautiful makeover. Due to this we bought lots of products (these SAs should learn that being nice is the best sales technique! ha) I also had lovely experience at the YSL counter in leeds debenhams where the SA was very helpful and complimentary.

  49. Sophia says:

    Mac in Sheffield, Meadowhall. There are some staff there that are friendly but one in particular, is so unnecessarily bitchy. I was there once and she asked in a manner if I needed help that seemed as though I was being an inconvenience to a bunch of stuck up women with a make-up brush. I went in yesterday looking for a concealer and foundation, I usually try and match myself up because I cannot stand the way they think they know everything and basically say that what you choose for yourself is wrong. Anyway, I went and picked up a foundation and a concealer, the concealer was admittedly too dark for under my eyes but matched the foundation well. I understand that you need a lighter concealer but I would be blending them together and sometimes the concealer can be slightly too light and look weird. Anyway, she spoke to me like I had learning difficulties. Stating that by choosing that, its way too dark, would look like ive “slapped it onto my face” and used patronizing terms such as “hun”. The service at the check out was just terrible. I love MAC products but I hate going there from stupid stuck up bitches. Same as hairdressers. Argh.

  50. […] Your worst beauty counter experience! – A Makeup & Beauty … – My worst encounter was at a Guerlain counter. My friend and I were looking for my bridal make up. I mentioned that an eyeshadow quad was similar to a Clarins one my …… […]

  51. Hannah says:

    I had been eyeing the Urban Decay Naked Palette 2 for ages and I finally bought it. I was running a bit low on time when I bought it and so the lovely lady told me to come back another time and she would show me a few different looks I could try. A week later, I called the store and made an appointment between breaks in university. I went along and at first the SA was really nice, she showed me how to do a really pretty, but quite heavy silver/black smoky eye. I had told her at the start that I had to go back to uni after this and it was fine. Just as we were getting to the end, I told her that I would need a wipe at the end as I can’t really go back to my classes with makeup more suited for a night out. She literally threw down the brush she was using and put some remover on a tissue and walker away. It was HORRIBLE because I felt I’d done something wrong and felt really bad and apologised afterwards. She completely ignored my apologies and basically continued looking at me like I was dirt until I left. I’ve not shopped there since.

  52. Pauline says:

    Awwww… that’s the reason why online shopping is sometimes better.

  53. […] Your worst beauty counter experience! – A Makeup & … – One girl’s rants, reviews and ramblings on eclectic cosmetic discoveries and high-street hunting…. […]

  54. […] Your worst beauty counter experience! – A Makeup & Beauty … – My worst encounter was at a Guerlain counter. My friend and I were looking for my bridal make up. I mentioned that an eyeshadow quad was similar to a Clarins one my …… […]

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