Through the years I've bought all my cologne at the Macys counters. Since reading basenotes, I've bought a bunch of samples and decants online. I'm about ready to start hitting up some of the perfume boutiques in San Francisco, to see if I can find some rarer colognes, to get some expert help, and to just plain talk shop live with someone who knows their stuff. Ultimately, if they help me, I'll buy there.
But now the questions. A number of people on BN have written about going into these shops, and asking them to decant some cologne from their tester bottles. Is this pretty much standard at these shops? I assume you don't have to bring your own little sample-size bottles, they have some there already, and just spritz from the tester bottle into the little test tube thing?
What about buying decants? Is it standard that if I don't want to spend (say) $200 on a full bottle of something, I can ask for (say) 5ml and pay for that?
Is all of this fairly common and standard in the biz? Or is all of the above basically just hit or miss depending on store policy?