Code of Conduct
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 66
  1. #1

    Default The (lack of) culture around free samples

    When I went shopping for some skincare products at a major fragrance store here today, I once again found out how miserly they tend to be in super-commercial places like that. We spent well over a hundred bucks, yet they only gave us ONE stupid skin-night-revitalizing bullshit sample. What is it with this odd behavior? It doesn't matter if you spend $15 or $150, the company policy is just to stick to 1 sample.

    So we started a conversation with the 2 guys behind the counter, who were obviously young and brainwashed by their employer, and they mentioned how this was a 'normal procedure'. When I told them I once got 13 free samples with the purchase of one single fragrance in Belgium, they nearly passed out and apparantly had no idea that some stores do tend to care about their customers. Without any doubt, 13 samples is a lot and I can comprehend that it's way too much to give away to every single customer... but one would think that you'd get a reasonable amount if you spend a reasonable sum. The guys told me how they have to pay for samples, and I was like 'sure, but I'm positive that new fragrances will come with free promotional samples.' And what's the big deal of spending some of your corporate money in samples so that you'll bind with your clients and make them feel appreciated?

    In the end, they were probably a little shocked by our keenness and threw in 3 more samples, so that was really fair and we thanked them for that.

    What I think is that if you simple give your customers around 3-4 samples if they spend around $100, they will have the opportunity to try things out at home and are likely to return if they enjoy a fragrance. Just throwing in 1 random sample isn't exactly proper customer relationbuilding. This is a place I'm not likely to do business with any longer, especially since this has occurred many times in the past. FYI, this was a chain-store in The Netherlands.

    How is this in other countries? Do you have penny-pinching stores like this or is it common to receive a decent amount of samples?
    "Perfume is the dream that carries me."

    There is always the sky to look at

  2. #2

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    In Norway they are very generous:

    If you just ask for samples, you always get samples of the shops newest releases ( like Energise, Lacoste Essential, Beckhams, Silver Shadow), but in some shops when you ask for a specific fragrance you may very well end up getting the ones you want, if they have them in stock.

    When I was buying a Shiseido moisturizer, I asked for some samples of specific products from the brand, and I got everyone i was asking for: Toner, wash and they even made a sample of their scrub, since they didn't have any more in stock.
    Another time, I got loads of samples, and a bag of samples from Biotherm Homme, when just buying a concealer.

    Last time I buyed a perfume, was in a quite small shop, and they threw in a sample of Kouros and three Allure samples, because they didn't have any others.

    So Norway is the place

  3. #3

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    I always worry that the SAs will look at me funny if I ask for samples without buying anything.. but every time I've tried it, they didn't have a problem handing me 3-6 samples (whatever new stuff they had lying around, basically). Southwestern US.

    The whole POINT of samples is to give them away so that people will want more. They're purely a promotional tool. I'm a bit perplexed by the behavior you described.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    keeg, sounds like I should move to Norway indeed! They're rarely that generous here. The funny thing is they used to give 2 samples about a year ago, but apparantly are now cutting down.

    Xplo, sounds like most places in the US have a lot better PR. Indeed, they're meant to promote new product, and now it just seems like you should be happy to get one. Guess I'll have to look out for other designer scent stores..
    "Perfume is the dream that carries me."

    There is always the sky to look at

  5. #5
    Joel_Cairo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Cambridge, MA
    Posts
    2,199

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    Here in the states, you can indeed get samples, you just have to go after them. The other afternoon I went to the upscalest mall in Boston and made the rounds to all the different department stores. the trick is to act interested in whatever they are pushing on you... "Oh it's called Energize you say? How lovely.. tell me, do you have any samples of Lutens Chergui?" Keep your eyes peels to see behind the glass counter, often the frags which have promotional samples with them will have those samples stacked behind the boxes, so they are easy to hand out. Then act like you are verrry interested in wearing that particular frag for a day or two and "coming back once i decide." It costed me a subway ticket and about 3 hours of walking around (not to mention listening to innumerable sales pitches), but I ended up with 2 samples of Fresh Cannabis Santal, a Vera Wang, a Boss Selection a couple ml decant of Creed BdP and Fou d' Absinth, Mure et Musc and L'Eau de L'Artisan by L'Artisan. not too shabby.

  6. #6
    Basenotes Plus

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,825

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    If the SA's get to know you, you can get what you want without a purchase in most stores. I am sure there are many people who are too cheap to buy a bottle so they try to get samples from several different stores to serve as their actual fragrance collection. Otherwise it is a small power trip for them to control who gets what. Almost like the guy at the entrance of a club deciding who gets in. Perhaps they take many samples for themselves. It is generally hit or miss for most people.

  7. #7
    Basenotes Institution

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    10,143

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    I am in TX and have not had much luck with samples at the major chain department stores. At Dillards they gave me 2 that I was not much interested in -- Curve Crush for men and Givenchy Organza, at Macy's I got just one -- Antonio Banderas Spirit (Huh?), and in both cases the bill was over or nearing 100 dollars. In Perfumania the manager is friendly, while the employees are just pushy, like in "Have you tried our new Guess? You should!", so it depends on who is ringing me up, I guess.

    On the other hand, a small niche local business has always been meeting and exceeding my expectations. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it was Ms Lisa with Beautycafe. She even urged me to call her in advance and tell her what I would like to test and to arrange a visit so she can prepare a nice goody bag sitting and waiting for me.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    From my own experience here in Los Angeles, the SA are actually quite generous. There are some stores like Sephora, Nordstrom's and Scent Bar that will be more than happy to make a 'decant' for you. My SA at Neiman Marcus gave me a 'ton' of Himalaya samples. At Apothia ( Fred Segal ) I received a generous amount of Serge Lutens samples.... and at Barney's-- you don't even have to ask. It's possible that they know that I"m a buying customer and they want to keep me happy.
    "A great perfume is a work of art, it can lift our days, haunt our nights and create the milestones of our memories. Fragrance is liquid emotion. And that never goes out of fashion. " MICHAEL EDWARDS

  9. #9

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    Well yeah, the (niche) stores that I visit often don't really have a problem with giving me whatever I want, and I don't have to ask for it. It's just that as a non-regular customer at chain stores, they won't really care and it's bothering me. Not that all designer scents attract me, but this country just seems to be really cheap when it comes to giving out samples. They make enough money to change that.
    Last edited by BrothaG; 21st September 2008 at 08:35 AM.
    "Perfume is the dream that carries me."

    There is always the sky to look at

  10. #10

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    Also, it is weird that in some places when you buy a bottle of a certain fragrance you receive a sample... of the same fragrance. :-[
    « L'odeur de rose, faible, grâce au vent léger d'été qui passe, se mêle aux parfums qu'elle a mis.»
    [ Paul Verlaine ]
    Wardrobe

  11. #11
    apekrul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Lier, Belgium
    Posts
    1,216

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    Here in Belgium I never received 13 samples but I think 3 or 4 is about the average. Most of the time I ask for specific ones like Gaultier² or Dior Homme when they were just released and nobody ever complained.
    In one niche store where I sometimes shop, the lady often showers me with 5, 6 or even 7 samples from Villoresi, l'Artisan, Etro, Divine, Creed etc. And even when I don't buy anything she gives me something to try at home

  12. #12

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    When last year I bought a 125ml of Lacoste Essential, they gave me FOUR samples of Lacoste Essential.
    Pretty funny huh?




    ;D

  13. #13

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    Lack of fragrance samples or a lack of dispersing them is one of my biggest complaints when it comes to fragrance shopping. How can you purchase something like cologne/perfume without sampling it beyond the Tester bottle on the counter. I like to "test drive" it for a few days. See how I really feel about it after my initial wearing. Most new fragrances I have purchased have come from me being able to sample prior to my purchase. However, I think that I, like fellow basenoters, are in the minority. Fragrances are known to be impulse purchases. People see a recognizable brand or celeb and they spritz, sniff and go to the register to pay all before the top notes have settled down.
    I was told a few years back by a SA that it was too costly to produce the samples and that most designer/manufacturers were no longer doing them. I thought that is ludicrous. Samples are marketing tools to get you aware of and interested in their product. And I don't think samples should be given based on dollars spent. Heck, if you already spent a small fortune SA/store policy probably feel whats the point. Of course I think when make a purchase they should listen to what other products interested you and provide you with a sample of it. Not give you a sample of something you are purchasing, unless you requested it ie. traveling. That however would be good customer service. Something often talked about but seldom delivered.

  14. #14

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    Here in the US, samples are all over the place. Some stores (Nordstrom, Saks, Sephora, and Von Maur in particular) love showering you with enough samples to fill a Hummer. Even Macy's, the department store of the average Joe, can give you a lot of samples just for asking or with a purchase.

    However, just because a store has scents you want, it might mean nothing to the SAs. At a Neiman Marcus in Northbrook, IL around this time last year, they gave me samples of Acqua di Gio despite all those Creeds and such on the counter. Maybe they were just turned off by my Disneyland T-shirt and Levi's in a store where a lot of people wore the latest from Prada and Seven. Of course, my hatred of Neiman's goes much deeper than that, but all those points could be reserved for a whole thread.
    "It always seems impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela

    Support Xscentrik - The World's First Crowdfunded Fragrance Store: http://igg.me/at/xscentrik/x/11176018
    Currently wearing: L'Humaniste by Frapin

  15. #15

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    If I like the SA, I'll tell her that I'll buy another bottle of something if she throws in a bunch of samples. She always does.


    ben
    Nihil Obstat Ben


    My Wardrobe

  16. #16

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    I live in the Netherlands also, but it seems to be the other way round in my case. I usualy get more samples in the normal "commercial" chain stores , than in the more expensive stores. I recently went to a well know "niche store"(whatever that means lately, "niche" is just another commerial term, IMO) in Amsterdam, were I bought something. No sample, not a single one!
    When I was in London , last year, again, in a very well known niche store, mentioned a few times on this site, I also bought 3(!) bottles. I was helped nicely, but again, not a single sample ! not one!!. .
    I was too happy with my new purchases , so I wasn't complaining at the moment I paid. But the minute I walked out of the store, my face turned red, my lip curled and I wanted to go back to strangle the woman. ( at least, I felt that way..., on the inside) Strange phenomenon, ...samples.


  17. #17

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    Quote Originally Posted by eric
    I live in the Netherlands also, but it seems to be the other way round in my case. I usualy get more samples in the normal "commercial" chain stores , than in the more expensive stores. *I recently went to a well know "niche store"(whatever that means lately, "niche" is just another commerial *term, IMO) *in Amsterdam, were I bought something. No sample, not a single one!
    When I was in London , last year, again, in a very well known niche store, mentioned a few times on this site, I also bought 3(!) bottles. I was helped nicely, but again, not a single sample ! not one!!. *.
    I was too happy with my new purchases , so I wasn't complaining at the moment I paid. But the minute I walked out of the store, my face turned red, my lip curled and I wanted to go back to strangle the woman. ( at least, I felt that way..., on the inside) *Strange phenomenon, ...samples.
    Eric, that's indeed very, very annoying. Was it Skins in Amsterdam? Funny enough when I went there, the SA asked me whether I wanted a sample of one of the scents I tried, and I told her I'd like another one too because I spent a reasonable amount there. It appeared as though she was having a hard time with that as well.. picky people!
    "Perfume is the dream that carries me."

    There is always the sky to look at

  18. #18

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    I've always had pretty good luck with samples but I saw the mention of "needless markup" at northbrook and I had to chime in. Are the sa's there actually trained to be rude and dismissive. My friend has a theory that they treat you like crap so you'll prove yourself by spending more. Argh they are awful. Last time I was downtown I had an sa ask me if Lutens was some kind of cough drop "ha ha" >. I remarked that I guess I have to go to barney's to find anything really interesting and she nearly ate her own face. '
    Sorry just had to rant.
    m

  19. #19

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    Quote Originally Posted by BrothaG
    [quote author=eric link=1150368171/15#15 date=1150393716]I live in the Netherlands also, but it seems to be the other way round in my case. I usualy get more samples in the normal "commercial" chain stores , than in the more expensive stores. I recently went to a well know "niche store"(whatever that means lately, "niche" is just another commerial term, IMO) in Amsterdam, were I bought something. No sample, not a single one!
    When I was in London , last year, again, in a very well known niche store, mentioned a few times on this site, I also bought 3(!) bottles. I was helped nicely, but again, not a single sample ! not one!!. .
    I was too happy with my new purchases , so I wasn't complaining at the moment I paid. But the minute I walked out of the store, my face turned red, my lip curled and I wanted to go back to strangle the woman. ( at least, I felt that way..., on the inside) Strange phenomenon, ...samples.
    Eric, that's indeed very, very annoying. Was it Skins in Amsterdam? Funny enough when I went there, the SA asked me whether I wanted a got some sample of one of the scents I tried, and I told her I'd like another one too because I spent a reasonable amount there. It appeared as though she was having a hard time with that as well.. picky people![/quote]

    Yes, it was. It wasn't exactely packed with customers too, I was the only one, LOL! well , there was another woman also, brabling with the employee, ...maybe about the deeper meanings of life,..I dunno... .. Maybe I picked a bad day. I went to that other(small) shop in Magna Plaza, (Shu Uemura?) were they sell MPG ( I bought my Santal Noble there, for the second time) and Villoresi. Now that's good service you get there. Normal people and samples too!.

  20. #20

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    Quote Originally Posted by marczilla
    I've always had pretty good luck with samples but I saw the mention of "needless markup" at northbrook and I had to chime in. *Are the sa's there actually trained to be rude and dismissive. *My friend has a theory that they treat you like crap so you'll prove yourself by spending more. *Argh they are awful. *Last time I was downtown I had an sa ask me if Lutens was some kind of cough drop "ha ha" >. * I remarked that I guess I have to go to barney's to find anything really interesting and she nearly ate her own face. *'
    Sorry just had to rant.
    m
    Personally, I think that Neiman Marcus SAs (at least at the Chicago area stores) are trained to be rude and offensive unless:
    A) you're in the latest designer fashions at the time of purchase
    B) you are a heavy shopper there and belong in InCircle Rewards
    C) you want to buy the latest stuff they're pushing that day
    D) all of the above


    BTW, the clueless person at the Michigan Avenue store needs to look at NM's own website to find out about Serge Lutens, as neimanmarcus.com carries most of the export line.
    "It always seems impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela

    Support Xscentrik - The World's First Crowdfunded Fragrance Store: http://igg.me/at/xscentrik/x/11176018
    Currently wearing: L'Humaniste by Frapin

  21. #21

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    I live in The Netherlands too and I have no complains about getting samples in shops where they know (and even don't know) me as a regular customer. They just give me samples (usually I don't ask for samples), if they see that I'm interested in something, even when I buy nothing. Last time (it was ca. 3 weeks ago) I went to a Douglas store and they gave me samples (original ones, not those which they prepare in that store for interested customers) of Cedre and Arabie in twice (!) simply because of the fact, I was interested in Serge Lutens' fragrances. I even didn't ask for them.

    Talking about The Skins in Amsterdam: it was the only time, I didn't get samples. I went there once because I was interested in Mona di Orio's and other fragrances. I had the possibility to smell them on strips, I didn't asked for samples and they didn't offered them to me. I don't think, I'll go there again because I didn't like service there. Not because the samples. In my opinion, service there was polite, but at the same time too cold and too commercial for my personal feeling. Fortunately, I can get almost everything they sell from abroad and for a much lower price.

    Once again: I'm a little bit shy and mostly I don't ask for samples, maybe I just have a little bit more luck than some people :-) .

  22. #22
    Banned
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    536

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    The Bay, which is a canadian retail department store has stopped giving out samples as much as they use to. since about 4-5 years they dont really give out anything... I bought a chanel desodorant for like $40 last week and didnt get anything at all, before 2000 when I would even come in to buy 30$ soap bars I would get 3 samples at once. maybe cuz I was a cute little kid back then ?! who knows

  23. #23

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    OMG

    Hi,

    I live in Switzerland...AND BOY AM I HAVING FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I go to this store called Marionnaud (French, i believe), and they actually MAKE samples!
    My first time, I asked for a sample and the lady went "Unfortunately, we don't have that at the moment" then, she goes "but, i could make you one" loool She then takes a regualr sized 1.2ml bottle and starts spraying--with the tester--all the way till the top!
    I go to different branches everyday, trying out different scents...And when i really like a scent that i just finished, what do I do?? I go ask for another one!!

  24. #24

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    Here in Denmark I've had SA's hunting me down in the store to ask me if I wanted free samples. That kind of surprised me in a good way. If you ask, you will get a lot and usually 3-4 with each buy.

  25. #25

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandalwood
    Also, it is weird that in some places when you buy a bottle of a certain fragrance you receive a sample... of the same fragrance. *:-[
    I bought Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir from Neiman Marcus and the SA gave me twelve (twelve!) samples of the same fragrance. *I went back the following day, returned the bottle and kept my samples. *;D

  26. #26
    The_Giraffe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,160

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    Quote Originally Posted by lsp_NY
    [quote author=Sandalwood link=1150368171/0#9 date=1150378473]Also, it is weird that in some places when you buy a bottle of a certain fragrance you receive a sample... of the same fragrance. *:-[
    I bought Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir from Neiman Marcus and the SA gave me twelve (twelve!) samples of the same fragrance. *I went back the following day, returned the bottle and kept my samples. *;D[/quote]

    That is way too cool.

  27. #27

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture of free samples

    Quote Originally Posted by lsp_NY
    [quote author=Sandalwood link=1150368171/0#9 date=1150378473]Also, it is weird that in some places when you buy a bottle of a certain fragrance you receive a sample... of the same fragrance. *:-[
    I bought Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir from Neiman Marcus and the SA gave me twelve (twelve!) samples of the same fragrance. *I went back the following day, returned the bottle and kept my samples. *;D[/quote]

    That is hilarious L ;D

    Vijay"Maisonstinky"
    Vijay"Maisonstinky"

  28. #28

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    SAs seem quite fickle about giving out samples. The thing is I have *never* purchased as fragrance in a department store (...yet. I'm still pretty new to this whole world-o-fragrances, and order almost everything online, at a discount store, or at a perfume specialty shop). I like to go around and collect samples anytime I visit a new mall or if I haven't been to one in a while. Just this week, I was at the Bon-Ton here in State College (Pennsylvania), and some SA was covering the woefully small men's counter for someone else. I asked if there were any samples I could have (after the normal coversations I have with them to be friendly and whatnot), and she said she didn't know if there were any- and the kicker- if there were any, she said she was "not authorized" to give any away. Hmmph.

    A couple months ago, I was back home and went to a nearby mall and made friendly with the cute SA at the Kaufmann's who was working there, and she gave me probably 30 or samples- everything she had. She was new to men's fragances, and I even taught her a thing or two. She said that one of the fragrances I had her spray smelled like pee (I wish for the life of me I remember which one, but it was fairly new and smelled absolutely nothing like pee to me), then I led her over to the Kouros... you should have seen her reaction after mistakenly unloading, oh, 5 or 6 sprays on a sample card and smelling it! I like Kouros, as long as it's applied sparingly... and in this case it wasn't. I did keep the card, though (in a separate pocket from the others), and I can still smell it today!

  29. #29
    apekrul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Lier, Belgium
    Posts
    1,216

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    Quote Originally Posted by BrothaG
    [quote author=eric link=1150368171/15#15 date=1150393716]I live in the Netherlands also, but it seems to be the other way round in my case. I usualy get more samples in the normal "commercial" chain stores , than in the more expensive stores. I recently went to a well know "niche store"(whatever that means lately, "niche" is just another commerial term, IMO) in Amsterdam, were I bought something. No sample, not a single one!
    When I was in London , last year, again, in a very well known niche store, mentioned a few times on this site, I also bought 3(!) bottles. I was helped nicely, but again, not a single sample ! not one!!. .
    I was too happy with my new purchases , so I wasn't complaining at the moment I paid. But the minute I walked out of the store, my face turned red, my lip curled and I wanted to go back to strangle the woman. ( at least, I felt that way..., on the inside) Strange phenomenon, ...samples.
    Eric, that's indeed very, very annoying. Was it Skins in Amsterdam? Funny enough when I went there, the SA asked me whether I wanted a sample of one of the scents I tried, and I told her I'd like another one too because I spent a reasonable amount there. It appeared as though she was having a hard time with that as well.. picky people![/quote]


    Ah, good to know! I'm going to visit Amsterdam soon and I'd already planned a trip to Skins

  30. #30

    Default Re: The (lack of) culture around free samples

    I got great service at both Skins and Shue Eumura. At the latter I actually received about 8 MPG samples without even buying anything. The african girl at Skins was also helpful and knowledgable albeit a bit strict, and I spent 2 hours there, eventually walking away with 2 creeds, 1 l'artisan and loads of diptyque samples. I think it´s a combination of how nice you are, if the person is having a bad day and such factors that mostly determine the sample outcome. + Skins have really nice prices on Creed compared to my country. Here we usually get 2-3 sample vials per standard purchase. And If I don´t I always ask for some, and no one ever refuses.

Similar Threads

  1. On Getting Free Samples from Companies Now
    By Mario Justiniani in forum General Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 778
    Last Post: 24th August 2015, 01:52 PM
  2. how many free samples you should get?
    By DreamerII in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 5th January 2011, 04:45 PM
  3. Internet Sites that offer Samples!
    By scenteur7 in forum Online Shopping
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 28th November 2010, 04:51 PM
  4. Where can I request free "niche" samples?
    By Scentronic in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 12th October 2006, 06:11 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  



Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000