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  1. #1

    Unhappy Refusing Samples

    Hey folks,

    I had an experience today which I suppose raised some questions about fragrance shopping etiquette for me. Basically, I had gone back to a Neiman Marcus that I'd visited once before (they seem to have some of the best selections for higher-end fragrances around). There was one salesperson who seemed to be very big on Creed that I'd met the first time; while we did look at some other stuff at a different counter, he basically seemed to be suggesting that Creed was the way to go. I wasn't especially enthused about it during that first visit, and he'd sent me home with six or so samples, all from Creed. He was friendly enough though, and gave me his card and all.

    I came back again today and was looking at some different stuff (L'Artisan, Diptyque, things like that), and on the way out he asked if I wanted some more samples of Creed. I basically mentioned that I wasn't able to tell enough difference personally to justify the price difference, and he replied with something along the lines of "I'm just offering you samples, I'm not trying to get you to buy anything." I almost wonder if I offended him a little by refusing them, but I guess I didn't want to waste his time and samples if I wasn't interested in the line of fragrances. Either way, he asked if I had tried Santos and I had told him yeah, and that I hadn't gotten a chance to try the samples he'd already given me yet and that I would come back if I wanted to look further into that stff.

    So I guess what I'm wondering is, would this be considered rude? Is it some unwritten rule that you should always accept a sample if it's offered to you? Thanks for any insight you can offer or suggestions as to why I shouldn't feel badly, haha.
    -- DJ Roze

  2. #2

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    I've worked in customer service all of my life and, IMHO, what he said to you was completely inappropriate. Of course, I don't know what tone of voice he used, but he certainly could have said something more gracious, such as "It's absolutely no trouble and, besides, we are encouraged by all of our fragrance houses to give out as many samples as we can."
    I wouldn't give any allowances to an SA at an estabishment like NM when it comes to courtesy and appropriate interaction. I wouldn't even give him a break if he worked at Nordstrom.
    It is NOT the job of the customer to satisfy the objectives of the SA. It is quite the opposite. If this had happened to me at any store outside of Target, I would have had a word with his supervisor before I left the store.

    Your intincts were right on. You did nothing wrong.

  3. #3

    Talking Re: Refusing Samples

    Please accept all Creed samples and send them to me, I will gladly pay 1st class postage. Please ask them for extras, you can say your bringing them home for the Dawg.

    In all seriousness, I would give the SA a break and just say "no thanks" although you didnt say anything wrong either imo.

  4. #4
    Scentronic's Avatar
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    Exclamation Re: Refusing Samples

    No, I think you acted accordingly.

    I'll tell you what's bad ettiquitte - The Hanai Mori representative that wouldn't stop pushing the frag to me even I had told her I wasn't interested. I'm standing there, having already declined a sample, and she tried to spray it on me without my permission! Can you believe that ? I jumped back and said that I'd really rather not have it on my skin, as I'd like to use my wrists for other tests that I might actually buy. I told her again, that I was looking for a more unique fragrance and she immediately goes: "Oh, well Hanai Mori is it!", and then starts explaining all the different ingredients on the back of the bottle. I wanted to slap her and give her a lesson on professional courtesy. I can't believe she actually tried to spray me after I told her I wasn't at all interested!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad_Dawg
    Please accept all Creed samples and send them to me, I will gladly pay 1st class postage. Please ask them for extras, you can say your bringing them home for the Dawg.

    In all seriousness, I would give the SA a break and just say "no thanks" although you didnt say anything wrong either imo.
    indeed, please accept all samples of creed and then ask for more, then you can divide them between the Dawg and myself. hehehe

  6. #6

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Edit by Rockford --- I made the original comment in this post on the morning of July 16, and then deleted the comment that afternoon. Now, the next day, I have added back the exact words of my original comment:

    My goodness, if he is pressing samples into your hand, my advice is to accept them. If you don't want them yourself, you can always share them with your fellow Basenoters.
    Last edited by Rockford; 18th July 2006 at 12:56 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    After reading most of the replies on this thread, I can't help stressing that it is the attitude and conduct of the SA that is most at question here. Not whether djroze should have accepted the samples. Granted, the first couple of admonishments were ammusing but, even if he did accept the samples, the SA would have been in the wrong for insinuating that he was being obstinant or dismissive by saying "No thank you".
    Let's not imply that djroze was a fool for not taking the samples. He wasn't. He may not have been aware that others on BN would want them and even pay shipping +$ to get them. He can always go back and get more!

    BTW, I undoubtedly made some spelling errors here but, I don't really care. You get my drift.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    as far as i can tell, no one here is implying that djroze is a "fool". and i'm pretty sure no one is defending the SA. anyway, to be clear, djroze, we're all on your side! (we just hope you'll take the samples in the future and distribute them accordingly.)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Eau_Boy
    After reading most of the replies on this thread, I can't help stressing that it is the attitude and conduct of the SA that is most at question here. Not whether djroze should have accepted the samples. Granted, the first couple of admonishments were ammusing but, even if he did accept the samples, the SA would have been in the wrong for insinuating that he was being obstinant or dismissive by saying "No thank you".
    Let's not imply that djroze was a fool for not taking the samples. He wasn't. He may not have been aware that others on BN would want them and even pay shipping +$ to get them. He can always go back and get more!

    BTW, I undoubtedly made some spelling errors here but, I don't really care. You get my drift.
    Thanks to everyone for the nice replies; this is a great community, no doubt.

    I wouldn't have necessarily thought that the SA's behavior was inappropriate, but maybe it was - also, it's probably hard to explain/understand everything just through a short message. I suppose I just had my doubts about whether it was OK to express my thoughts about the designer as a whole in response to the offer for samples, but I think my underlying justification was that it might have seemed equally awkward to refuse the samples with no explanation as to why (basically an implicit, as opposed to explicit, unenthusiasm for the designer). Does that make sense?

    You're right, I didn't realize people would want the samples so badly here - I figured you guys would have plenty of access to whatever you wanted to try. Do those of you who wanted the samples not have some place like a Neiman Marcus nearby? Just curious. :-P

    Thanks again, and any further discussion will definitely be enlightening to hear.
    -- DJ Roze

  10. #10

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    yeah, i'm nowhere near a store like neiman marcus or barneys or even a nordstrom. bummer for me, truly, so i have to rely on buying my samples from the friendly folks on basenotes (or, as a last resort, on ebay).
    Last edited by pas2iche; 17th July 2006 at 01:26 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Just accept the Creed samples and pass them on, the SA may work on commision, AND work for Creed so of course they want you to buy their stuff. There is NO excuse for spraying something on anyone!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Funny situation. I think that in my case, I would have said something like "that's a very kind offer, but right now I'd like to focus on several other fragrance houses and I'll give Creed a try later. Do you happen to have any of their samples?"

    Seriously, even when he works for the Creed dept., he should either pass you on to another SA or simply give you the samples you want.
    "Perfume is the dream that carries me."

    There is always the sky to look at

  13. #13

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    djrose,

    you could think yourself lucky to even get samples! A few months ago I spent around $(AU) 90.00 for 50 ml of Dior's Eau Sauvage at a big department store. The price is ridiculous, of course, but I wanted it then and there.

    I got one sample.

    Dior's "Dune".

    For women. (I am a man. D'uh.)

    I could hardly believe my eyes.

    Also, one time (at band camp ... no, I mean at a different store) I spent almost $(AU) 200.00 on three separate fragrance purchases. I got NOT ONE SAMPLE. NOT A BRASS RAZZOO.

    What's more, I even had to pay for the "gift" bag it came in! I couldn't believe it!

    And what's more, nobody in Brisbane Australia who sells perfume over the counter has even HEARD of Creed, let alone throwing samples of the stuff at me!

    So there's another reason to be somewhat thankful! (If you don't want any, by the way, I'll be happy to take some samples off your hands.)

    QE

  14. #14

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by BrothaG
    Funny situation. I think that in my case, I would have said something like "that's a very kind offer, but right now I'd like to focus on several other fragrance houses and I'll give Creed a try later. Do you happen to have any of their samples?"

    Seriously, even when he works for the Creed dept., he should either pass you on to another SA or simply give you the samples you want.
    I was just coming from the other counter where I'd been looking at stuff for a few minutes, and I was actually holding samples from L'Artisan and Diptyque, so I think he knew I was looking at other designers.
    -- DJ Roze

  15. #15

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    What surprises me about this whole thing is the SA throwing samples at you. I would estimate that about 80% of the places I have been, you would virtually have to hold a SA at gunpoint with their infant in your hand for them to hand over even 1 sample. This seems to be a very common case regardless of the region of the country, as I have had that happen to me many places I have travelled. An interesting thing is about 3 weeks ago, at a Neiman Marcus in St. Louis, I asked if they had any samples, and she went to the back and came out with 3 apologizing that she didn't have more. I just returned to the St. Louis area last week and this time at NM, when I asked a different SA told me they do not even get samples in and never have.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Being that they work on commission, I'd think the SA's would definitely push Creed alot, given the pricepoints.

    It's also possible that the guy you dealt with was the Creed vendor.

    Anyway, I don't think you did anything offensive so don't worry about it.
    Current faves: CdG White, Amouage Dia, Millesime Imperial, Miller Harris Terre de Bois

  17. #17

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by markc
    I just returned to the St. Louis area last week and this time at NM, when I asked a different SA told me they do not even get samples in and never have.
    I would have complained to customer service about this SA.

    At Neiman Marcus the sales associates in fragrance have vials that they can MAKE any fragrance you wish to have a sample of. So if they don't have samples from the company and you want a sample of a particular fragrance, ask if they can make you one. If they deny this, they are lying. I can't believe the laziness of some SA's when it is in their own interest to make samples, as it shows they are going the extra mile to please the customer and possibly increase their own sales.
    Current faves: CdG White, Amouage Dia, Millesime Imperial, Miller Harris Terre de Bois

  18. #18

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by DJB
    At Neiman Marcus the sales associates in fragrance have vials that they can MAKE any fragrance you wish to have a sample of. So if they don't have samples from the company and you want a sample of a particular fragrance, ask if they can make you one. If they deny this, they are lying. I can't believe the laziness of some SA's when it is in their own interest to make samples, as it shows they are going the extra mile to please the customer and possibly increase their own sales.
    I have noticed this at both of the NM's I've been to as well. They're always willing to send you home with samples of anything since they make them on the spot.

    In general, most places seem to be pretty liberal with the samples. I was pleasantly surprised with a few samples when I was first starting to really get interested in this, but now it seems pretty customary for me to go home with a few vials of fragrances I want to try.

    I certainly do not mean to sound like some kind of "your-fancy-Creed-samples-are-no-good-to-me" customer. I didn't know there was such a high demand for them here. All I know is that I'm a pretty picky fragrance shopper and I've been treated very well by most of the SA's I've dealt with in this regard (they don't generally mind me being so indecisive). In fact, I've been shopping around with fragrances for a few weeks now (with high frequency) and I have not spent one penny in a department store; the only thing I decided I wanted to buy was Egoiste, by Chanel, and I found the best price for that online. I suppose when I accept a sample from a department store, there comes with it some sort of suggestion - slight though it may be - that if I like the fragrance, I might be inclined to come and purchase it from that store (if the price is right .

    So I guess another reason I might feel odd about just accepting the samples 'on my own behalf' and then reselling them on here or something is that I wouldn't feel entirely honest in my own right when dealing with SA's. There's probably a very thin line between a customer who is extremely picky and ends up with a lot of samples but doesn't buy much of anything (because he or she is not especially taken by any of the fragrances) and a 'customer' who simply spends his days going from department store to department store pulling in free samples and reselling them online. I could probably do that if I were smart about it, but I just wouldn't feel right about it.

    All that said, I'm probably just being dramatic and it may not matter to the company (who probably wants their fragrance sampled liberally). But I guess I just want everything that goes into my little Macy's bag at home to be samples given to me in the spirit of finding a fragrance that truly strikes me.

    *eyes well up* Isn't that ... what ... fragrances are ... all about? *a torrent of tears rains down, and the happy beautiful music plays*
    -- DJ Roze

  19. #19

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    I am just as interested as the next guy in getting a good deal on merchandise and I have no qualms about choosing a product in a "brick and mortar", then going online to find a better price. However, I have more than once skipped the internet search and returned to the B&M to make the sale with an SA that I thought was particularly helpful and professional, even if it meant paying a higher price. I fully believe in rewarding good service when I get it, principally because it seems so rare these days. I would even go as far as telling the SA that I found the product for a lower price elsewhere but came back to give him/her the sale because they had impressed me with their professionalism.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Eau_Boy
    I am just as interested as the next guy in getting a good deal on merchandise and I have no qualms about choosing a product in a "brick and mortar", then going online to find a better price. However, I have more than once skipped the internet search and returned to the B&M to make the sale with an SA that I thought was particularly helpful and professional, even if it meant paying a higher price. I fully believe in rewarding good service when I get it, principally because it seems so rare these days. I would even go as far as telling the SA that I found the product for a lower price elsewhere but came back to give him/her the sale because they had impressed me with their professionalism.
    That seems like a great approach - if I encounter a situation where I'm really impressed by the help provided by an SA, hopefully I'll do the same.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention - your name is insanely awesome. ROFL
    -- DJ Roze

  21. #21

    Angry Re: Refusing Samples

    I'm in the boondocks in central Europe and due to the wonders of socialism the SAs never make any attempt to give samples even if you beg for them. They won't even offer testers and get grumpy with you if you want to buy something, because that means they have to stop their conversations on their cell phones with their friends! I kid you not. I buy perfume at a little local shop because the shop owner is very friendly, lets me sample what interests me, and gives me samples as she has them. Owning the business makes all the difference here!

  22. #22

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Elf
    I'm in the boondocks in central Europe and due to the wonders of socialism the SAs never make any attempt to give samples even if you beg for them. They won't even offer testers and get grumpy with you if you want to buy something, because that means they have to stop their conversations on their cell phones with their friends! I kid you not. I buy perfume at a little local shop because the shop owner is very friendly, lets me sample what interests me, and gives me samples as she has them. Owning the business makes all the difference here!
    Same here, Elf. I am located in Budapest, Hungary and yesterday I dropped by a local Douglas, which is a fairly high-end perfume shop and bought (after long consideration) a smaller bottle of Fidji. The SA did not offer any sample of any kind and when I asked she told they do not have any. To make the dissapointment deeper few minutes earlier I had seen how she handed a few samples to a friend who had just dropped by to chat with her. Customer service is not a notion well understood in Central Europe(:

  23. #23

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Mooncitizen 2, I can relate. The same thing happened to me when I wanted to try Guerlain's new Aqua Allegorias, just test them- the SA could't be bothered to find a tester because she was trying on necklaces with her girlfriend, and when I asked if she could help me, she said No!! This was at a German branch of Douglas. Three people left because the SA refused to serve them, because after the necklaces she had to call her boyfriend... to ask about the necklaces! And they wonder why the European economy is not thriving.... Anyway, thanks for venting with me. I feel better now!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    GOD!!!! If I lived where you people do I'd stage a one man revolution based soley on wiping out lousey customer service. Here's my sequense of questions; Does the SA have no fear of dismissal because of their poor attitude? Is it even worth making a complaint to the store owner or manager, or do they not care for some reason? Do these businesses get govt subsidies so they don't have to worry about sales? Any answers?

  25. #25

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    At least in Germany, it is almost impossible to fire an employee, even if they are caught stealing (like giving the bag of samples to a friend while denying them to customers). Once you work for a certain small number of days you are entitled to enormous amounts of vacation, unlimited sick leave, and you are virtually un-fireable. Drives small business owners totally mad but there's very little they can do except drive a bad employee nuts so they quit. That happens! But then you hire someone else and it's the same story all over again. It's terribly frustrating. France tried to institute a few modest reforms but they all got stomped on. Of course, working solely for commissions and having no benefits or vacation/sick time causes different sorts of problems, and in some ways is just as rough, but surely there must be a happy medium somewhere?

  26. #26

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Are these laws enforced from the top down or are they really supported by the public? Seems to me that enough outrage could get them changed but, then again, I'm used to American style activism. The business community should think of a way to work around these rediculous laws. Like just hiring one more employee and suddenly taking away the hours of the problem people until they don't ever work there at all. Who knows.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Eau_Boy
    GOD!!!! If I lived where you people do I'd stage a one man revolution based soley on wiping out lousey customer service. Here's my sequense of questions; Does the SA have no fear of dismissal because of their poor attitude? Is it even worth making a complaint to the store owner or manager, or do they not care for some reason? Do these businesses get govt subsidies so they don't have to worry about sales? Any answers?
    Well, I would also say that in Hungary people still don't know what to expect in this high-end/luxury products sector. It takes a certain amount of travelling and experiencing other customer care to be able to know what is the normal way. Plus, these shops belong to huge multinational companies where the ownership structure is not very obvious and that probably do not have any policy of making SA interested in selling more as they not paid on commission but rather on a fixed salary. I also suspect that these SA had limited in-job training so they themselves aren't aware of how they should behave. Consequently they feel it's natural to treat customers as people to whom they do a favour and not the other way around.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    It would certainly be nice if the SAs were actually excited about perfumes and wanted people to try them! I don't really know how it's going to change. I've heard that in the small perfume boutiques in Paris the SAs are genuinely enthused, and I just got a lovely email from Isabelle Rousseau at Guerlain. She seems to enjoy her work! Let's have more of that, and more samples!

  29. #29

    Default Re: Refusing Samples

    I would be furious to experience the sloppy and rude service described in some of the above posts. Here in London (Bond St, Regent St etc), things seem to be better, at least in my experience. I have had some really top class service in some shops and counters, and usually they are generous with samples.

    I'd never refuse samples! Even if they are not to my taste, there are always friends who might want them.
    My Current Top 5: Terre d'Hermès | Terre de Bois by Miller Harris | Isfarkand by Ormonde Jayne | Brit for Men by Burberry | Grapefruit by Jo Malone

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