From what I heard from my counter friend seems the good ones are put through a certification process. Most recent shitty experience probably was the Perfumania, my impression of it being five teenagers managing an average sized counter told to spout out terms such as 'smells clean and fresh' or 'your girlfriend will like it'. To sum it up, conversation went something like:
Cavalli man? It should be the box with the snake print on it. Down, down, keep going, yes the one with the blue snake print. Ok how about some Kouros?...that would be by Yves Saint Laurent...no that's opium keep going right, the Greek looking one, a bit more right.
Still embarassed meeting one of my toning classmates as well thinking 'ah so you're the cotton candy cloud I've been smelling from the other side of the class'. Pissed me off too when she wanted me to buy from her just for the sake of her commission.