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  1. #1
    Hoos's Avatar
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    Default Help Educate Me With Scent Shopping

    I just returned from Nieman Marcus. I went in to buy Acqua di Parma Collonia and a Creed (after testing several, I settled on the Neroli). The salesman up-sold me from the AdP to L'Eau de l'Artisan. I'm not too upset with that (the L'Eau is a wonderful scent and is different enough from the Neroli). Or should I be? Both the are being held for me.

    What bothered me more, and this is where your help with education would be appreciated, was the salesman.

    1. He tried strongly to dissuade me from the two things I wanted (AdP and Creed). He was, however, generous with his time and with letting me sample the scents. I did learn that I preferred Creed's Neroli to Himalya. The L'Eau was nicer than the AdP to my nose. But different enough that if I really wanted something "like AdP", the L'Eau wouldn't really be it.

    2. He very strongly pushed Duc de Vervin by Houbigant. Because it was "all natural", the "highest amount of natural oils", it is "long lasting - at least 12 hours", and by the "best fragrance house". These things were mentioned several times. I can't find any info on DdV - only that several places are selling it for $58.

    Now, other than asking me if I was interested in light scents or musks, repeatedly asking me to sniff coffee beans (I know why, I don't like it), and whether I worked with other people, he asked me nothing about my preferences (strong, long-lasting, sweet, what I've worn, etc.), experience, etc. that would seem like natural questions.

    Was the salesman doing his job? Was his knowledge good? Up-selling is not a surprise, but it seemed a little more pushy than other times I've encountered it. And I haven't been able to locate any info on Houbigant or DdV (other than websites selling it).

    Or am I just being too snobby/newish about the scent buying experience?

    Any and all insight, thoughts, and suggestions welcome. Thank you.
    Brent

    Catherine Deneuve: "You should put scent where you like to be kissed."


  2. #2

    Default Re: Help Educate Me With Scent Shopping

    For the most part, he was doing his job... the coffee beans is so that it "refreshes" your nose so that you don't jumble up the colognes (you know how after a while, all colognes might start smelling the same). It's a common practice done everywhere - from Macy's to JCPenny and the like.

    Having worked in retail (though not the fragrance business), I can tell you that sometimes you are forced to "push" something even if you don't believe in it. His boss might have told him to try to sell the DdV to customers so that's probably what he was trying to do. Usually when I go cologne shopping, I try to impress the salespeople by telling them stuff only cologne fanatics would know - as in identifying the top notes, mentioning other colognes by that company, etc etc... that way they know they're not messing with some amateur that they can try their sales pitch on.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Help Educate Me With Scent Shopping

    I have worked in fragrance retail.

    To a degree he was doing his job (offering information, coffee beans, and alternate options).
    My beef however, is with him trying to dissuade you from making the purchase you had originally intended. This put up a red flag for me.
    He was more than likely a representative of a specific house or distributor whose fragrance portfolio did not include those you wished to purchase. He is either paid 100% by his company or 50-50 by his company and the department store. In both cases, he is required to push the brands his company represents. A good salesperson can do this seamlessly, - a poor one will come across as pushy or excessively persistent.

    The main thing is that you walk away happy with your purchases, and not bullied into buying something that you really did not want.

  4. #4
    Hoos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Educate Me With Scent Shopping

    Thank you very much for the information and thoughts. My goal is to not be a "pain in the neck" customer while getting both good service and what I want.

    My beef with the coffee beans is that I am a coffee snob. Proudly so. Roast my own and have developed a decent nose for that. Sniffing old coffee beans is off-putting to me. I much prefer clearing my nose/palate with some deep breaths. But, man, he kept pushing the beans and the DdV.

    While he was pushy, he didn't come across as a "pushy personality". More like, as Dimitri said, it was part of his job, and he may have been newish - just telling me what he was told to tell customers. Also, he did not ring up the sale. He called over another associate to do that. (I didn't have my check book with me, hence the items being held.)

    It just struck me as out of place for Neiman. But then, I haven't been in a Neiman store in several years.
    Brent

    Catherine Deneuve: "You should put scent where you like to be kissed."


  5. #5

    Default Re: Help Educate Me With Scent Shopping

    If he called another SA to ring up the sale, then he is a promotional staff member, hired to work a shift (or a number of shifts) in the store and paid by his own company. (The department store then reimburses all or part of his wage to the promotional company).

    Coffee beans are actually intrusive and do little to "clear your nose" - all it does is introduce another smell. Alternately when offered beans in the future, you can sniff your own clothes (a sleeve or upper arm) as your natural odour you are often oblivious to. The contrast between your own scent and a new sample is then all the easier to distinguish.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Help Educate Me With Scent Shopping

    Salespeople are basically worthless. Stick with us and we'll point you in the right direction. Neroli Sauvage is a good scent but hardly mentioned on Basenotes. Nice choice going with the Creed! What other Creeds have you tried and what was your experience with them?
    Last edited by samplermike; 21st March 2008 at 12:58 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Help Educate Me With Scent Shopping

    I've found that I need to experiment with a fragrance. There is no way I would plunk down big buck from just a spritz on the wrist and a couple of whiffs. I need to experience at least 5 hours of it, and if it doesn't last that long, I'm not interested in it at all. I also need to try different amounts of the juice, which can make a difference. I've found that two sprays on the same spot often is necessary to get what seems to me to be the full effect of it.

  8. #8
    dpak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Educate Me With Scent Shopping

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoos View Post
    Thank you very much for the information and thoughts. My goal is to not be a "pain in the neck" customer while getting both good service and what I want.

    As strictly a consumer (and never on the other side), to me the only thing that matters is whether you were happy with the experience. If not, then I don't think it matters if he was just doing his job. And judging by the tone of your posts, I doubt that you would ever be a pain in the neck customer.

    It seems fortuitous that you didn't have your checkbook, since you can revisit your choices and change them if necessary. And perhaps a different salesperson will be there - one that you find more accommodating.

    As for DV, it's strong and green and long lasting - a masculine power frag. I was infatuated with it after getting a sample, but that has faded. As another member said, a little DV goes a long way. It is classy, though.
    Last edited by dpak; 20th March 2008 at 09:46 PM. Reason: Added DV info.

  9. #9
    Hoos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Educate Me With Scent Shopping

    Wow! This is all good information. I have no problems sniffing myself in public. That's a great tip, Dimitri, for the sampling.

    Yes, it's good to be able to sleep on the decision. It's not chump change!

    There's a strong part of my intuition that's saying "stick with the AdP Colonia". Even though the L'Eau is lovely. But intuition is usually a reliable guide.

    Very glad to have avoided the DdV if it's a "power fragrance" because I don't like them. If the scent lasts 6-8 hours, that's perfect. Enjoying the spectrum of a scent, from bloom through decay, is nicer than smelling exactly the same for 12+ hours. (The DdV scent on my hand from shaking the salesman's hand is still there and is not playing well with my chemistry, so my nose was spot on about that.)

    I like the Creed Neroli but preferred the Bergamot. Alas, they only had a flacon of the Bergamot, which would be too much (in quantity and price). The Neroli is perfectly acceptable and seems like a scent that has many possibilities and a little mystery with the wonderful citrus.

    It will be my first Creed. Other than a decant of Imperial, which wasn't appealing. I'll probably try to track down samples of others of the Creed line. The Neiman store was heavy on musks and the heavier Creeds. Himalaya sounded like a fit, but it's just not right for me.
    --------------------------------------
    Thanks to the advice here, I've returned with the colognes I wanted - AdP Colonia and Creed Neroli. It turned out the sales associate yesterday had sampled AdP Intensa which had a different scent/feel to it than the Colonia.

    I just noticed the back of the Creed box is stamped 2002. Assuming that means it was manufactured in 2002 and that the bottle will last me for 1-2 years, am I in a safe zone with this?

    I need to feel less intimated in places like Neiman Marcus. Sigh.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Hoos; 21st March 2008 at 07:17 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    Brent

    Catherine Deneuve: "You should put scent where you like to be kissed."


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