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  1. #1

    Default What do perfume counters do with testers...

    ....once they run out of stock?

    I've had an experience that made me wonder about this. While sniffing with BlackCat and AOG, we stopped by the MAC perfume counter, where BlackCat got the last bottle of their Africanimal. The SA took the tester and put it in the drawer. I was not planning on buying (I'm more in the purging stage right now), but I would have bought the tester if I could get it at a discount. So I asked the SA about it and she said they had to discard the tester, and could not sell the bottle.

    It seemed like a big waste, but perhaps according to the contract with the distributor/manufacturer they are not allowed to sell testers? So that not to be accused of supporting the 'grey channel'? Or some other reason?

    Anyone has insights?
    For sale: Armani Prive (Cuir, Jade), Yves Rocher, Artisan Ambre body cream http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=228894

  2. #2

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    I've purchased used testers before very cheaply...don't see them often, tho !!

  3. #3

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    I think the ONLY way a person could buy a used tester (or simply get one) was if she/he had a very good working relationship with a SA or manager. Otherwise, the staff take it home or throw it out.
    On a slightly different note, the Bay department stores has testers for Roger & Gallet colognes, and yet most stores only carry the soap, no cologne. I asked a SA why they had testers for scents they did not carry. Answer, "so people will know what the soap smells like."
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  4. #4
    Dependent

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    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    Quote Originally Posted by odysseusm View Post
    Otherwise, the staff take it home or throw it out.
    This is what happens here, from what I know.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    I later attempted to buy a tester of Naked Honey from the Oakridge Macy's, and their SA told me they have to send them back to MAC. I tried, Black Cat, I really tried!
    Eddie: Sweetie, what are you drinking?
    Patsy: Oh, this? Chanel No. 5.
    -- Absolutely Fabulous

  6. #6

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    At no time in the past 15 years, in any of the stores I worked in, were we ever allowed to sell the testers nor give them away. Even the employees were not allowed to take them, which when i first worked for Sephora and other companies we were at one time. To sell, give away, or to have signed out for personal use, were all causes for termination. Even as a manager, i was not able to get around that one. What i would do though is make about 15 sample vials of the scent they wanted so they could enjoy it. I felt that was servicing the clients needs, yet adhering to company policy.

    The reason why was; they did not want the testers to be returned for credit, they did not want them sold on the secondary market, and lastly they did not want any profit to be lost by selling anything discounted (unless it was company sanctioned markdowns of retail product)

    Very wasteful to see all the broken testers we use to toss into the Haz-Mat barrel in the back room. New testers of scents we did not carry in our location, 90 % full testers of Mystere de Rochas, Femme, Heure Exquise, Eau de Ciel, Dolce Vita (that broke my heart to see) Miss Dior, Diorissimo, older packaging (the blue glass bottles) for CSP, etc... because we would not be receiving new stock anymore. All just sent to the dumps for Haz-Mat, such horrific waste.
    Last edited by Brielle87; 5th August 2009 at 03:47 AM.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser sa source

  7. #7

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    My favorite SA has hooked me up with at least 3-4 large,never used, Narciso Rodriguez EDTs. Two Large NRFH aftershave splashes. Two Large aftershave bottles of the balm. And she also gave me, if I recall correctly, 4 bottles of the musc, and they had never been used.

    Also she gave me Pure Coffee for free as well, but that was not a tester.

    My favorite SA and I are friends, sometimes I go see her just to see how she is doing.
    Last edited by Maz24; 5th August 2009 at 06:01 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    Thanks for the 'insider' perspective. Yes, it seems like such a waste! Too bad...
    For sale: Armani Prive (Cuir, Jade), Yves Rocher, Artisan Ambre body cream http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=228894

  9. #9

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    We are also told that we need to destroy the testers and arrange for Haz-Mat collection. In all honesty I think they just get put in the normal trash.
    Our manager is allowed to award testers to a member of staff at his discretion as reward for an incentive for any activity in store, though, so if they are more than 50% full they tend to get saved for that.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    I have purchased department store testers on two occasions, Le De at Saks and my first bottle of Yatagan in Toronto. I have also, very rarely, noticed used testers of discontiued scents at TJMaxx

  11. #11

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    I have no idea what happens in the large department stores but in perfume/cosmetics stores I have seen used testers being sold. I get the impression from my favourite SA that many of the other SAs take them home. Although, this is the kind of place where they sell an 8ml atomiser for $15 but will fill it up from a tester for free if you ask.

  12. #12
    DON'T DRINK AND DRESS

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    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    Quote Originally Posted by kess View Post
    ..So I asked the SA about it and she said they had to discard the tester, and could not sell the bottle.

    It seemed like a big waste, but perhaps according to the contract with the distributor/manufacturer they are not allowed to sell testers? So that not to be accused of supporting the 'grey channel'? Or some other reason?

    Anyone has insights?
    That may be 'official' store policy but my belief is that it never gets discarded and the SA is just covering tracks or totally out of the loop with what really happens to them.
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  13. #13

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    I worked for a perfume counter. We were not allowed to sell testers. We worked through the bottle until it was finished.

  14. #14

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    Some probably end up online as the black market.

    Thanks to eBay and online stores, now I can say the phrase "Tester - not for sale" in 6 different languages.

    PS look closely at my avatar pic - that's off the Prada Infusion d'Iris tester bottle, hehe.
    Last edited by GourmandHomme; 8th August 2009 at 09:08 AM.
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  15. #15

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    There used to be a number of online sites which sold testers a few years back. Not now. I was told by a friend who is an sa. If she got caught taking the tester she would be sacked.
    DONNA

  16. #16

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    Quote Originally Posted by donna255 View Post
    There used to be a number of online sites which sold testers a few years back. Not now. I was told by a friend who is an sa. If she got caught taking the tester she would be sacked.
    these perfume people can be bad sports, at least they should hand them over to the trusted SA's or sell them cheaply to perfume buyers.
    "What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured" Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

  17. #17

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    Heres the deal with department stores...

    It is true that testers must be destroyed IF they are the property of the store.
    However, IF they are the property of the company who has representation in the store, they can be sent back to the head office of for example, L'oreal, Parfums BPI, LVMH etc, and redistributed to other stores.

    Testers will rarely be sold in department stores, however you might find smaller stores and franchises do sell them. This is because they usually own and buy the tester stock, and thus can do what they will with them.

  18. #18
    DON'T DRINK AND DRESS

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    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitri View Post
    Heres the deal with department stores...

    It is true that testers must be destroyed IF they are the property of the store.
    However, IF they are the property of the company who has representation in the store, they can be sent back to the head office of for example, L'oreal, Parfums BPI, LVMH etc, and redistributed to other stores.

    Testers will rarely be sold in department stores, however you might find smaller stores and franchises do sell them. This is because they usually own and buy the tester stock, and thus can do what they will with them.
    I have no doubt that is the official word. But..how is it enforced? Are the broken and emptied tester bottles required to be shown or returned to the company or is it just the word of the rep (if one is indeed in the store) or the department manager or so on that they personally have destroyed them or seen them destroyed? I just find it hard to believe that in most major stores a very easily exchanged for money item is simply destroyed if such an end is not monitored closely by the only people who would benefit from the destruction of the tester.

    Sorry if I sound cynical about this but employee theft of store items is a major problem for most retailers. Tester bottles not for sale in the first place and slated for 'destruction' would seem to have a bottom place on the priority list of things to worry about being taken by dishonest employees/managers of the store.
    Last edited by kbe; 8th August 2009 at 03:28 PM.
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  19. #19

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    Quote Originally Posted by kbe View Post
    I have no doubt that is the official word. But..how is it enforced? Are the broken and emptied tester bottles required to be shown or returned to the company or is it just the word of the rep (if one is indeed in the store) or the department manager or so on that they personally have destroyed them or seen them destroyed? I just find it hard to believe that in most major stores a very easily exchanged for money item is simply destroyed if such an end is not monitored closely by the only people who would benefit from the destruction of the tester.

    Sorry if I sound cynical about this but employee theft of store items is a major problem for most retailers. Tester bottles not for sale in the first place and slated for 'destruction' would seem to have a bottom place on the priority list of things to worry about being taken by dishonest employees/managers of the store.
    Of course I can cast generalisations for all stores in every country, but here is the experience Ive had as an SA whilst living in Australia.

    We would often have customers BEG us to buy testers (particularly if we were currently out of stock of the scent itself, or if it had been discontinued). It is simply impossible to "ring up" a sale with a tester which has no barcode or packaging. Being as receipts are given (and expected) with every sale, there is no possibility for a dishonest SA to sell the goods on to a customer.
    The department store will usually buy the tester and printed "brand name" blotters as its own collateral. If a scent is discontinued or no longer in stock, testers have to be surrendered to the store security whose task it was to take them to the large metal skips outside, and smash them. This is also true for factices and other collateral that has no commercial value. No, not every store enforces this, but at least the large Australian department stores (Myer / David Jones) where I worked, make it a policy. (This destruction of stock was also the norm when display china and glassware was chipped or cracked accidentally. I witnessed several Rosenthal/Versace decorative plates (worth hundreds) smashed in the skip because the accompanying teacups were cracked or unaccounted for).

    Back to perfume... if, however, L'Oreal brings testers into the store to promote their lines, then those items remain the property of L'Oreal, not the store. It is usually determined on a company-by-company basis. If a scent is no longer stocked in a certain store, or is discontinued, testers are collected by State Managers and taken back to L'Oreal office. They are then redistributed to other stores, or, in the case of perfumes no longer with representation in the country, are then either sold or passed on to Sales Assistants that work for that brand.

    Only a few years ago whilst working for Cosmax/BPI, "Creed" decided to pull their portfolio out of the Australian department store retail market. Cosmax, who at the time was responsible for the Creed line, sold off stock at 80% discount, and recalled all testers and other collateral (blotters/ display stands etc). At our following monthly training meeting, our State Management team arrived with cardboard boxes FULL of Creed testers both used and unused, and we could simply "help ourselves before leaving at the end of the night". I went home with 9 bottles of Creed (only two were previously used), as did the vast number of my colleagues.

  20. #20

    Default Re: What do perfume counters do with testers...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitri View Post
    Heres the deal with department stores...

    It is true that testers must be destroyed IF they are the property of the store.
    However, IF they are the property of the company who has representation in the store, they can be sent back to the head office of for example, L'oreal, Parfums BPI, LVMH etc, and redistributed to other stores.

    Testers will rarely be sold in department stores, however you might find smaller stores and franchises do sell them. This is because they usually own and buy the tester stock, and thus can do what they will with them.
    This might depend on the country, though. Half my wages were paid by the department store, and half my Estee Lauder. Same split with the profits. The only time any of the SAs received a tester was at Christmas when the girl/guy with the biggest sale won the tester of their choice (me, 240.00, and a big bottle of Chanelle Cristalle Eau de Parfum, thank-you very much ) Even then, the bottle had to be signed out twice - once by the floor manager, once by security. I don't think it would have been worth the bother to try and smuggle them out or sell them quietly - you'd just have been sacked.

    We had a small staff shop instore with lots of Lauder products at massive discounts. If one wanted to sell things on via e-bay or whatever (probably a big no-no), it would have simpler and safer to just buy them there and sell on at a profit.
    Last edited by Mazenderan; 8th August 2009 at 08:05 PM.

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