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  1. #1

    Default Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    This is one side of a shopping experience told from the point of view of the customer, a beauty-product reviewer:

    Via Consumerist:
    Ulta Manager: "Take Your Pen To Your Car, You're Not Allowed To Write Anything Down"

    Excerpt:
    Other things that are now official Ulta policy, at least when this manager is on duty at the store in Seattle: you can't write down anything a salesperson tells you about a product, you can't use the testers unless you're a paying customer, and if you want to select a specific shade of makeup you have to ask a salesperson for help. Because at Ulta, beauty is not just hard, but top secret.
    Original post from the beauty blogger:
    Ultimate Showdown at Ulta, Part One
    She had printed off pages from Ulta's website to help her shop at the store.

    I don't see this manager's draconian policies catching on, but I almost always shop with notebook & pen & website printouts. I'm tempted to find an Ulta this weekend.
    Last edited by tang; 10th November 2009 at 06:29 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Gees. Someone's mighty testy.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Man, this is soo funny. I had a very similar experience the other day. I was on the phone while sniffing around at some perfume for a friend. I decided that it made sense to write down the names of the perfume on the actual test strips so I would remember them more easily. So I went back to my car to grab a pen. 5 mins after re-entering the store and writing down the names of some fragrances, I was approached very suspiciously by a SA who somewhat rudely interrupted my phone conversation. She went on to ask me if I was writing down prices and told me that they do not allow price comparing (noting prices in writing) in their store. She tried to argue that it was a pretty common rule that most retailers follow (grocery stores, department stores, etc). I didn't really care because I was not in violation of rule, and she left me to do as I pleased. But it just seems silly to me that a store would try to monitor or police price matching by its customers when all the prices are available in print and all over the net. I doesn't prevent someone from comparing prices mentally so its kinda silly. Anywho, that happened to me like 2 wks ago in an Ulta store in North Carolina. Crazy!
    Last edited by OlfactoryExperience; 10th November 2009 at 06:37 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    I wish I lived near that store because I would surely go in there with paper and pen in tow.

    Maybe I will go to a local Ulta and see what happens.....
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by petruccijc View Post
    I wish I lived near that store because I would surely go in there with paper and pen in tow.

    Maybe I will go to a local Ulta and see what happens.....
    The story makes a person feel ornery, doesn't it!
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Oy...I know this is an awful thing to say, and a huge generalization, but I HATE SA's. There's a reason why concepts like Sephora and on-line shopping work...if I want help, I will ask, otherwise, bugger off and leave me be.

    I don't understand where the power-trip comes from? If I want to write things down, I'll write things down! It's not like I'm stealing all their trade secrets or anything.

    ps - there's a wonderful store here in Toronto where the owners offer you tons of samples so you make an informed decision. They almost discourage you from buying something without thoroughly trying it first. If you want help, they're there to guide you...but if you tell them you just want to sniff, they leave you alone. I'm a bit impartial because I've since become friendly with them, but I still think this is the proper way to run a business. Just my 2 cents.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Those 2 bloggers handled it the wrong way. I'd have gone for the offensive. I'd go to the store manager:

    "It's the same policy in all the other Ulta stores too? That is interesting. Because it so happens that one of Ulta's incoming new top executives, John Jacobs*, is my father(or son)-in law, and I'm catching up with him next week, so I'll be sure to mention to him how silly your store policy here and I'm sure he'll agree with me. What's your name again so I can tell him about you?"

    *: Doesn't matter what the name is. What matters is you deliver this convincingly.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by sofresh View Post
    Oy...I know this is an awful thing to say, and a huge generalization, but I HATE SA's. There's a reason why concepts like Sephora and on-line shopping work...if I want help, I will ask, otherwise, bugger off and leave me be.
    Except Ulta is a Sephora clone, right down to the open-sell layout, but with a salon and some drugstore beauty products added to the mix. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior in such a store, Ulta or otherwise.

    Anyway, my 2 (s)cents: This type of note-taking incident or "testers are only for paying customers" has never happened to me at the Ulta here in Fort Wayne over my dozens of visits over the past 5 years. I've never been hassled over a tester of Kouros or Le Male, among other fragrances. In fact, the SAs are rather pleasant as well, though they also happen to know much more about skin creams, shampoos, and lipsticks than they do fragrances.

    I still wish that Sephora would open a store here in Fort Wayne, though, but the Ulta here will suffice for now.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    If I lived in Seattle, I'd get a bunch of fellow ornery and uppity consumers together to have a "write in" at that store. Everyone brings a pad and jots down "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" as they mill about.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    ^^ sorry...I should have stated that I've never actually been to an Ulta!

    I wonder why these people had such a bad experience...just one bad apple perhaps??

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by sofresh View Post
    ^^ sorry...I should have stated that I've never actually been to an Ulta!

    I wonder why these people had such a bad experience...just one bad apple perhaps??
    I have never ventured into an Ulta either though I believe there is one in Fresno .
    It's a ridiculous policy ( if it really is ,or just one cranky store manager ) for Ulta to have.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    I have never been to an Ultra either and now I know I never will
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  13. #13

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by YouCanCallMeMo View Post
    If I lived in Seattle, I'd get a bunch of fellow ornery and uppity consumers together to have a "write in" at that store. Everyone brings a pad and jots down "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" as they mill about.
    One of the Consumerist commenters suggested organizing a flash mob or having
    Improv Everywhere go on a mission at the Seattle Ulta with notepads and pens.

    Quote Originally Posted by mysticknot View Post
    I have never ventured into an Ulta either though I believe there is one in Fresno .
    It's a ridiculous policy ( if it really is ,or just one cranky store manager ) for Ulta to have.
    My impression is that this manager was on a power trip and wasn't enforcing any actual Ulta policy. Don't quote me on that, though!
    .
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    I've been asked to refrain from taking pictures in Fred Segal and Barneys and did understand their reasoning for it but this is beyond belief.

    By the way, I went fragrance shopping in Beverly Hills yesterday and took this pen: http://www.worldwidefred.com/to-dotattoo.htm
    I wasn't planning to use the tattooed list thingie, just the pen. I often forget what I've sprayed where and have been tempted to start taking notes directly where I spritz. I never did screw up the courage to take it out of my purse and start writing all over my arms though.
    Last edited by socalwoman; 10th November 2009 at 10:56 PM. Reason: I forgot something....
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by tang View Post



    My impression is that this manager was on a power trip and wasn't enforcing any actual Ulta policy. Don't quote me on that, though!
    If that is so it is time for Ultra to step up and say so and deal with that 'manager' properly. I am sure word of this thread has filtered back to them. If they are in the game for profit, not addressing this properly is definitly going to cost them.
    Last edited by kbe; 10th November 2009 at 11:00 PM.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by socalwoman View Post
    By the way, I went fragrance shopping in Beverly Hills yesterday and took this pen: http://www.worldwidefred.com/to-dotattoo.htm
    I wasn't planning to use the tattooed list thingie, just the pen. I often forget what I've sprayed where and have been tempted to start taking notes directly where I spritz. I never did screw up the courage to take it out of my purse and start writing all over my arms though.
    Next BN get-together we are sooo getting a gross of these.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    If this "manager" were really of managerial calibre, she would have handled it so differently. First off, she should not have made an approach to the customer if there was no clear cut rule against note taking. If there had been such a rule and she was obliged to support it, she should have politely asked for a moment with the customer and steered her to a location where the conversation could have had a bit of privacy. Needless to say, the decibel level from the manager should have been at a calmer level - remember, if you are first to raise your voice, you are the first to lose face.

    As for the rest of it - the testers only being for paying customers, etc. - bullshit. Pure and simple. She was making it up on the spot - but she wasn't really good at it, was she?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by socalwoman View Post
    By the way, I went fragrance shopping in Beverly Hills yesterday and took this pen: http://www.worldwidefred.com/to-dotattoo.htm
    I wasn't planning to use the tattooed list thingie, just the pen. I often forget what I've sprayed where and have been tempted to start taking notes directly where I spritz. I never did screw up the courage to take it out of my purse and start writing all over my arms though.
    WANT!

    I'm always writing abbreviated reminders on the back of my hand.
    It's really the only sure-fire way I'll remember "to do" some things.
    And it would have come in handy during my sniffing adventure with ubu.
    Last edited by tang; 11th November 2009 at 12:11 AM.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    There's an Ulta near where I work. I've spent many a lunch hour there. I always have a pen. I always write the name of the scent of the test strip. Sometimes I write prices. Sometimes I write notes about what I smell. I always spray the test strips myself. I always take the test strips home with me. Maybe once a month an SA will ask if I need help with anything and I'll say, "Just looking, thanks." Of course I also buy unscented body oil every month or two. It's a great base for DIY fragrance oils. But I never got hassled even before my first purchase.

    Bottom line - This 'manager' isn't representative of Ulta and may not even be representative of that store.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Need to consult an attorney regarding Ulta's discriminatory practice...and then definitely buy some of those tattoos! One thing for sure, I wouldn't have made a purchase in that store!

  21. #21

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by ECaruthers View Post

    Bottom line - This 'manager' isn't representative of Ulta and may not even be representative of that store.
    Just had a funny thought...maybe they were the manager of the Sephora down the street... you never know...
    Last edited by ubuandibeme; 11th November 2009 at 12:52 AM.

  22. #22

    Exclamation Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    ...
    Last edited by Bella&Lucy; 11th November 2009 at 06:56 AM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by ubuandibeme View Post
    Need to consult an attorney regarding Ulta's discriminatory practice...and then definitely buy some of those tattoos! One thing for sure, I wouldn't have made a purchase in that store!
    I have a tendency to relate too much to disability discrimination and know I'm over-thinking this but if the note-taker had a memory impairment that impacted her life in some significant manner I suppose an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint could be raised.
    "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see." -Benjamin Franklin

  24. #24

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by socalwoman View Post
    I have a tendency to relate too much to disability discrimination and know I'm over-thinking this but if the note-taker had a memory impairment that impacted her life in some significant manner I suppose an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint could be raised.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    I believe in revenge
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Quote Originally Posted by socalwoman View Post
    I have a tendency to relate too much to disability discrimination and know I'm over-thinking this but if the note-taker had a memory impairment that impacted her life in some significant manner I suppose an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint could be raised.

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  27. #27

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    I visit the local Ulta and have bought from them a couple times.I've had some great fragrance discussions with the SA's there who seemed to be pretty friendly. Hmmmm, I'm going to try the ole notepad trick and see what happens.
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  28. #28

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    The blogger wrote a follow-up:

    Ultimate Showdown at Ulta, Part Two

    It does seem to be the case of one person on a power trip, whose behavior was to be "addressed" at an Ulta team meeting. The blogger also received a $50 gift card for her troubles.

    I still bring a pen & notepad shopping with me, but lately, I've gotten into the habit of using my cellphone to take pictures in stores, for future reference, for comparison, for wishlists. I'm always half-waiting for someone to tell me it's not allowed.
    Last edited by tang; 24th November 2009 at 05:45 PM.
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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    I'm pretty sure prices are set nationally by the manufacurers, at least the major houses like Dior, Chanel, etc. I doubt that Ulta is selling anything for a nickle more or less than Macy's, Sephora, etc. So it really makes no sense for a manager to worry about such a non-secret getting out.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    Maybe a long shot, but isn't Seattle home to Paula Begoun Of Paula's Choice (she has written several popular books as a consumer advocate looking at beauty products and cosmetics, testing their claims and reviewing the scientific evidence behind them, which not surprisingly comes up as less than flattering for a lot of products). I seem to remember an article she wrote where the local dept. stores soon recognised her and she had to try and disguise herself, then get other people to do it for her as the SA's would prevent her from taking notes once they knew who she was!

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    $50 dollar bribe to avoid a potential online multi-thousand dollar black eye? Gimme a break..

    How about a face-to-face sincere apology and vow to never embarrass a customer again from the guilty 'manager' and witnessed by a corporate big wig who flew in just for that? Someone needs to publically eat Humble Pie big time. Yeah..that sounds about right to me
    Last edited by kbe; 24th November 2009 at 11:18 PM.
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  32. #32

    Default Re: Seattle Ulta Manager: No Note-Taking Allowed

    This is a story about a manager with a problem, not a store with discriminatory policy. I'll bet that she treats her staff as she treats the customers. I would have enjoyed being the proverbial fly on the wall during her dressing down!

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