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  1. #1

    Default One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Happened to me (as the customer) this last weekend. Without naming the small but established perfume store in inner-city Melbourne Australia, this was a memorable incident.

    I was taking a fellow budding perfumista on a smelling tour. So I went around and getting her to sample the "best of breed" in as many of the different Michael Edwards olfactory categories as we can find. Whether you agree with the Edwards classification or not is not the relevant point of discussion here. Anyway, moral of the story:

    "If you see someone who walks into a perfume shop who told you he has Michael Edwards 2009 Perfumes of the World book, do not tell him he is using the wrong method to conduct a sampling exercise for his friend."

    For one thing, anyone with a Perfumes of the World book and can correctly blindly idenfity 5 out of 5 perfumes in a dance class in one night - that is a serious perfumista and is not someone you just tell that he is wrong as if he were some ignorant person off the street who talks shit about perfumes.

    Secondly, not only the SA managed to offend an established perfumista and also a budding perfumista; thus ensuring neither will ever step foot in that store nor recommend that store again.
    ==============
    If by any chance the S.A. or owner of that store is another BN-er, anyone who asks me for recommendation to perfume stores will be sure to get a negative review of your store.
    Last edited by GourmandHomme; 7th December 2009 at 05:37 AM.
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  2. #2

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    That is unacceptable isnt it? I find some store owners and SA's leave a whole lot to be desired and their presumptuous attitudes absolutely need to be kept in check.

    Here is an experience I went through some years ago where a store owner flicked my bitch-switch:
    http://community.basenotes.net/showp...71&postcount=7
    (Link to a post from 2007).

  3. #3
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Yes, I agree - the condescending attitude is not needed, I am sorry you had a bad experience and you have my empathy.Maybe you should give the store owner some feedback over this experience ...if he is interested in future business- he will surely listen ?
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    There have been quite a few threads like this. Maybe there's a common cause we could identify and even try to fix. I know a number of you have worked in the industry. Do you have any ideas where the condescension and superiority come from? Are there perfume reps telling the SAs that they are now obligated to defend great art from the unwashed masses? Or do you run into the same level of foolishness just about as often when you're buying clothes or music?

  5. #5

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    I don't mind being told I'm wrong. I'm a big enough person to accept it, and I'm willing to still be educated in the art of evaluating perfumes. But the SA just said I went about it the wrong way, and didn't say why. Could've just told me, "Next time, may I suggest that you use this method when sampling......"
    ===========
    As for ECaruthers' point, when buying clothes, I know enough design and textile concepts to overwhelm most SA at a typical Australian dept store. And they know I know my shit because I go in and say something like, "Hi... am looking for a fitted non-military-style sport shirt - in dark burgundy-like color. Pure cotton only, 2-ply 100-thread count and up preferred."

    If you sound like and actually know your shit, I find that most SA's here in Australia either say, "Don't have it sorry" which is OK, or I may accept suggestions if it looks like they were listening.
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  6. #6
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    I have seen and heard more and more of such attitude and behavior in retail store SAs over the past 10-15 years. It seems like an attitude of power and knowledge (almost always not true power or knowledge) are assumed by some SAs when dealing with the public and selling products such as fragrance, wine, clothing, etc., in 'better' stores. Most of these people are nice, knowledgeable and helpful. A few others take the part of schoolyard bullies who assume they are not to be questioned on their dubious opinions and never challenged even when blatantly wrong or there will be hell to pay via their attitude, comment or service.

    Many think such displays of boorish behavior is a psychological expression of the few nasty SAs own insecurity, lack of knowledge and an attempt to intimidate to appear in charge.
    Last edited by kbe; 7th December 2009 at 12:31 PM.
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  7. #7

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    I learnt a long time ago that "knowing your shit" is more often than not unintentionally condescending, which gets you nowhere, regardless of how nice a salesperson is.

  8. #8

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Maybe it's happened as a defense mechanism in response to the ridiculous behavior of shoppers. Some of the things i see when I'm out and about the shops make me physically ill. People shopping, for some reason especially in cosmetics and fragrance, commit ten times the number of crimes against common decency that anyone behind the counter does.
    Flatly telling someone they're doing something wrong however makes no sense as it isn't helpful and doesn't result in a sale I'd imagine.
    I always suck up to the sa's at my favorite stores as I sniff and sample troll far more often than I buy. Believe me it pays off.
    m

  9. #9

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by GourmandHomme View Post
    I don't mind being told I'm wrong. I'm a big enough person to accept it, and I'm willing to still be educated in the art of evaluating perfumes. But the SA just said I went about it the wrong way, and didn't say why. Could've just told me, "Next time, may I suggest that you use this method when sampling......"
    ===========
    As for ECaruthers' point, when buying clothes, I know enough design and textile concepts to overwhelm most SA at a typical Australian dept store. And they know I know my shit because I go in and say something like, "Hi... am looking for a fitted non-military-style sport shirt - in dark burgundy-like color. Pure cotton only, 2-ply 100-thread count and up preferred."

    If you sound like and actually know your shit, I find that most SA's here in Australia either say, "Don't have it sorry" which is OK, or I may accept suggestions if it looks like they were listening.
    All in all, esp. in department stores like Nordstrom, my experience tells me that most SAs are often just hired sales people and have little product knowledge. (MOST, as I have found some SAs to be wonderfully skilled in product info.)

    Once, I phoned a Nordstrom to see if they had a men's shirt in my small size (I am a smallish woman). I requested selections of white long-sleeve, 100% cotton shirts in a French cuff. (Yes, I wear cufflinks.) She said she had one and would set it aside for me in my name. Imagine my dismay, driving all the way to the store, and finding said shirt was white but did not have French cuffs at all.

    I have also asked other SAs (mostly women) and they have no clue as to what a French cuff is. I imagine they were hired for cuteness and perkiness... Question: Why in the name of Jove do they hire young women to work in the men's department? To entice would-be male shoppers to browse and buy? It escapes me...

    Gourmand, on the subject of perfume (and products in general), I think if the patron knows more than a salesman, it pushes the SAs insecurity button. It's just human nature. Your SA obviously felt insecure in your presence because you were armed with more knowledge than the "pro." It is hard not to take this personally. When I go into a men's store and start asking about the clothes, they get intimidated because they do not expect a custuomer, let alone a woman, to know about men's furnishings.
    Last edited by Primrose; 8th December 2009 at 01:57 AM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  10. #10

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitri View Post
    ... flicked my bitch-switch...
    *Mental note to incorporate that phrase into my vocab*
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  11. #11

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by nwatts88 View Post
    I learnt a long time ago that "knowing your shit" is more often than not unintentionally condescending, which gets you nowhere, regardless of how nice a salesperson is.
    Really? So, it would be better for the SA that for someone like me who knows what he wants to actually go in and pretend only to have a vague idea as if I'm totally ignorant or undecided, even though I know what I want and that I know what 2-ply 100+ thread-count* cotton actually means?

    *: And I also know enough that thread count in clothing is not even the main indicator of quality of the fabric.

    But the point is, I don't ever feel the need to pretend to know little when I do know what I want. I'm willing to learn new things from a knowledgeable SA, and the fact I amass so much knowledge in the first place is due to my thirst for learning things I don't already know.

    The Guerlain lady at David Jones in Melbourne city so far is the exemplar of a good SA. She knows her products and appreciates the fact that I, despite not being a Guerlain man like say Mr. Guerlain, I know what family they're in and I even know about the Guerlain Melbourne's "secret tester stash"
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  12. #12

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Seriously, my first impression of you is that you have a big ego. I know you know everything, but try to calm the fuk down, take a few big breaths and move on with your life. You're a perfume god, good for you. The people who really know what they know aren't in any hurry to correct everyone around them and show off about it. You're like nouveau riche, just flaunting around your knowledge. I'm sure the SA who's been doing this for 30-50 years just roll their eyes when you come around.
    NEW SPLITS - By Kilian A Taste of Heaven and Beyond Love (full 50ml bottles). .

    Most of the time I am very proud of the Basenotes community. Time after time I have witnessed the thoughtfulness, empathy & genuine friendship that members of this community extend to others - oldtimers & newcomers alike. There are other times, however, when egos get the upper hand and civility goes out the window. My philosophy is that I won't say anything here that I would not say if you were standing in front of me. Welcome to Basenotes, each and every one of us. ~ TwoRoads

  13. #13

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Hmmm... it's not like they kicked you out of the shop or anything... I think customer service and what is expected from SA's differs quite a bit between USA & Oz. A couple of the threads about poor SA service in the USA and what to do as a response would not really work here. Don't forget, Australia is (still) a relatively egalitarian place and there is deep suspicion of the intellectual or "poser" type. For an eye opening account of some experience from the SA's point of view, check out the "customer from hell" threads on Austrlian Vogue Forums. It works both ways. So they told you you were doing it all wrong? Who cares? Keep on sniffin' & doing it YOUR way...

  14. #14

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    paeonyrose: I agree with you at the general hostility towards people who are artistic/intellectual when it comes to the Australian general public (lovely bunch)... but I choose where I shop, and it's easy to have fun with like minded staff. I haven't been perfume shopping in Melbourne before, but all my clothes experiences there are great. Get people from Melbourne talking about Melbourne-based artists/designers and they light up, they know who does what, and if I hang around for long enough I wind up sitting with them for coffee.

    Gourmanddude: if you came into my store with your attitude and demanded a thread count on a shirt (what are you comparing them to, bed linen?) I'd probably give attitude straight back to you. If you knew as much as you thought you did, you'd get the shirt made for you, not go and buy it in a department store.

  15. #15

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by nwatts88 View Post
    paeonyrose: I agree with you at the general hostility towards people who are artistic/intellectual when it comes to the Australian general public (lovely bunch)... but I choose where I shop, and it's easy to have fun with like minded staff. I haven't been perfume shopping in Melbourne before, but all my clothes experiences there are great. Get people from Melbourne talking about Melbourne-based artists/designers and they light up, they know who does what, and if I hang around for long enough I wind up sitting with them for coffee.

    Gourmanddude: if you came into my store with your attitude and demanded a thread count on a shirt (what are you comparing them to, bed linen?) I'd probably give attitude straight back to you. If you knew as much as you thought you did, you'd get the shirt made for you, not go and buy it in a department store.
    Perhaps Mr. Gourmand would prefer *not* to go bespoke for his shirts and buy them off the peg. This will save more money for perfume.

    BTW, I have worked retail and know about customer service. IMO, the SA must address every customer in a courteous fashion--period. This is not always easy as customers range from pleasant to snooty. The surly man in the threadbare suit might be a millionaire and if you thumb your nose at him, you just might lose a sale and a handsome commission. Then *that* would be your loss. Snippy SA comments are risky.

    I truly enjoy shopping when the SA takes an interest in what he is selling, instead of, "Like, uh, whatever, huh? I dunno." Then you get the blank stare.

    Gourmand, you are to be commended for your exacting standards for high quality be itclothing or pefume. P.S. "Let's see that shirt in a wing collar, please. And show me what you have in sterling silver shirt studs."
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  16. #16

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    The problem is that a majority of the SA's in the industry are just Sales Clerks with attitude. It comes from their own feelings of inferiority. Most are not hired because of their knowledge, most are hired because they will work nights and weekends and for less money than an established, knowledgeable person. all of the companies i worked for hired people more for their availability than for their skills or knowledge; those they feel will be learnt over time, especially if they are a natural salesperson. Which is pure garbage, just another excuse to save the company money.
    I can say this honestly because i worked in the industry in many different capacities for a VERY long time. I have seen so many uppity, snooty, pretentious colleagues, who had no reason to be, they just thought they were special because they worked in cosmetics/fragrances.
    Sometimes i was horrified by the information most of my colleagues were giving to clients, it would be completely incorrect and they would spout it off with the authority of the most powerful being in the universe. I loved savvy clients, those who knew their business, my colleagues detested it and would make fun of them when they left; blatant immaturity and ignorance. At Sephora, Michael Edwards book was considered the gold-standard of fragrance books and was used routinely by the Fragrance specialist.
    I expect to always be treated with not only courtesy, but with the highest level of respect when i go shopping. If i could treat people like gold when i was an SA i expect the same in return.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser sa source

  17. #17
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    The classic test for validity of action for the SA is:

    Would he/she act and/or speak in exactly the same manor to a customer if the Store Manager or better yet the District Manager (if applicable), was standing right next to the customer during the exchange?

    No? Then to acting/speaking that way to the customer, whose purchases are the ONLY reason the store survives, is unacceptable. Like it or not, the SA represents the manager, the store, the chain if there is one, in any interaction with the customer.
    Last edited by kbe; 8th December 2009 at 12:39 AM.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    At least at Sephora or Ulta Beauty the SA who stays keeps selling cosmetics (Are there any who specialize in fragrances or does everyone sell everything?) and maybe actually does learn on the job. In April my wife & I spent quality time with the head of the fragrance department at Lord & Taylor. She was very nice. We bought from her. The next month we were in the store, saw her, said hello, and found that she was now managing one of the make up counters. She'd started in women's shoes, then moved to men's clothing, then fragrance. Now, who knows?

    At the Macy's counter I asked the SA for something she didn't have. So she brought out all the standard popular items & told me they smelled similar. I didn't stay long enough to find out how long she'd been on the job.

  19. #19

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    The problem is that a majority of the SA's in the industry are just Sales Clerks with attitude. It comes from their own feelings of inferiority. Most are not hired because of their knowledge, most are hired because they will work nights and weekends and for less money than an established, knowledgeable person. all of the companies i worked for hired people more for their availability than for their skills or knowledge; those they feel will be learnt over time, especially if they are a natural salesperson. Which is pure garbage, just another excuse to save the company money.
    I can say this honestly because i worked in the industry in many different capacities for a VERY long time. I have seen so many uppity, snooty, pretentious colleagues, who had no reason to be, they just thought they were special because they worked in cosmetics/fragrances.
    Sometimes i was horrified by the information most of my colleagues were giving to clients, it would be completely incorrect and they would spout it off with the authority of the most powerful being in the universe. I loved savvy clients, those who knew their business, my colleagues detested it and would make fun of them when they left; blatant immaturity and ignorance. At Sephora, Michael Edwards book was considered the gold-standard of fragrance books and was used routinely by the Fragrance specialist.
    I expect to always be treated with not only courtesy, but with the highest level of respect when i go shopping. If i could treat people like gold when i was an SA i expect the same in return.
    Thank you, Brielle. This somewhat echoes what I mentioned earlier--insecurity of the SAs. Just a bunch of salespeople wearing a ton of makeup in heels...

    And when I am paying good money for fragrance, I expect to get good service from the SA. Just as when I dine, a good server with knowledge and a pleasant attitude will ge the bigger tip. No one expects to go to a fine restaurant to get scowled at with one's meal flung down on the table.

    Again, the customer is to be treated with respect--period.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  20. #20

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    The problem is that a majority of the SA's in the industry are just Sales Clerks with attitude. It comes from their own feelings of inferiority. Most are not hired because of their knowledge, most are hired because they will work nights and weekends and for less money than an established, knowledgeable person. all of the companies i worked for hired people more for their availability than for their skills or knowledge; those they feel will be learnt over time, especially if they are a natural salesperson. Which is pure garbage, just another excuse to save the company money.
    I can say this honestly because i worked in the industry in many different capacities for a VERY long time. I have seen so many uppity, snooty, pretentious colleagues, who had no reason to be, they just thought they were special because they worked in cosmetics/fragrances.
    Sometimes i was horrified by the information most of my colleagues were giving to clients, it would be completely incorrect and they would spout it off with the authority of the most powerful being in the universe. I loved savvy clients, those who knew their business, my colleagues detested it and would make fun of them when they left; blatant immaturity and ignorance. At Sephora, Michael Edwards book was considered the gold-standard of fragrance books and was used routinely by the Fragrance specialist.
    I expect to always be treated with not only courtesy, but with the highest level of respect when i go shopping. If i could treat people like gold when i was an SA i expect the same in return.
    So well said Brielle! I worked in the industry for years and share your experiences and attitude.

  21. #21

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    I think I would've said that I need to sample in a certain way or else I can get really nauseous, which is not something they would want in their store. LOL.

  22. #22

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by Master-Classter View Post
    Seriously, my first impression of you is that you have a big ego. I know you know everything, but try to calm the fuk down, take a few big breaths and move on with your life. You're a perfume god, good for you. The people who really know what they know aren't in any hurry to correct everyone around them and show off about it. You're like nouveau riche, just flaunting around your knowledge. I'm sure the SA who's been doing this for 30-50 years just roll their eyes when you come around.
    I have a big ego. But that is not the point of the conversation here. I admitted above in my post that I don't know everything, and I like learning things I don't know. That is how I became a know-it-all in the first place, because I find something I don't know about, then I learn about it.

    Capiche?
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  23. #23

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by nwatts88 View Post
    Gourmanddude: if you came into my store with your attitude and demanded a thread count on a shirt (what are you comparing them to, bed linen?) I'd probably give attitude straight back to you. If you knew as much as you thought you did, you'd get the shirt made for you, not go and buy it in a department store.
    I never said I demand a "shirt with ____". All I say is that if an SA asks me what I'm looking for, and if they don't have it, I smile and say thanks and walk off. Is that a problem?

    Oh and by the way, due to most Australian men's cluelessness when it comes to clothes, therefore how most of the stores do not carry anything in my size and specification, so anyway you're right, I don't buy good dress shirts in this country, and I get them all tailor-made.

    I'll buy t-shirts and jeans in this country but that's all I would buy with regards to clothes in Australia.

    PS and if you don't know anything about what makes a good shirt or fabric, then don't talk first - listen, read, and learn. And yes I know the thread count of a shirt fabric is not the main indicator of its quality. And yes thread counts also apply in shirt fabric.
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  24. #24

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by Master-Classter View Post
    I'm sure the SA who's been doing this for 30-50 years just roll their eyes when you come around.
    OK, is it just too snarky to suggest that 50 years of experience would make for a roughly seventy year old sales assistant? Are there many of those?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    I really like the image of an elegant 70 year old SA who's there for the love of fragrances. I'd know he/she was really good. It's like the old story of the kid with long hair and sneakers working in the back room of the bank. The bankers wouldn't have hired him if he weren't really good.

    Full disclosure - the age difference between me and 70 is less than 1/5 the difference between me and 20.

  26. #26

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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Maybe I'm a little late to the party here but here's my experience as an American who likes to buy perfume/cosmetics from Neiman's/Saks/Barney's - basically they could be in the red all year and they still only want to waste their time with certain clientele. They could be sitting around doing absolutely nothing (which has been my experience once when I came into a NM store to buy a bunch of La Mer) and if you don't look rich they couldn't care less. Now some locations of the same stores are better than others but thats been my experience.

    Except Nordies, somehow they figured out how to treat people and the SA's seem to really like their jobs and really don't care if you buy anything or just browsing or whatever. At least they aren't obvious about it.

    And I'm not a stupid person who doesn't know high end even if I can't afford it. I have talked to SA's about collections they didn't even know came out or were coming out (seriously). Its not out of snootiness, its out of chattiness...

    Its kind of like you're the one who has to do all the work in some of the high-end stores, like some kind of role reversal. No wonder people who really have money, especially nouveau riche, treat SA's like cr*p. Its probably karma coming back to them.

  27. #27

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    It is ironic that the SAs look down their noses at customers as they happen to be selling items that they themselves, forthe most part, could not afford.

    I swear that I encountered one tall woman--all dolled up with a pound/kilo of eye makeup as if she belonged on some haute-couture runway. I think she was just a frustrated fashion model, bitter because she did not make the cut. She had a scowl on her face as she was strutting behind a merchandise counter. Utterly riduculous.
    Last edited by Primrose; 28th December 2009 at 02:44 AM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Yeah the ones working behind the cosmetics counters are the worst. I don't envy sales girls in couture at saks or whatever. The discount isn't enough to do "go backs" or folding clothes lol. But the cosmetics/fragrance counters, those are the plum jobs (and very elusive)...all the gratis. I would work just for gratis. lol.

  29. #29

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by peppermua View Post
    I would work just for gratis. lol.
    Trust me, if you do not "really" enjoy doing it, the gratis does not make up for it. I actually had days where i was amazed i still wanted to come to work, but then i thought of the clients i really enjoyed. They (the clients) not the gratis made it rewarding. The gratis was nice though.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser sa source

  30. #30

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by GourmandHomme View Post
    I have a big ego. But that is not the point of the conversation here. I admitted above in my post that I don't know everything, and I like learning things I don't know. That is how I became a know-it-all in the first place, because I find something I don't know about, then I learn about it.
    Capiche?
    Yeah, sure. That probably sounded much “harsher” when you read it then by what I meant. I was half joking just basically saying “whatever, deal with it”. Not a serious criticism, I just thought you were overacting a little.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenFreak View Post
    OK, is it just too snarky to suggest that 50 years of experience would make for a roughly seventy year old sales assistant? Are there many of those?
    Snarkey Snark, lol. 50 years – isn’t that the most appropriate hyperbole ever?

    Quote Originally Posted by Primrose View Post
    It is ironic that the SAs look down their noses at customers as they happen to be selling items that they themselves, forthe most part, could not afford
    Interesting observation there. I think I’ve seen that before too. I secretly suspect that most of the girls/lady-boys working at Sephora arrive in the morning without any makeup on and spend a decent chunk of what they make right back on the stuff they sell!
    NEW SPLITS - By Kilian A Taste of Heaven and Beyond Love (full 50ml bottles). .

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  31. #31

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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    I don't know how some of the people at Sephora get hired. Its not by looks or makeup artistry skills judging by how they apply their own.
    Last edited by peppermua; 30th December 2009 at 12:02 PM.

  32. #32

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    I am a professional in retail purchasing, procurement and supply chain management.

    I had enough one day and wanted a break, after 10 years with one organisation.

    I took 2 months exploring central Europe on my push-bike. I returned to Australia determined to find a job I love.

    I am now an SA at the Airside duty free store at Melbourne airport. I get to meet interesting people from all walks of life, and talk about something I love all day.

    On the other hand I see a few of my colleagues in action, and sometimes cringe at their service, or attitude.

    So, I do see both sides, but what I find most annoying is when I am ignored or told where to go.

    I know some of us are not worth your time, but give it a go, we may just hit it off and find a great sharing of knowledge. Not to mention samples, and discounts.

    Just don’t be too quick to judge, or tar us all with the same brush, please.

    My 2 cents - Ed
    I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. Albert Einstein.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    As a fellow Australian, I agree that customer service regarding fragrance can be either good or bad here.

    Especially in Melbourne, when shopping in Myer (Melbourne Central), one will be surrounded by SAs watching your every move just in case you slip a tester into your bag when they're not looking. Many a time I've seen perfumes stolen from Myer and somehow these thieves have managed to get past the security gates and leave the store with their goods. Unfortunately because I'm young (19 years of age), SAs tend to be automatically suspicious of me.

    Whenever I set foot in small perfume boutiques in Melbourne where they stock a large variety of niche scents, the SAs tend to be very rude. They almost make me feel as if I shouldn't be in there to start with, like I wouldn't have the money to buy their products. Very shocked they are when I show that I do in fact have a wide knowledge of fragrance, especially niche lines at such a young age.

    I enjoy shopping for fragrances at David Jones, where one is left alone to shop at their own leisure and is given good and informative service when required. Klein's Perfumery is also wonderful, with such friendly and smiling staff. These stores encourage me to go back.
    Last edited by blood-orange; 25th January 2010 at 06:44 AM.

  34. #34

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by Master-Classter View Post
    Interesting observation there. I think I’ve seen that before too. I secretly suspect that most of the girls/lady-boys working at Sephora arrive in the morning without any makeup on and spend a decent chunk of what they make right back on the stuff they sell!
    We have a family member who works retail in a clothing store. I am sure, also, that a good amount of the paycheck goes right back to the company. Even with employee "discounts" (and anyone in retail knows the enormous markup for retail items), the totals add up and eat into the paycheck.

    Quote Originally Posted by jasper_244 View Post
    I am a professional in retail purchasing, procurement and supply chain management.

    I had enough one day and wanted a break, after 10 years with one organisation.

    I took 2 months exploring central Europe on my push-bike. I returned to Australia determined to find a job I love.

    I am now an SA at the Airside duty free store at Melbourne airport. I get to meet interesting people from all walks of life, and talk about something I love all day.

    On the other hand I see a few of my colleagues in action, and sometimes cringe at their service, or attitude.

    So, I do see both sides, but what I find most annoying is when I am ignored or told where to go.

    I know some of us are not worth your time, but give it a go, we may just hit it off and find a great sharing of knowledge. Not to mention samples, and discounts.

    Just don’t be too quick to judge, or tar us all with the same brush, please.

    My 2 cents - Ed
    What a great story on your travels! I am sure this was very therapeutic and refreshing.

    *Some* SAs might think they are doing a service, but I--for one thing--do not like hovering about of a salesperson. I am an informed shopper, and I will summon an SA if I need help.

    The worst thing is a hovering SA who is finally asked for help--and he gives a really ignorant or arrogant response. How disappointing, not to mention infuriating. See Brielle's note on this. Sales clerks with attitude...

    And, no, I do *not* paint all SAs with the same brush. Great customer service, a helpful attitude and politeness are appreciated. I buy enough perfume (not to mention other things) to know a good SA from a bad one. Perfume, esp. the finer ones, are not cheap, and I insist on professional courtesy and expertise.

    Some months ago, I was looking for Narciso Rodriguez for Her, so I asked an SA--who was spackled with enought foundation to make her look like a mannequin, and enought eye makeup to suggest she was singing the soprano lead at some opera production. She sniffed and said, "No, we do not." That was all. A good SA would have said, "No, ma'am, we do not but I would be happy to show some scents to you that you might find to your liking. Please let me know if you are interested." (The sad think is that the SA was young and the loads of makeup make her look like a stage actress...)

    And I did work retail some years ago myself. I treated customers as I wished to be treated--with politeness and an attitude of helpfulness and as much expertise as I could must. If I could not help the customer, I offered to find someone who could.
    Last edited by Primrose; 25th January 2010 at 01:00 PM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  35. #35

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    SA's world over seem to have the same disease. I once had a Chanel SA rise up to her full height (and weight) and inform me that no way in the world did No 19 have anything of jasmine in it. Her statement was in response to a comment I had just made about No 19 and jasmine. She had not been particularly helpful up to that point anyway, and you can be sure I did not buy anything from that counter.

    I also had a very funny experience with another know-it-all SA. This one was a he. He's some kind of make up artist with Eliz Arden, and when I asked about testing EA's Red Door Velvet, he was pleased to inform me that it's a CHIPPER. Took me a few seconds to grasp that he meant CHYPRE. No, I didn't bother to correct him. I just went on my way with a big smile on my face.

  36. #36

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by VintageVogue View Post
    I also had a very funny experience with another know-it-all SA. This one was a he. He's some kind of make up artist with Eliz Arden, and when I asked about testing EA's Red Door Velvet, he was pleased to inform me that it's a CHIPPER. Took me a few seconds to grasp that he meant CHYPRE. No, I didn't bother to correct him. I just went on my way with a big smile on my face.
    ROTFL!
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Once again, in different words.

    If you work at a fragrance store you directly represent the owner(s) in any dialog with the customer. If they wouldn't approve of any inappropriate attitude you display or verbalize, you should not do it. If the owners would approve, then the customer should turn around and walk out of that crap store.
    Last edited by kbe; 26th January 2010 at 01:29 AM.
    Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell

  38. #38

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    I had a ridiculous experience last week when we were in Miami at the Bal Harbour Neiman Marcus. At the Creed counter, I wanted to try several scents I'd never sniffed. I had the most ridiculous SA- it was actually funny.

    She started speeling off "This was created in 1872 for the Queen of Hungary after her husband left her and she finally found happiness with a lover" - I think she was referring to Jasmine Imperatrice Eugenie...I then wanted to try Aqua Fiorentina ( I live in a perfume wasteland so I never get to try anything!) which I did. I said it was too cedar-y...she said "Cedar?! No, I'm sorry but it's simply not possible that you are smelling cedar. That is in the base and there is no way you are there yet. No, not cedar"

    I mentioned I loved Fleurs de Bulgarie- which she kept correcting me as Fleurs de BULGARE...so she told me I would like the Jasmine Imperatrice...which I didn't, but, she kept insisting I would because I like those "chypre perfumes".

    The best part was how haughty and angry she was! As soon as she realized I was not going to buy a flacon of anything she dropped me like a hot potato. I was telling mikeperez about her- he knew EXACTLY who I was talking about. She was so ridiculous she made me LOL but I honestly feel sorry for anyone seeking any authentic perfume information!

    THE BEST PART: I then meandered down to the Chanel boutique where I proceeded to tell the SA there how much I adore the Exclusifs, how I wish I could have the entire collection (poor DH nearly catatonic by this point)..that they were so beautiful to smell and look at. I spritzed myself with Bois des Iles while she disappeared. She came back with a mini of Bois de Iles (the one in the cute little book!) and just GAVE IT TO ME. I nearly swooned. I had purchased nothing, but she said "No, no, keep it, I can tell you really love it".

    What a contrast. Amazing!

  39. #39

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Beautiful to receive a sample of Bois des Iles, out of the blue like that. They won't at my local boutique, I tried. It makes sense, when you (or DH) decide to buy, it may well be from this store.
    I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. Albert Einstein.

  40. #40

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by 3xasif View Post
    I had a ridiculous experience last week when we were in Miami at the Bal Harbour Neiman Marcus. At the Creed counter, I wanted to try several scents I'd never sniffed. I had the most ridiculous SA- it was actually funny.

    She started speeling off "This was created in 1872 for the Queen of Hungary after her husband left her and she finally found happiness with a lover" - I think she was referring to Jasmine Imperatrice Eugenie...I then wanted to try Aqua Fiorentina ( I live in a perfume wasteland so I never get to try anything!) which I did. I said it was too cedar-y...she said "Cedar?! No, I'm sorry but it's simply not possible that you are smelling cedar. That is in the base and there is no way you are there yet. No, not cedar"

    I mentioned I loved Fleurs de Bulgarie- which she kept correcting me as Fleurs de BULGARE...so she told me I would like the Jasmine Imperatrice...which I didn't, but, she kept insisting I would because I like those "chypre perfumes".

    The best part was how haughty and angry she was! As soon as she realized I was not going to buy a flacon of anything she dropped me like a hot potato. I was telling mikeperez about her- he knew EXACTLY who I was talking about. She was so ridiculous she made me LOL but I honestly feel sorry for anyone seeking any authentic perfume information!

    THE BEST PART: I then meandered down to the Chanel boutique where I proceeded to tell the SA there how much I adore the Exclusifs, how I wish I could have the entire collection (poor DH nearly catatonic by this point)..that they were so beautiful to smell and look at. I spritzed myself with Bois des Iles while she disappeared. She came back with a mini of Bois de Iles (the one in the cute little book!) and just GAVE IT TO ME. I nearly swooned. I had purchased nothing, but she said "No, no, keep it, I can tell you really love it".

    What a contrast. Amazing!
    OMG. I kinda tried it at the nearby chanel boutique, and the SAs merely gave me the "you're disturbing me, get the feck outta here if you're not buying" look and body language.

    if they ever offer me a sample for anything like what happened to you, pigs will fly over the sun and it will rain bacon.

  41. #41

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by joey86 View Post
    OMG. I kinda tried it at the nearby chanel boutique, and the SAs merely gave me the "you're disturbing me, get the feck outta here if you're not buying" look and body language.

    if they ever offer me a sample for anything like what happened to you, pigs will fly over the sun and it will rain bacon.
    I called a Chanel Boutique for information on their scents (not a Chanel counter at a department store, mind you) and the SA did not even know of Cuir de Russie, which I am trying to sample and research! And this is in a BOUTIQUE!

    This attitude is absurd for high-end items. To quote the wealthy customer in the film "Pretty Woman,": "I am willing to spend an obscene amount of money and I expect you to suck up to me."

    Well, I don't have tons of money, but I do require customer service!
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  42. #42

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    FYI, in Chicago even Oprah was snubbed at the Chanel boutique - she stopped in to shop wearing a track suit and they couldn't give her the time of day - she left, came back "dressed" and THEN did her shopping! (She shared this tidbit with her studio audience at a taping I attended)
    Last edited by ubuandibeme; 26th January 2010 at 02:50 PM.

  43. #43

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    The level of training and professional courtesy varies widely from store to store.

    The Chanel reps at one store may be totally clueless and surly, while at others, they will be willing to help with a vast amount of knowledge. I will drive some distance to get products I want (ore even persuade friends from out of state/country), just as I patronise restaurants with the foods I enjoy and the service I expect. Most recently, I was forced to buy products via mail order because the local reps did not even know the product...
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  44. #44
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Sometimes I wonder how a Basenoter might fare as an SA for a week...

  45. #45

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    I started behind a perfume counter when I was 16 (having worked in the same store, but in a different department before that). Used to walk to work to do the odd evening shift and weekends after school. I know that at that age, I was probably an ok SA, but certainly no expert. But right from the beginning, I tried to ask questions, learn, be polite and try to do my best.

    Although the store I started at was just a big hypermarket - not a fancy department store - I actually think I was better off starting there. Because when I moved onwards and upwards over the years, the 'finer' the store, the shittier the staff became. There was one notable exception - a central London store I moonlighted in as a make-up artist in during college - where both staff and customers had a certain refined calmness about them. Well, there were a few dickheads on both sides, but aren't there everywhere?

    But another famous London department store made me get so sick of beauty retail that I was almost put off for life. I certainly didn't want to be considered 'one of them' because the vibe I got was extremely snooty, yet air-headed, embittered, ignorant... I still shudder just to think what it would be like to still be surrounded by people like that every day. I can't think of a scenario where that would have happened though. I got out and would have done no matter what.

    There were some exceptional sales assistants, make-up artists and beauty experts along the way, but I have to say the vast majority of people behind those counters made me feel depressed.

    What Brielle said has a lot of truth in it.

  46. #46
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    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Seems to be a global phenomenon. Majority of the SAs behind cosmetics and fragrance counters do seem to have that snooty air about them; some would even scowl at customers! I agree with Primrose but training can only do so much. Most of the time it boils down to 'attitude'. But is this 'attitude' acquired from time spent behind these counters or what they started out with?

  47. #47

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Last year I had an SA at Nordstroms (San Diego) tell me that Antaeus was Chanel's "newly released masculine fragrance".

  48. #48

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    thank goodness I only shop online!

  49. #49

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Perhaps fragrance SA's should be required to possess a Basenotes membership for more than 1 year and a minimum of 200 posts.

    Knowledgeable SA's are few and far between. Anyone else notice a correlation between less aggressiveness and greater knowledge?

  50. #50

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by joey86 View Post
    OMG. I kinda tried it at the nearby chanel boutique, and the SAs merely gave me the "you're disturbing me, get the feck outta here if you're not buying" look and body language.

    if they ever offer me a sample for anything like what happened to you, pigs will fly over the sun and it will rain bacon.
    LOL!! at raining bacon!

    I nearly fell over when she offered it. I had asked about Bois des Iles parfum (if they had any...I wasn't sure if I was ready to pull the trigger but I was thinking about it) and she felt badly that they had none. I admit I was pretty much fawning all over the Exclusifs...and, if kissing some SA butt gets me samples and minis, then I will kiss away. I am not too proud!

    In my years working in retail perfume, I always gave samples to kind and genuinely interested folks. If they had snooty attitude and acted like they knew more than I did, I usually walked away. I worked for the perfume agency not the store though so that was easier.

    My advice, always act you want to buy. That said, if I see the SA has someone who has their CC out and ready to buy big, I will step aside

  51. #51

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by 3xasif View Post
    LOL!! at raining bacon!

    I nearly fell over when she offered it. I had asked about Bois des Iles parfum (if they had any...I wasn't sure if I was ready to pull the trigger but I was thinking about it) and she felt badly that they had none. I admit I was pretty much fawning all over the Exclusifs...and, if kissing some SA butt gets me samples and minis, then I will kiss away. I am not too proud!

    In my years working in retail perfume, I always gave samples to kind and genuinely interested folks. If they had snooty attitude and acted like they knew more than I did, I usually walked away. I worked for the perfume agency not the store though so that was easier.

    My advice, always act you want to buy. That said, if I see the SA has someone who has their CC out and ready to buy big, I will step aside
    I always try to act dumb and then be very sweet, as I might get some samples of something. I, too, am not TOO proud, LOL! The SAs ALWAYS have samples of something-or-another behind the counter and being pleasant can get them to give you a handful.

    And it's always OK to *ask* for samples, too. It's like ordering fast food at the drive-up--they don't always put in condiment packets unless you ask...

    Being *too* expert can be a disadvantage if the SA has an inferiority complex...
    Last edited by Primrose; 29th January 2010 at 06:46 PM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  52. #52

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Since I reported a negative experience above, it's only fair to report a positive one. This concerns the Chanel Boutique in Dallas, TX. Debra, a very helpful Chanel SA, waited on my husband a couple years ago when he made a purchase on my behalf there. She not only was very friendly and cordial, but she also included three samples of the Les Exclusifs line in addition to a booklet and some other goodies. So major kudos to Debra for being what a great SA should be.

  53. #53

    Default Re: One thing not to do if you're SA or owner of a perfume store

    Quote Originally Posted by 3xasif View Post
    LOL!! at raining bacon!

    I nearly fell over when she offered it. I had asked about Bois des Iles parfum (if they had any...I wasn't sure if I was ready to pull the trigger but I was thinking about it) and she felt badly that they had none. I admit I was pretty much fawning all over the Exclusifs...and, if kissing some SA butt gets me samples and minis, then I will kiss away. I am not too proud!

    In my years working in retail perfume, I always gave samples to kind and genuinely interested folks. If they had snooty attitude and acted like they knew more than I did, I usually walked away. I worked for the perfume agency not the store though so that was easier.

    My advice, always act you want to buy. That said, if I see the SA has someone who has their CC out and ready to buy big, I will step aside

    yeah on my sampling adventures, whenever i see the SAs busy with customers i always tend to avoid so that they might get a sale :P but i do have a question: if you work as a SA for perfumes will your bosses screw you if you gave out too much samples? Or is there a certain quota? because me and jonny4 have discussed this before (we're from the same country) and it seems that they only give samples out to purchasing customers and none to potential ones and there may be a certain quota to reach before they're allowed to give samples off....

    now i feel sad

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