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  1. #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.

  2. #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.

  3. #33
    blood-orange's Avatar
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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.

  4. #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 elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

  5. #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.

  6. #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 elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

  7. #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.
    "Are you a god?"
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    Currently wearing: Aramis by Aramis

  8. #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!
    beauty guru & perfume whisperer
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  9. #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.

  10. #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.

  11. #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 elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

  12. #42
    ubuandibeme's Avatar
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    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.

  13. #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 elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

  14. #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...

  15. #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.

  16. #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?

  17. #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".

  18. #48

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

    thank goodness I only shop online!

  19. #49
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    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?

  20. #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
    beauty guru & perfume whisperer
    dalybeauty.ca
    twitter @daly_beauty

  21. #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 elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel

  22. #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.

  23. #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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