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  1. #1
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    Default Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    "Are you looking to buy for yourself or...?"

    Why does it really matter who I buy it for? It still sells for the same price, doesn't it?


    "What kind of scents are you looking for? Fresh...?"

    No. I'm actually looking for a masculine in a classic chypre structure, one with perhaps a little more depth and excellent sillage. Can you help?


    These are hypothetical responses of course. Most of the time I usually smile and play along, or act 'dumb'. Yeah, I know. I try hard not to be such a grouch but its hard sometimes.... They usually leave me alone to browse after that. Any other irritating questions you've heard at the stores?
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 27th January 2010 at 05:39 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Both these open ended questions are posed just to engage you.

    Aside for the occasional SA who regurgitates INCORRECT information, I am often more irritated at what I overhear the CUSTOMER saying... often their self-appreciating sense of aloofness is just, embarrassing!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Let's face it - perfume geeks like us are still the 'underground' of perfume buyers worldwide. I am hopeful that one day we'll be a little bit larger in number; a little more widespread, but for the time being at least, don't take it personally when a SA is just trying to talk to you and do their job. Most of the general public doesn't know about perfume categories, what osmanthus or cedar or oud or indole smell like; most have a vague idea of "sweet" or "fresh" or "what's on offer?" or "what's new?" or "nothing strong, please" and you have to ask gentle, basic questions to get anywhere at all.

    So these types of questions aren't designed to piss perfume geeks off even though that's what they end up doing.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    I'm now a perfume geek.. Damn you, Basenotes!

    But I agree with Dmitri and Nukapai, that's why I usually smile and play along. I know those questions are the 'standard routine' questions. But allow me to clarify. It's more of the way they ask those questions and the body language (the way they hover over you), like they can't wait for you to make your mind up, take a decision, buy some perfumes and get the hell out. I just wish they would just smile and say, "Please take your time, help yourself. I'll be here if you need any help, ok?" and then stand aside.
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 27th January 2010 at 05:53 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Once, a SA asked me if I'm not too young- I was over 20 back then- for a certain frag, thinking that my biological age automatically disqualifies me from buying a classic, yet unaware of the fact that far more elderly peers of mine actually prefer more youthful frags than me.
    Currently wearing: Citrus & Wood by Yardley

  6. #6

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Well, hovering over customers never makes them feel comfortable. That's just poor sales technique.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    "Just how many colognes do you own?"

  8. #8

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    "Please take your time, help yourself. I'll be here if you need any help, ok?" and then stand aside.
    This is the technique that gets me more sales.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirSlarty
    "Just how many colognes do you own?"
    LOL.

    I love when people tell me they have "loads" of perfume. They usually mean 5 bottles, which by most peoples standards is a lot... but not by ours

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    I'm now a perfume geek.. Damn you, Basenotes!

    But I agree with Dmitri and Nukapai, that's why I usually smile and play along. I know those questions are the 'standard routine' questions. But allow me to clarify. It's more of the way they ask those questions and the body language (the way they hover over you), like they can't wait for you to make your mind up, take a decision, buy some perfumes and get the hell out. I just wish they would just smile and say, "Please take your time, help yourself. I'll be here if you need any help, ok?" and then stand aside.
    Absolutely understand. I cannot stand being followed around the perfume section like I am going to steal something. SAs and I have done the goose chase right around all the perfume counters here ( currently in Asia ) - I couldn't lose them ,stuck like glue to my behind - actually I walked here and there really quickly to try and wind them up abit .They followed me so closely it was hilarious.
    Maybe I looked abit dubious ...............
    Last edited by Mimi Gardenia; 27th January 2010 at 10:29 PM.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Actually, I feel the same way but I totally understand. Basically they're trying to be helpful and point you in the right direction by asking what kind of a person you're looking for or if there's a certain type of fragrance at a high level you had in mind.

    I usually just say, "I've got a few ideas in mind and I'll just smell around and let you know if I need anything. Thanks."
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    I know these questions...."What do you wear now?" (I'm thinking, what day is it? What time of day? We have SOTD, SOTE, sometimes scent of the afternoon for Pete's sake!) "What kinds of fragrances do you like?" "Oh a semi woody oriental in cooler temperatures and sometimes a nice, crisp dry wood; definitely not classic soft floral and absolutely not a rich floral oriental." Usually their eyes glaze over by this time.

    Most SA's will ask me to try the latest whatever they are pushing, so I just ask them what the notes are in it. 9 times out of 10 they can't tell me, so I say, "No thank you." (Unless I want to try it, of course.)

    I like the SA's who ask me if I want to smell anything particular because usually I do.
    We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~Herman Melville

  12. #12

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    LOL! Perfume geeks, indeed!

    I think it's all in the marketing and sales of perfume. Sephora, for instance, has little brochures called "fragrance finders," where the prospective perfume buyer is asked things like, "Do you like relaxing at the oceanside?" or "Are you fun and flirty?" (These questions are for women) and also, "Do you prefer a rich, hearty steak?" or "Which movie do you prefer: drama, thriller or comedy?" (These are for men.) There are then recommended fragrance categories with samples of the "types" from which to make your choice.

    This, of course, is useless for the perfume geek...

    So--I believe the questions Diamondflame finds so odd and unusual are just opening questions from an SA to engage the propective buyer into shopping for a scent.

    No. I'm actually looking for a masculine in a classic chypre structure, one with perhaps a little more depth and excellent sillage. Can you help?


    What is the response to this on the average...from the average SA?

    (I am still getting over looking for Prada L'Eau Ambree and the SA saying, "We only have the Prada Milano." (Pointing to the boxes of Infusion d'Iris.)
    Last edited by Primrose; 27th January 2010 at 11:01 PM.
    "No elegance is possible without it...perfume is a part of you." Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
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  13. #13
    Dependent RHM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Quote Originally Posted by Primrose View Post
    LOL!
    SA saying, "We only have the Prada Milano." (Pointing to the boxes of Infusion d'Iris.)
    I saw this box at Sephora's, Primrose. It made me think of your posts & laugh.
    Classic!
    We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~Herman Melville

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Quote Originally Posted by Primrose View Post
    (I am still getting over looking for Prada L'Eau Ambree and the SA saying, "We only have the Prada Milano." (Pointing to the boxes of Infusion d'Iris.)
    I was told they had Prada Milano also - but it was in reference to Prada Infusion d'Homme.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    All of this is bringing back the horror of working at Sephora and other Cosmetic positions I had.

    I always hated the "training" sessions. This is where they would play games with us, as if we were 10 years old, and we needed to try and come up with great open ended "conversation starters".

    My goodness I hated working in the cosmetic/fragrance/beauty world so much!!!

    I was always the "I will be right over here, if you have any questions." type of Sales Associate. Which everyone in management/corporate hated. Even when "I" was the manager, the "powers that be" would tell me; "You need to be more pro-active(aggressive) in approaching clients, you need to set the proper tone for the staff."
    Oh yes, we needed to be shark-like and hunt the clients as if they were prey; I think not.

    Well, this will be another month of "therapy" to get me through the flashbacks from retail hell.
    Last edited by Brielle87; 28th January 2010 at 03:03 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    I always hated the "training" sessions. This is where they would play games with us, as if we were 10 years old, and we needed to try and come up with great open ended "conversation starters".
    I recoil when SAs are too pushy and intimate and try to engage you in a kind of personal conversation. This is what they're often taught at their trainings, usually based on US pop psychology and retail ideas. This can be practically offensive to customers from other cultures (and maybe in the US as well). Companies should try to realise this.

    I've translated some internal handbooks/training sessions for a couple of different companies, and most of those teach US sales tactics that would make potential customers over here uneasy, defensive and reluctant to buy anything.
    Last edited by tott; 28th January 2010 at 04:57 AM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    I don't mind the open-ended questions too much, although I usually can't think of any decent answers on the spot. The hovering DOES bother me sometimes. I had one horrible experience when I was browsing with a friend and the SA from the first counter literally followed us all around the floor from counter to counter informing all the other SAs that we were "only looking." If we had been planning to buy before, we certainly weren't going to after that. Maybe she was just having a bad day.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    LMAO. Prada Milano! Kinda cute though...

    Quote Originally Posted by Primrose View Post

    No. I'm actually looking for a masculine in a classic chypre structure, one with perhaps a little more depth and excellent sillage. Can you help?


    What is the response to this on the average...from the average SA?
    My guess would be this: "Huh?"

    I have never asked that question and probably never will, not unless I feel confident in the SA's ability to tackle it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Master-Classter View Post
    Actually, I feel the same way but I totally understand. Basically they're trying to be helpful and point you in the right direction by asking what kind of a person you're looking for or if there's a certain type of fragrance at a high level you had in mind.

    I usually just say, "I've got a few ideas in mind and I'll just smell around and let you know if I need anything. Thanks."
    Smooth reply. That's typically the kind of response I give, though perhaps not as eloquently put.

    Quote Originally Posted by tott View Post
    I recoil when SAs are too pushy and intimate and try to engage you in a kind of personal conversation. This is what they're often taught at their trainings, usually based on US pop psychology and retail ideas. This can be practically offensive to customers from other cultures (and maybe in the US as well). Companies should try to realise this.
    Excellent point. Aggressive sales tactics tend to turn off many Asians though they seem to be a little more receptive when the SAs are Caucasians.
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 28th January 2010 at 05:26 AM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    I'll buck the trend and just say "Aw, they're just trying to do their jobs. And they have no idea what to do with us perfume geeks."

    That being said, one that I've heard more than once that really ticks me off:

    Oh no, sir. That one's for women.
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    I too hate the "Are you looking to buy for yourself or...?" question. Most of the time I reply that I'm looking for myself which usually gets a strange look from the SA. My guess is that in small country towns people only buy fragrances as gifts.

    Another question that gets on my nerves, "Do you realise this is the body lotion not the perfume?". Well yes, I'm perfectly aware of that, 'body lotion' is clearly printed on the box.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    To be honest guys..I don't really care what they ask me, It's there job. They're obligated to be persistent and cognizant. So I guess like the rest of ya'll here, out of courtesy I respond amiably! As long as I get my answer I'm happy

    Cheers and take care all!

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  22. #22

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    I just wish they would just smile and say, "Please take your time, help yourself. I'll be here if you need any help, ok?" and then stand aside.
    Amen Diamond! Amen!! I always feel a bit weary when the SA's hover over me!
    - I Want To Appreciate You With My Eyes Closed-

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    May I respectfully suggest assuming that an unfamiliar SA is human until she/he proves otherwise? Maybe even have your own ice breaking question ready. I always hope the SA knows more about what's on her particular counter than I do. And I might want to ask for a sample.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Omg, rogalal. I got that so often, everytime I pick a female fragrance to sample. "But that's for women..."
    I have to lie and tell them I'm looking to buy for my girlfriend.

    Quote Originally Posted by ECaruthers View Post
    May I respectfully suggest assuming that an unfamiliar SA is human until she/he proves otherwise? Maybe even have your own ice breaking question ready. I always hope the SA knows more about what's on her particular counter than I do. And I might want to ask for a sample.
    Hope springs eternal, of course. And product knowledge is something anyone would expect from the SAs.
    Unfortunately, 1 out of 3 times the interaction goes something like this:-

    Me: "OK. So what you think of this perfume?"
    SA: ??? (looks confused)
    Me: Is it fresh, or sweet, or woodsy, smoky...?
    SA: (stares at the box, trying to find the answer)
    Me: It's ok. Do you have a sample?
    SA: No.
    Me: How about a tester?
    SA: (looks around, unable to find one)
    Me: How about you open this box and let me sample some?
    SA: Uh, hang on, let me check with the manager.

    Seriously, I probably need to have some valiums on standby...
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 28th January 2010 at 07:38 PM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    the most priceless comment ever was from a Guerlain SA when i wanted to test Shalimar: "noooo! that smells like old lady! may i recommend insolence instead?"

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    I'll buck the trend and just say "Aw, they're just trying to do their jobs. And they have no idea what to do with us perfume geeks."

    That being said, one that I've heard more than once that really ticks me off:

    Oh no, sir. That one's for women.
    When I try men's stuff in the US - I get no problems .
    Here in Asia- when I sprayed myself with Dior Homme- the SAs were horrified ....
    " But it's for men, it's a men's cologne, it's a men's perfume ,for men " ...
    "Thank you , I got the picture ,honey . " But I LIKE it, I will try it and I may buy it for me ."
    *shock ,horror * Psst. " something wrong with that lady "

    *LOL*
    Last edited by Mimi Gardenia; 29th January 2010 at 03:47 AM.
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Not irritating per se, but I always get the "You again?" "Oh man he's going to go through every single thing and possibly mess up the displays.". I've been known to spend 3-4 hours in some shops, my last 2 visits to a certain shop, I'd spent close to 5 hours digging. I am *not* exaggerating. Though I *always* buy something (usually much more than 1) each time. I can't ever remember when I haven't left with something. I am just glad in my case, these shop keepers/staff now know to just leave me by myself, as it works best for me, and them.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewfoo View Post
    Not irritating per se, but I always get the "You again?" "Oh man he's going to go through every single thing and possibly mess up the displays.". I've been known to spend 3-4 hours in some shops, my last 2 visits to a certain shop, I'd spent close to 5 hours digging. I am *not* exaggerating. Though I *always* buy something (usually much more than 1) each time. I can't ever remember when I haven't left with something. I am just glad in my case, these shop keepers/staff now know to just leave me by myself, as it works best for me, and them.
    LOL. Yup. The staff members at Jasina has wised up to me by now. The longer I spend at their store the more I tend to spend once I'm done... And both parties end up happy. A win-win situation for all concerned.

  29. #29
    Dependent

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    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    ^ DF, imagine a local BN gathering, and we went there all at once for a sniffaton(doesn't mean we need to spend)... hmmmm.... very messy..

  30. #30

    Default Re: Irritating questions asked at perfume stores...

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    "Are you looking to buy for yourself or...?"

    Why does it really matter who I buy it for? It still sells for the same price, doesn't it?


    "What kind of scents are you looking for? Fresh...?"

    No. I'm actually looking for a masculine in a classic chypre structure, one with perhaps a little more depth and excellent sillage. Can you help?


    These are hypothetical responses of course. Most of the time I usually smile and play along, or act 'dumb'. Yeah, I know. I try hard not to be such a grouch but its hard sometimes.... They usually leave me alone to browse after that. Any other irritating questions you've heard at the stores?
    Sounds like you are shopping at the wrong store. I don't go to the Hyundai dealer looking for a Mercedes.

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