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  1. #1
    Basenotes Member Caius's Avatar
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    Default Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    I'm asking because whenever I go to the mall I also stop by and get as many samples as I can. Like today I was in Sephora buying two fragrances I previously got samples of. I don't think it would be an issue but the guy said the limit is two.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    It's rude to just come right out and ask for samples. But it's part of the game to act like you're a serious buyer, and coax the samples out of them. Just a little working over and the generally excellent SA's at better department stores will load you up with good stuff. For bonus points, buy something, and you'll be set with samples for a long time.

  3. #3
    Basenotes Member Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    I had Givenchy Pi and Prada Amber in my hand to purchase and he still insisted on only two samples.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caius View Post
    I had Givenchy Pi and Prada Amber in my hand to purchase and he still insisted on only two samples.
    What a cheapass. Terrible. You need to shop in other stores. Might complain to management, too. The SA was the rude one here.

  5. #5
    Basenotes Member Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    That's what I figured. I'm so non confrontational so I didn't press further when he "insisted". I've been to the store before and a girl who worked there gave me like five and actually wrote the names on the ziploc.

  6. #6
    Dependent mikesc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    I just limit it to two at Sephora. At Nordsroms I fill up as many as I want. They have little 2ml decants out.

  7. #7
    Dependent Oupavoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    imo if you go straight and ask if you havent sampled anything then yes, but if your sampling and are intrigued by the scent then no.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    The SA's at Nordstrom's at Mall of America in Minneapolis, give as many samples as you ask for. They also mailed me a few samples a couple of weeks later. Stores that aren't generous with samples are just hurting their sales.

    The most I've ever asked for is 3.
    Last edited by Kiliwia; 15th March 2012 at 01:33 AM.

  9. #9
    Basenotes Member Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    I can't smell on paper because it smells off to me. I've never understood that. I usually read reviews and go over the notes and then spray it on my skin.

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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caius View Post
    I can't smell on paper because it smells off to me. I've never understood that. I usually read reviews and go over the notes and then spray it on my skin.
    The paper method never works for me either. Putting it on and wearing it 2 or 3 times is the only way to know if it's something I want to invest in.

  11. #11
    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    I've found the fancier the store, the more samples they give, especially if you seem knowledgeable and interested and spend some time with the clerk. There often seems to be an unwritten rule that you need to purchase at least $100 worth, though. (I have been given a single sample at Sephora for a smaller purchase.) I have never actually asked for them but have been given as many as a dozen samples of top stuff, sometimes worth more than my purchase. I usually shop right after work and it seems to help to be wearing a suit.

    Pretty much everything smells dreadful sprayed on paper at first because it is mostly alcohol right out of the bottle. A better method is to mark down the names and take them home with you, to sniff after a few hours or, even better, use a sample.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Just left Chicago last week with many, many, many samples! Most definitely not rude if you at least show genuine interest in the product.
    "The most beautiful sea hasnít been crossed yet. The most beautiful child hasnít grown up yet. The most beautiful days we havenít seen yet. And the most beautiful words I wanted to tell you... I havenít said yetÖ"
    -Nazim Hikmet Ran

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    I suppose it depends on the stores in your area, but here you can just ask for samples without schmoozing with the SA-- they have a policy of giving them, period. And it's not rude at all. Three samples at Sephora and..I don't know how many at Nordstrom because I've never asked for more than 2 or 3 at any one time.



  14. #14
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    I just ask haha but I tend to feel bad, and never more than two at a time.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    It's very simple.

    1) Buy something
    2) Ask for as many samples as your heart desires

    I have left Barneys with 12+ samples. I leave Aedes with 7 hand-decanted samples of anything I want if I give them a little notice. Do not be shy. Sampling is key to successful buying.

    It also helps to consistently go back to the same stores. They will get to you know and what you like.

  16. #16
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Some places are more generous than others. If they offer samples I will take them, but usually don't ask for them when I make a purchase.

  17. #17
    Dependent Oupavoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    It's very simple.

    1) Buy something
    2) Ask for as many samples as your heart desires

    I have left Barneys with 12+ samples. I leave Aedes with 7 hand-decanted samples of anything I want if I give them a little notice. Do not be shy. Sampling is key to successful buying.

    It also helps to consistently go back to the same stores. They will get to you know and what you like.
    I have to agree with this, sampling is the only way to try different scent, and if they have it, why spend the money ordering sample from LS or TPC.

  18. #18
    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    I've also seen clerks in Saks greet repeat customers by first name, sell them something that has just come in, and then bury them in new samples. It certainly makes sense in terms of sales and the store doesn't pay for the samples. I think you just have to show that you are a serious customer not out just for freebies. Some of the Sephora stores I have been to seem to be mobbed with young kids more interested in getting free sprays than actually buying something so the clerks probably get a bit cautious.

  19. #19
    Basenotes Member Caius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    ^ Probably because I look 16 lol

  20. #20
    Basenotes Junkie Profumo Saggio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    i don't have a Sephora or Nordstrom's locally, but living in Iowa, we have Von Maur, which is a very nice upper scale chain similar to Nordstrom's. I have bought several fragrances at the local store and frequently swing through to see if anything interesting has come in. I've gotten to know a couple of the female SA's quite well and all the SA's know about my "hobby". Because of this I almost always leave with several samples. Last purchase I made there was Bleu and I walked out with the fragrance, a nice Burberry weekend bag, a .5 oz Jaipur Homme EdP spray and four or five small samples. Taking the time to cultivate relationships does pay off.

    That being said, I never find myself asking for samples when I visit other department stores unless I've spent some time looking at several different fragrances and they have something I'd really like to try.
    I don't have a signature fragrance. My signature changes a little bit every day, why shouldn't my fragrance?
    Currently wearing: H.M. by Hanae Mori

  21. #21
    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post

    I have left Barneys with 12+ samples. I leave Aedes with 7 hand-decanted samples of anything I want if I give them a little notice. Do not be shy. Sampling is key to successful buying.
    I didn't think Barneys even sold as many as 12 different brands.

  22. #22
    Dependent rubegon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Quote Originally Posted by BurgundyMarsh View Post
    I didn't think Barneys even sold as many as 12 different brands.
    Barney's has more niche brands than any other department store I've ever seen.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    I've never had any problems asking for samples at Sephora or Nordstrom. I remember the first time I asked for samples at Sephora I felt self conscious requesting five decants so I apologized to the SA. She just laughed and told me not to worry about it. She said the company understands that purchasing a fragrance is a difficult decision and decanting samples is just part of their customer service.

    I've also found Nordstrom to be generous with decants and manufacturer samples. Recently, I decided on my next fragrance purchase so I returned to Nordstrom to buy it. The SA remembered me coming in for samples and was very appreciative that I had returned. When I told him I also wanted to purchase a travel atomizer along with my fragrance he included it at no charge. Granted, the atomizer had been opened and the package was missing but it was, nonetheless, brand new.

    As long as these businesses continue to treat me well I'll continue to patronize them even if it means paying slightly more for purchases.

    BTW, if your Nordstrom has a Bond No. 9 counter be sure to stop by and chat up the SA or, on weekends, the company rep. Chances are you'll be rewarded with several samples without even asking

  24. #24
    Dependent Birdboy48's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    It can't hurt to develop a relationship with SAs. When I first was given samples at the stand-alone shop I go to, I wrote them a nice card thanking them when I got home. It turned out later that one of the SAs there was growing the same sort of flowers that I do hybridizing work with, and I sent her some starts at the right time of year. I got a massive box of samples in the mail from her later, and we've been friends ever since.

    But yeah, if I'm at a place where they don't know me, I find myself a little embarrassed to ask for samples if I'm not buying something. Which is often the case.

  25. #25
    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Quote Originally Posted by rubegon View Post
    Barney's has more niche brands than any other department store I've ever seen.
    The Neiman Marcus that's in the same mall as our local Barney's has many more niche brands than that Barney's and a much better selection overall but it could be that we are only getting a reduced Barney's selection up here. The Barney's website is better but still fairly limited compared to something like Luckyscent or even our local Saks. Haven't really compared Nordstrom's.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Barneys is a carefully curated store. They tend not to stock entire lines but only what they think are the best from various lines. Having said that, I'm only familiar with the Madison Ave location, and their selection is outstanding.

    Other dept stores are better if you want everything. E.g., Bergdorf Goodman has the full lines for Creed, Amouage, Guerlain, Annick Goutal, Clive Crackerjax, etc., ad nauseum.

  27. #27
    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Our Barney's seems to really only have Malle (which you can't get anywhere else) and doesn't really promote men's fragrances. We must have a Bergdorf Goodman somewhere but I have never been there.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Always depends who I've spoken with. There used to be an SA at the Sephora by my office that was clearly an enthusiast like us and I would end up spending a lot of time there just talking about different frags, even layering etc, and would always leave with plenty of samples. I also had a purchasing history there but didn't necessarily need to purchase anything each time I went in, and still left with samples. I've yet to visit Nordstrom but from the sounds of everyone else's experiences, I'm dying to make a stop now. Would love to get a list together beforehand of must-try frags I haven't had the privilege of sampling yet.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Quote Originally Posted by BurgundyMarsh View Post
    Our Barney's seems to really only have Malle (which you can't get anywhere else) and doesn't really promote men's fragrances. We must have a Bergdorf Goodman somewhere but I have never been there.
    If you are referring to the Barney's at Copley, their fragrance department is certainly smaller than that on Madison Avenue but they do carry a limited selection of perfumes of various brands. Last summer when we last were there I saw Lutens, Rosine, TDC, L'Artisan, Byredo, Kai, DelRae, Diptyque and i Profumi di Firenze there that I can recall, and perhaps others as well that I have forgotten about. But not every scent.

    This Barneys does not give out samples (and won't let you decant any)-- the sole exception being Malle carded samples --and they are careful about giving those out. One or two, max.

    Now at the Prudential Mall that connects to Copley by enclosed, over-street bridge, there is Saks with a wonderful Guerlain department, among others.



  30. #30
    Dependent rubegon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is It Rude To Ask for Samples at Nordstrom & Sephora?

    Quote Originally Posted by BurgundyMarsh View Post
    The Neiman Marcus that's in the same mall as our local Barney's has many more niche brands than that Barney's and a much better selection overall but it could be that we are only getting a reduced Barney's selection up here. The Barney's website is better but still fairly limited compared to something like Luckyscent or even our local Saks. Haven't really compared Nordstrom's.
    I see that my experience isn't really representative. I've only been to Barney's in Beverly Hills, and Neiman and Saks in Texas. No Nordstrom that I've been to is that great - they have lots of designer stuff and Jo Malone. From that, Barney's looked like perfume heaven - Malle (with the sniffing booths), Lutens, L'Artisan, Diptyque, Acqua di Parma, and a lot of others that I didn't have time to look at.

    No department store I've seen compares to a place like Luckyscent or Aedes, though (haven't been to Bergdorf). The Scent Bar in LA was the coolest perfume shopping experience I've had. Oh - and they give you free samples - up to four I think.
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