OK lots to say here, I actually am a SA in fragrances and I will gladly to battle with any blow up doll you throw at me.
First, to the OP's question, Yes, she is crazy and yes there is some validity to what she's saying
In general, that is the general public, guys that buy A*Men and the flankers are older. In general most people that come to a cologne counter have never heard of Basenotes and aren't as passionate about fragrance as most of the people that are on this board. So, for her to say older guys usually buy TM frags is true, but I think she was a little off with Mugler Cologne and from what she is saying about the line, she probably doesn't care too much for any of it.
One thing I might add is that perhaps this was a slow day for her and she was just bored and maybe she thought the OP was a bit cute and was just making the typical sales conversation a bit more interesting. Since she is middle aged maybe she wants to relive some of her youth and can't stand that her husband has worn the same old cologne for 30 years. Who knows but she is crazy when she exclaimed her disgust about not wanting to smell like tobacco to a customer. Perhaps she has seen you in the store before (this is probably the case since you said you remember her and she has been there awhile) and thought since she has helped you before she can be more open about her opinions. I do this myself, but it is normally with customers that I am on a first name basis with. Whatever the case, OP, don't be discouraged in the least and wear your TM frags with pride
When I first started working at my store I was pretty shocked that other than a modicum of training for the register there was no real training. Also, at one time I was on call for all cosmetics. So, one day I would work in Clinique and the next day a different cosmetic counter and then I'd grab as many hours as I could in fragrances. So, yes, for many people you encounter it is just a job, but for some of us it is also a passion.
And maybe we need to turn the tables around for you to see things more from our side of things. As I said before the majority of customers that come to me have never heard of BN, fragrantica or the like so some of them are uninformed and downright stupid. I have had customers that tell me what they think they want, but have no idea what they are talking about. Like the one who said they wanted something light and fresh and I went thru the typical things like D&G LB, Acqua, etc. and what did they end up buying - A*Men... I kid you not... and then there are the ones that sniff a card for 1/4 of a second and immediately make a judgement. I even heard a customer say that the best way to try a fragrance is to taste it, so he sprayed 2 times in his mouth... it was one of the few times I was speechless at my job.
My point is that when you come to a new SA you are testing the waters to see how much we know, and we are doing the same exact thing to you. When I realize I am talking to someone who actually has an informed opinion about cologne I can let my guard down a little and really talk frags with them. But if you walk in with your guard up and already have the opinion that all SA's are idiots, then chances are your not going to get good service.
Now, I give the benefit of the doubt a lot and I have been burned too, I was talking to one SA at a big store and asked her if they had any of the Givenchy fragrances, naturally pronouncing it in the correct French, she countered back to me with "It's pronounced GUH-vin-chee." I stared at her for a second, said "thank you" and walked out. I have my limits as well
Last edited by SteelerOpera; 23rd April 2013 at 08:59 AM. Reason: fixed many spelling errors
'Those who grow too big for their pants will be exposed in the end'--anon
Thank you SteelOpera, very interesting and informative reply. IT's nice to have an SA in our midst to get a different side of things and clarify some perceptions/ misperceptions ppl may have about perfume and cologne shopping.
I love ANGEL MEN.. it last forever on the clothes and 16 hrs or longer on my skin.. just ordered a bottle yesterday again...
also does anyone think interlude man is just to strong?
I had this problem once; the SA refused to let me sample Egoiste because it was "too old man." Ended up blind buying it and loving it, and I'm not quite sure what is old man about it. She could have made a sale that day.
Lot of sales associates are not very bright and most don't even have a passion for fragrances, they are just there to get paid. I always just ask what I need or if they start following me , I just tell them , If I need your help I will ask for it.
Is it bad that I cackled while reading some of the replies in this thread?
There are a lot of older men who like to look younger and perhaps interested to attract younger women, so they would drive sports cars and wear fragrances that may appeal more to younger generation.
Because generally flower is associated with good smelling and tobacco is associated with the smell that gets you lung cancer.
I think if a 50+ year old man walked by me and I smell A*men on him, I would literally stop, turn around, and think seriously about asking him what he was wearing just to be sure.
MOST SA are really bad. Recently at Macys a store associate asked if I smelled the "new" D&G Light Blue Island edition. I said no. He sprayed it and it didn't smell like anything special. I asked to see the box and it was Living Stromboli but he said that they called it Island edition. I also stated that it wasn't new and he said that it was new last season and still new because this is only the second season they had it.
Another SA asked if I ever smelled John Varvatos. I said yes but may I smell JPG Le Beau since I never smelled it before. He then said "President Obama wears John Varvatos" and continued to hand me John Varvatos. I said no thanks, I have sampled it several times already. Then he starts to hand my JV Artisan?? I had to cut him off and say, look whatever your trying to push, stop. Show me the JPG Le Beau or I will find someone that will. He then showed it to me and didn't say another word.
Another recent runnin with a SA also was bad. I asked to smell ADG Essenza. She showed it to me. I then asked her if she new what the notes were or what was different about it than ADG. She took a box out, put on her glass and started trying to read the ingredients. She couldn't even pronounce them lol.
Bottom line is SA usually don't know much about fragrances, don't seem to be enthusiastic about what there selling, and seem to push certain fragrances.
And D&G did try to change the name of Living Stromboli in the states since hardly anyone (including me) knew it was an Island off the coast of Sicily so even though the boxes still say Living Stromboli in the computer it says Island edition or something.
Look at my long response above to try and tell the difference between a model and a SA. And if you're unsure about someone's knowledge feel free to ask the person how long they have been working at the fragrance counter. Believe it or not we sometimes have sick days, can't come into work and there may be a newbie behind the counter. There are good SA's out there, but if you go in with the attitude that you will never find one, chances are you will always have the same result.
A lot of the people on this blog are very rude I have noticed. She was giving her opinion. And when she said only old people bought it, that is an observation. From someone who has worked behind a counter before not just a wannabe expert as some of you are. We see what people buy, the SA is their for 40 hours a week. If they tell you old man buy it, that's what they see. If you think your SA has no trainig go to another retailer. Some retailers enforce their fragrance SA have training like SEPHORA, or Nordstrom.
I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the second-largest city in the state behind (of course) Indianapolis. The folks at the sole local Macy's at Glenbrook Square mall (second-largest in the state... see a pattern?) know me by name and know me quite well, so it's apparently a store-level problem and not a regional or national-level problem. Macy's tends to do the most merchandise localization of the major fragrance retailers (and not just in fragrances), which is a large reason why you see some brands at some Macy's stores but not others.
As for the Glenbrook Macy's that I shop at: Carmen, the lead SA in the men's fragrance department, is always knowledgable, as are most of the other SAs. I also know the vendor reps for several companies, most notably Kathy, the Elizabeth Arden rep (she sells both women's and men's fragrances for their multiple brands). There are also vendor reps for Coty (Calvin Klein), Clarins (Azzaro, Mugler, Boucheron, Mont Blanc, Prada, and Paco Rabanne), L'Oreal (Armani, Ralph Lauren, and YSL - three heavy hitters), P&G (Gucci, D&G, and Lacoste), and Chanel (need I say more?) men's fragrances that are dedicated to this store (and to their customers). And after four years without a rep here, Beauté Prestige International may add one again because of the Burberry and Ferregamo wins. All in all, the Macy's SAs and models at the local store know me quite well as well and do an excellent job.
There is a Von Maur here as well, at Jefferson Pointe on the other end of town. Von Maur has good SAs (including a really good dedicated one for Chanel fragrances, skincare, and cosmetics) and dedicated vendor reps for Bvlgari (the #1 fragrance brand at the store) and Clarins (same brands as Macy's). There is also a Sephora inside the Glenbrook JCPenney; the selection is limited compared to a full-size Sephora, but there are scents that are hard to find elsewhere locally like Azzaro Pour Homme Night Time, Dior Homme, Nautica Aqua Rush, and Fahrenheit. In Sephora tradition, it's all non-commissioned SAs. Ulta has a store here in Jefferson Pointe close to Von Maur, but they fired their lone fragrance guru long ago. And there is a Perfumania at Glenbrook for those of you who know what you want and are looking for discounted prices on your smelly stuff as well.
But the competition is about to get more intense here in Fort Wayne. Carson's (a Bon-Ton company) is opening a store in a long-vacant former Marshall Field's (for those of you who live or used to live in Chicagoland, you'll get the irony) at Glenbrook in September. The building is being gutted to the bone and totally revamped, and I've heard some rumors that Shiseido cosmetics may switch doors in the mall from Macy's to Carson's (among other moves). Carson's does employ models: when I shopped at a Carson's in Terre Haute once (it was still an Elder-Beerman at the time), they did have a model on the floor, and the Carson's at Westfield Southlake always had a model of some sort before I moved here.
As for Thierry Mugler being for old guys: No way! Good scents transcend age. I'm in my 20s, and I wear A*Men quite often. And one of my coworkers is also an A*Men loyalist (yes, he wears it to our ad agency - but as I've said before, it's a polo shirt and jeans agency, not a Mad Men agency), and he's hardly an old guy. In fact, I think it fits his personality perfectly (he also owns the Pure Leather flanker, which smells amazing on him). Most of the time I smell A*Men on others here, it's on people like me in their 20s and 30s, but one of my close friends is in his 50s and loves A*Men as well. Still, the old guys here (and there are many) mostly wear stuff like Aramis (still a strong seller locally), Polo original, and Old Spice.
Top 5 for Winter:
1) Straight to Heaven - By Kilian
2) Back to Black - By Kilian
3) Musk Oud - By Kilian
4) Encre Noire - Lalique
5) M7 (vintage or Oud Absolu) - YSL
My mission statement: "I am not afraid to keep on living - I am not afraid to walk this world alone."
Who else shops in macy's? Old people, tourists and students.
Buy what you like.