Beauty Saleswomen: overly friendly or just plain pushy?

Photo Courtesy of The Glamorous Gleam

When you walk into your favorite beauty store, you expect excellent treatment from the employees. You expect them to be friendly, helpful, and knowledgable about the products they sell. But what happens if you feel like they are crossing the line and it no longer feels genuine?

I'm asking because I've had 2 incidents at the Macy's Beauty counter in Arden Fair Mall that have really bothered me. I've shopped there many times, but these 2 most recent scenarios stuck out to me. The first time was on my birthday in October. I was testing out the Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipsticks. One of the workers asked me if I needed help with anything. I said "no, I'm okay, thanks though", and I usually expect them to offer they help when they first see me. But then she asked again. And then again for the third time. And she kept staring at me as I was about to test the liquid lipstick and get a disposable lip wand. She offered it to me, and insisted that she apply it on my lips. I kept telling her, "no, it's okay, I will do it myself." 

The 2nd incident was last Friday when I was waiting for 45 minutes to get my brows waxed at the Benefit Brow Bar. I amused myself by looking at the Anastasia Beverly Hills products again. Then an employee asks me if I need help. I politely decline, only to have her ask me again and again and again, and ask how I was doing. And she makes small talk, and offers to apply the liquid lipstick on me. I even used body language (arms folded, no eye contact) to convey that I did not need or want help.

Why am I making a big deal about this? They were just trying to be nice! But during both times, I felt like they were breathing down my back, following me and that they were suspicious of me (do I even look like someone who would shoplift?) It felt "fake" nice to me. Either that or they were being insanely pushy since they work on commission. I applied for the Macy's in Downtown Sacramento to be a seasonal Beauty Advisor for the holidays, and during the application process (which was online), I had to do a survey. All I know based on taking the survey and doing research about the Beauty Advisor position (I got an interview offer, but not the job) was that working for Macy's was all about sales, and hitting a specific goal number for each single day. I recently took a peak at my INFP personality profile, where I could not at all be a high-pressure salesperson. I guess even if I really wanted that job and to be able to apply makeup on people, the more important thing is to try to pressure a product on a customer in order for them to buy it. I can't be pushy and aggressive, it's not who I am, which is why I stick to beauty blogging: it's more honest and not in-your-face.

However, I have not had this experience of being followed and cajoled at the Macy's in Downtown Sacramento or Roseville Galleria. I have not even encountered this in Nordstrom. I even found this little gem about the Arden Fair Mall Macy's Beauty Counter on Yelp:


The beauty about shopping at Sephora and Ulta is that the employees are friendly, and offer to help you, but if you decline, they leave you alone. Of course, they don't work on commission like the ones at Macy's do, which could be a huge part of the reason they are pushy. I ask for help when needed and they are happy to help me, and I have a satisfying shopping experience. And say negative things about MAC all you want because of how rude and aloof their MUAs are, but I like being left to my own devices and asking for help on a particular product or technique when I am clueless about something. I don't know, but I've had a pretty good experience with the MAC MUAs in the Sacramento-area malls (Downtown, Roseville, Arden—their own store, not in Nordstrom). They have been super friendly and kind to me, but they absolutely let me shop in peace. Of course, I don't want them to act on the opposite direction and be rude, because I would cry! (just kidding!)

To me, there's a difference between being friendly and wanting to provide the best customer service vs. being so over-the-top sweet that it's hard to trust you.

Have you guys encountered an employee at your favorite beauty store where you felt like you were being followed around to the point where it became uncomfortable? What was your experience like?

6 comments :

  1. yes! This is so true. I have never had a problem at Sephora, so I tend to go there more often to browse but Macy's is horrendous. One time as we were walking away my husband goes "man, they were pushy." and if a man can notice that-- it's a real thing! It's all about sales though, which is a shame. I'd like to thing that some girls just want to help each other out, ya know? xX
    thanks for posting!

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    1. Yes, and honestly I prefer going to Sephora because I am a VIB member there, and I can get points. My fiance tells me he doesn't care how friendly the salespeople are as long as they can get him what they need and that they're not rude.

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  2. I find it really annoying as well when people are really pushy or hover around you while you're trying to shop! It makes me uncomfortable, like if I'm swatching something wrong I'm going to get in trouble. I do most of my makeup shopping online so I don't deal with makeup salespeople but I can see how it's frustrating x

    www.beautyfromkatie.blogspot.com

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    1. I guess it's a tradeoff with shopping online because you don't know what shade will look good on you. Thank goodness the people at Sephora and Ulta leave you alone though!

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  3. I hate it when salespeople walk around me and keep saying hey do you need help, try this or that... Hello, if I need help then I will call you, there's no need to be around me. Sometimes I had the opposite experience like, I would decide on something but need an employee to give it to me, I would call someone and they wouldn't stop chatting with the colleagues, then when I call them constantly then they give the evil look. It feels like being punished with your own money.

    Ela BellaWorld

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    1. Amen girl! Yeah, a lot of people have had that experience with MAC where the MUA's completely ignore you...but my experiences with them have been top notch.

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