Time out - for a rant

I figure I can use the power of my words to convey a very important message to my readers and fellow shoppers.  I love to go shopping in stores and see things in person; reading reviews is sometimes never enough.  Opinions are shared and some of those opinions just might be marred by a good/bad in-store experience.  Should I or should I not buy the product(s)? When I was old enough to purchase my own makeup, I chose to buy things my mom never used (my own form of rebellion).  We both, sadly, have very sensitive skin and for years we purchased Clinique due to it being "non-comedogenic", etc., etc.  If my hard earned money was to be used for cosmetics, I made sure I bought what I wanted from wherever I wanted.  I remember walking past one of Benefit's boutique-like counters in Boston with my mom and thought, ooh, pretty!  I was hooked.

Visually, Benefits' packaging is rather cute and their customer service was fantastic.  During my college years, I purchased a lot of Benefit - loose powder eye shadows, Benetint, 10, assorted lip glosses and F.Y.eye.  I didn't really have a dedicated place from where I would purchase their goods, but I always went back to buy more.  Over the years Benefit has consistently evolved to stay on trend, while still holding onto their pin-upesque bevy of beauties adorning their products.  Benefit really is like a time capsule bringing forward potions from the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's.

And that's where my love ends for Benefit.  I am not too sure where the disconnect lies, but I have been turned off by the customer service offered at Benefits' counters in Australia and even back in Massachusetts.  The sales associates are too forceful with their sales tactics; I am often left feeling battered and abused after walking away with nothing in hand.  I refuse to purchase anything when I believe the seller doesn't know how to read their customer.  The retail world is something I have a bit too much knowledge on, because that world supported my education and life from 2002-2010.  The Gap, Vera Bradley, FYE, Pottery Barn - I've been an employee of all of these companies and I've been taught how to treat the average customer.

  • Greet upon arrival
  • Offer help upon being approached
  • Be as knowledgable as possible about the products you are selling
  • Always treat someone the way you would like to be treated

Very simple, transferrable ways to support the customer during their shopping experience.  I've had a few hits and a few misses (hey, everyone can have a bad day); but repeated bad days, come on now.  Case in point, I visited the Benefit counter in Myer hoping to try Cha Cha Tint when it first came out; one hello later I found myself sitting in a chair getting judged about the condition of my skin.  I didn't want or need an opinion and it didn't end there.  Eventually, the sales person began to paint Cha Cha Tint on one of my cheeks and then she left me hanging!  Another customer walked up to our general vacinity, asked a question of the girl (totally acceptable) and before I knew it half of my face was sporting makeup and the girl was wandering elsewhere with the customer in order to show off Benefit's full range.  I waited a few minutes to see if she would come back to help, but she didn't.

In this instance, the sales girl should've excused herself, found additional assistance for the other customer and then come back to me.  I snuck off without being noticed and again, left without purchasing a single item.  Since then I have tried to revisit the same location, but I always run away from the staff feeling scared, irked and bewildered.  I think I might have to start shopping online and forgo visiting some stores in person.

If retail shops really want their consumers to keep coming back instead of shopping online, then providing great customer service should be their key focus.