Monday, July 07, 2008

Reluctant MAC Purchases

I'd first like to start out by saying: I am not in the habit of putting on a full face of makeup to go try on and purchase NEW makeup. Doesn't make sense to me. I like to go to the cosmetic counters bare faced, so that I can actually see my skin. I completely understand that without my makeup, I look like dog-food to SA's.

I strolled into my local MAC store, one afternoon, Friends & Family coupon in hand, to exchange a Tendertone that I had purchased online (in hopes of avoiding this type of situation.) I was immediately approached by "James," a 20-something drag queen SA. "Let me show you our new collections," he insisted, pulling me to the Neo Sci-Fi, Tendertones and Cool Heat displays. I smiled politely, thinking, "All ready seen it, all ready have it" but I looked along anyway and pretended I cared.

I love makeup. And I love makeup stores. But I almost always dislike the people selling it to me. I wish I could look and experiment on my own (without any interruption or annoying sales pitch) but I'm almost always pressured into purchasing something I don't need or want. So, anyway, I threw "James" a bone and let him put some foundation on me, then humored him in putting eyeshadow on me. He used a wide selection of shadows along with a fluidline and mascara, then went over each, asking me if I wanted it. They really don't believe you when you say, "I have that." (They must think it's some sort of exaggeration or lie, when in reality, it's the truth.)

Anyway, there was one thing that "James" and I agreed on. It was that eye concealer should be the same color as your skin, not lighter. I don't have very dark circles under my eyes, so this is adequate coverage, plus as an Korean girl, I always need to dot some concealer at the lower outer corners of my eyes. He chose MAC Studio Finish Concealer SPF 35 - NW25 ($15.50.) This covers it perfectly, and also covers redness around the nose.

For foundation he used MAC Mineralize Satinfinish SPF 15 Foundation - NW30 ($28.) When I got it home, I thought it was too light, but somehow when its blended in it looks right. It provides a smooth, luminous, satin finish. I use Tarte's Smooth Operator Primer beforehand and it stays on most of the day.

I wasn't a fan of "James'" eye shadow application, but he did a pretty good job blending everything together with the MAC 222 Tapered Blending Brush ($30) and using the windshield-wiper method. It's great for blending. So in the end, I thought he had a kind of crappy attitude, but I did walk away with some stuff I actually like.


Toya said...

Girl, I feel you. That's one of the reasons why, after finishing MUA school, I decided against going to work for any of the beauty lines. I hardly ever love the artists because they're forced to do the hard sell on customers and that turns me off. I'm glad you were able to find some products you like, though. I've found that, when I let the artists know ahead of time that I'm a beauty blogger (and a MUA), they usually back off a bit because they realize I have or have tried just about everything. I've been known to pass out my card, too - LOL!

Anonymous said...

I'm an executive for a major cosmetic line and find there are basically two types of BA's. Sharks and helper/teachers. It's pretty easy to determine which is which. Just find the kind you like and stick to that one.

Here's the problem inherent in your story, however. Many BA's aren't on commission (or it's a very small percentage) and have to generate a certain hourly rate to guarantee their salary.

For you to let an artist take the time to put that much product on you without mentioning that you already own all of it is tantamount to going to dinner and not tipping the waiter. Yes, demonstrating makeup is part of the job, but taking them away from customers who actually WANT and RESPECT their expertise is unconscionable, not to mention surprisingly inappropriate from someone who reviews products on a regular basis.

And I promise, if you want to play in the testers and be left more or less alone, just say so. It's really not a problem, but someone will probably stay nearby for two reasons.

First, they are supposed to assist you and tell you about products and managers are not very understanding about ignoring customers, even if the customer requests it. Besides, while you may know more than the average consumer, I assure you, the BA has more product knowledge than you do and inside information often takes a product from ho-hum to sensational.

The other reason is inventory control. Cosmetic items are small and tend to walk off all the time. They don't do it as often if customers are waited on properly. And no, it's not profiling or an indictment of anyone in particular. The culprits range from middle-aged soccer moms to teenagers dying for the new gloss shade. The greater the loss for the counter, the more likely the staff will lose their jobs.

If you came up to the counter and said you are a cosmetic blogger who likes to try some things at counter and purchase some online (you know, the TRUTH) and cut out all the undercover BS and you'll probably get inside info and maybe even samples without buying anything.

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