Thursday, September 15, 2011

Counter Service!

Picture courtesy of Beauty Fashion Mag.

I love make-up, I love shopping for make-up too... but it’s not always smooth sailing when it comes to counter service. It’s so easy for somebody working at a cosmetics counter to get it right when it comes to their service, but even easier for them to get it so very wrong and I’ve been on the receiving end of both.

My personal dislikes!

Too little attention: If I’m at a Chanel-type counter where you need to get the product from one of your drawers for me to buy, you actually need to be there so I can get my hands on the product and hand over my money. What is even worse to see is the counter staff having a lovely conversation... with each other, not even registering customers needing assistance. I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve walked away from a counter due to either nobody being there, or being seemingly ignored.

Too much attention: In a way, I hate having too much attention when I am looking cosmetics even more than not enough attention. I feel like I can’t just relax and take my time to browse the range, swatching as I go along with somebody ‘breathing down my neck’ or being overly friendly (which I find to be a bit fake?!). I don’t know if it’s just me who feels like this, or if it’s a genuine dislike of others?!

Disinterest: Is there somewhere else you’d rather be? If I am in need of assistance (a question, paying or whatever), I really don’t expect you to be looking at your nails, watch or even worse, yourself (in the mirror). I’m not asking for you to give me your undivided attention for hours, just a few minutes while you deal with the query, is that too much to ask? Rudeness isn't welcome either.

Badly organised displays: There’s nothing more off putting than seeing a messy display with mucky looking tester products. I can’t help but feel disappointed when I see testers that are past their point of no return, be that through drying out, looking dirty (germs, ewww) or having nothing left to test. Surely a counter can’t be THAT busy all day, every day?

My ideal counter experience would be at a counter with:

  • Fully stocked, organised and clean displays
  • Tester products that look useable/hygienic
  • Assistants that are present, that acknowledge me when I arrive and let me know they’re there if I need help but then let me look around the stand at my own leisure for a little while.
  • Assistants that when I am approached after this time, are friendly and genuine and take an interest in what I am saying, but are not overpowering. I don’t want to feel like I’m having the hard sell any more than I like to feel like I’m being ignored.
  • Stock of samples of certain products (bonus points if a sample is offered, not asked for) – this really helps, especially where foundation is concerned with store lighting not being realistic lighting for viewing shades etc. I also don’t want to feel like I am asking the biggest favour EVER from you if I do ask if it’s possible to take a small sample to try at home.
  • This guy (see below) ;-)
Picture from QueemBeeBeauty.

I’m not a demanding customer (not that you’d think that when reading this post, haha); I’m actually really shy and usually only want the minimum attention spent on me, and thankfully, on the whole I find I have mostly had good counter experiences, sometimes even great, but when they’re bad, I find they really stick in my memory a lot more and that surely isn’t good for the business of any store, or brand.

What are your likes/dislikes regarding counter service? Tell me about your best/worst counter experiences.


  1. On the whole I've only had bad experiences :-( I find counters intimidating as it is, and find I end up trying to get in and out as quickly as possible. MAC at HofF in Bluewater are appalling, too busy doing each others (orange) make up to notice anyone else, when you do ask them a question they look at you like you're a piece of sh*t on their shoe (excuse the expression)!
    I do agree about there never being anyone around on a Chanel counter which really annoys me. I end up walking off.
    Estee Lauder haven't impressed me either, I went into Boots-the girl was too busy doing her own make up. Went to Debenhams and the lady was so disinterested, then put the wrong foundation shade in my bag, it's only because I checked as I was walking out that I realised! Would not have been happy if I'd made it all the way home before noticing. Then when I told her she'd made a mistake she didn't seem bothered, just swapped it over while continuing her conversation with another sales assistant.

    Rant over!

  2. I agree with this post completely! whenever I go in to swatch a few products that i am interested in, they are there coming up to me before i have even taken a look at one product like 'are you okay, can I help you' and if im like 'no thankyou im just looking' they will just stand there and watch what I'm doing. Its so off putting I just want to hurry up and go after that. I always find myself in a makeup chair too, getting a million products put on me after I am only interested in buying just the one product and they're like ' Oo this lipstick will look great with that eyeshadow, and then theres this blush' I just buy my makeup off the internet now to avoid it all!


  3. You're not demanding, I think all of us would like what you asked for, I know I would.

    What I hate most is people who make it blatently clear you're wasting a ton of their precious time. Nothing like feeling wanted when you're dropping big bucks!


  4. I have only had bad experiences at MAC counters in the UK, whenever I have travelled to USA and gone to MAC counters the staff have been amazing. They definitely need to focus more on customer service on their training courses in this country. Jude xx @jadlgw


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