Musings of a Muse

A Blog of Musings from a Cosmetic Whore

Apr 13, 2009

Musings of a Muse: Did Someone Say Thief?

This Musings was inspired by a reader, Andreea, who was ranting about how much she hates being followed around in a shop and treated like a thief.

Andreea, I feel your pain me love.

So today's Musings of the Day is all about counters and stores. Do you ever feel like you're being shadowed by a rep or a store clerk when you're at Sephora? Or at a counter?

Jump ahead for the Muse's answer!

YES, YES, YES DAMMIT! All the bloody time. I hate going into Sephora because MA's literally follow me around and keep asking if I need a basket. They watch me like a hawk! Everything I pick up, anything I touch, their eyes are constantly following me. It's gotten so bad I rarely step foot into a Sephora anymore, I simply do my ordering online.

Truly I feel like a thief or something the way they follow me around. It's not even the helpful type of following where they start foaming at the mouth about how great a product is. It's simply following me and watching me as if I'm going to pocket a lip gloss or a blush.

It's a rather uncomfortable feeling :( I rarely shop Ulta so I haven't really experienced this their and counters do the same but mostly it's annoying MA's trying to score a sale. But Sephora...damn I feel like a thief. It's really quite an uncomfortable shopping experience.

What makes me even more irritated is a bunch of teenagers will be destroying a display by playing with everything on it but no one looks at them or goes over to them but me they follow around in circles.

I find it weirdly gratifying to dump my basket on the counter and whip out my credit card. It's like a strange way of thumbing my nose at them and saying, "SEE? I have money to buy this stuff...amazing right?!"

How about you?

Ever feel like a thief with a pocket full of money?

Tell the Muse!

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Blogger Bella said...

Muse, I agree!!! It is really irritating. If I need something, or have a question,I will ask. Otherwise, leave me alone!!!!

April 13, 2009 at 2:07 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

You took the words out of my mouth!!!!!!! And heaven forbid I reach into my pocket for my phone..I swear mall security is going to swoop down and interrogate me!! Ulta is infamous for this too!

April 13, 2009 at 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get the same feeling all the time. I think it is an inbuilt predjudice towards those who look young (I am 23 and am often mistaken for a teenager.) and the fact that we do not "look" like we have the income to afford high end cosmetics - so therefore we must be there to steal. It's sad, but I don't think there's much you can do about it.

April 13, 2009 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger Pavlina said...

awww, poor Muse! :) *giggles* They don't bother me when I take one or both of my kids in with me.

April 13, 2009 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger - Kay - said...

I hate going into Sephora for the same reason. I didn't know others shared my feeling of when I go in there - maybe somebody should tell sephora how we feel- but I end up usually making sure there's another friend or my bf with me when I'm in there. Otherwise, I really feel like a freakking thief. I don't even test as many things as I'd like, because as soon as their following starts, I just want to get out of there. It's especially bad here in Gainesville. We only have a small sephora setup inside of a JC Penney's, so you are never out of their snooping and following range. And I agree that it's not helpful following or trying to score a sale (like mac, which is a whole other bad story in the mall here) but they are just watching your every move.

April 13, 2009 at 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Roxii said...

I live in California and people tend to be pretty chill in general. However, when my local Sephora opened the employees were a little rabid, but I shot them (down) the instant I was attacked ;P. I wasn't mean or anything, just "I know what I'm looking for. If I need help I'll come to you." It works! :D

April 13, 2009 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger diana said...

I remember that I used to feel this way but it's been a long time. It might sound kind of silly but I think sometimes it's the way you dress when you go into the store. If you came in with your power suit and trendy shoes/purse, would they still follow you around like that? I'm not suggesting getting that dressed up to go shopping... I just wonder how much of the way we dress ourselves makes an impression on others. I think there are still some stores that it's just their policy to do this, especially if it's in a shopping center that's had a lot of theft. I remember when I worked in retail (a LONG time ago), the store I was at had so much theft that the employees hadn't gotten raises for years as a result. So from that point of view I can see why they are anxious to cut back on the stealing. But yeah I remember being followed around, it makes me feel like I am going to steal something (and I've never done such a thing!).

April 13, 2009 at 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi muse, I have experienced SA stalkers, however there is one UK department store where quite often the Sa's totally either ignore you or seem to be on a constant tea break. This makes spending money quite difficult, how can we try and ease the current recession if no one is there to take our money? I do wish we had sephora here though!

April 13, 2009 at 4:31 PM  
Blogger jkim said...

ugh! i also hate all that following around at sephora. when i shop, i want to be left alone so that i can think about what i'm purchasing. but i don't necessarily feel like they're following me because they think i'll steal something. i feel like they're following me because they want to give me some sort of spiel and try to sell me or make me buy something i don't really want. the minute i engage in conversation or make eye contact, i know it's over - they'll be swooping in like hawks! the last time i went to sephora, this one SA was trying to push hourglass foundation ($60 a pop, mind you) like a snake oil salesman. looking at mufe hd foundation? oh, hourglass foundation will be a much better match for you! looking at bare minerals? hourglass foundation is what you really want! ... when i saw that, i stopped what i was doing and left the store. and besides, you don't get nearly as many samples when you buy in-store than when you do online.

April 13, 2009 at 9:15 PM  
Anonymous sarahPUFFY said...

I remember one experience I had:

I was 15 and just getting into makeup. The breakup I had with my then and now again ex left me in a rut, but makeup know, liberated me. But anyhow. We stroll into a place similar to Sephora, and my friend and I are giddy as hell. At one point, I used a sponge on my face to test a powder, but since I saw no trash can to throw it out, I simply put it in my pocket. Then - get this - the makeup artist came up to me and my friend and told us to leave...not before having the other 4 or 5 employees present asking us to empty our pockets. I felt like a deer in headlights, and I didn't go back into the store until last year.

3 years is a damn long time not to go back to a store!

Not saying it was because of my race, but really cos I was just a kid. I hate that, though...because some people are ignorant enough to steal, they assume all kids do...not the case! That one incident ruined shopping for me for a very long time.

April 13, 2009 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Crissy K said...

Yeah. I agree with this one. It has something to do with their way they are trained. For example. We got this new manager at our store and she's like ask them if they need a basket. Just give it to them. Ask them if you need help even if I already did all the above. It's really annoying even to us but we have to do it. Sometimes it is good theft prevention and also we have a lot of clients that like to help themselves and make their own testers even if there is already one on the gondola but a lot of the time it's just because they want to push sales. Also I find this causes us to lose more clients than not.

April 13, 2009 at 11:58 PM  
Blogger Beauty Bitch said...

I used to be a sales assistant many years ago, and would never follow a customer around the store even when I thought it was a shop lifter: we have security for that! I have turned around at sales assistants following me in shops, smiled brightly and said "How can I help you?" and even gone as far as saying, "I prefer to browse in peace and I find your tailing me really off-putting". That usually puts the wind out of their sails.

Korean sales assistants though...... they will be still here at armageddon, trailing around after ghosts offering helpful advice and generally being a pain in the backside. They are a super breed of annoying retail worker I've never experienced before.

April 14, 2009 at 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually worked at Sephora last year as seasonal help, and it's true, Sephora employees watch customers or "guests" like a hawk to determine if they're stealing or not. It's much worse for African American customers however, because virtually EVERY African American customer is monitored and watched on camera from "backstage." But Sephora treats its own employees or "cast members" like thiefs also, thoroughly searching belongings when anyone goes "off stage." Josephine

April 14, 2009 at 12:38 AM  
Anonymous Michele said...

I frequent Ulta and Sephora and usually it is just to look!!! The fact that they have samples is what makes it fun to browse! Thing is, I know everytime that I go in for that purpose I'm gonna feel like a thief walking out. :( Even when they're not following me around I feel terrible!!!

April 14, 2009 at 2:55 AM  
Anonymous Fabiola said...

Oh yes, absolutely. We only have shop-in-shop Sephoras in the Netherlands and I haven't had any truly bad experiences there. However, there is this drugstore chain called DA and at this particular store which I frequent the shop assistants watch you like FBI agents. Somehow they don't seem to get that treating someone as if they're the Unabomber will not result in high shop patronage ;-).

April 14, 2009 at 6:03 AM  
Anonymous Andreea said...

Thank you Muse!:)
I've also read your answer to my rant..I'm glad I'm not just imagining this "You might be a thief", since it also happened to you, and I feel sorry for them for treating people like this.
Such a shame.

April 14, 2009 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi bella!

Exactly :( I feel like I'm ganged up on when they are walking around me so much! Sheesh!

April 14, 2009 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi tammy!

OMG Yes! Whenever I go for my phone I feel like they are going to jump on top of me. Funny as I always want to take a pic or two in store of swatches and stuff but I NEVER attempt it as I'm scared they'll call the SWAT team!

April 14, 2009 at 10:35 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi Anonymous!

Me too don't feel bad. I get carded to buy movie tickets sometimes :( for R rated flicks. sheesh!

Regardless they should the way we carry ourselves, are dressed, etc...that we obviously aren't hijacking the store.

April 14, 2009 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi Pavlina

lol can I borrow your kids please?!


April 14, 2009 at 10:36 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi kay!

I'm the same I always felt like it was just me and my sis. My sister actually refuses to go inside with me if we do pass a sephora when we are out together. She chooses to sit outside now and wait for me b/c she says it's just too much!

Lately I drag my friend Martin in with me if I want to go. They seem to think we are "together" as in boyfriend/girlfriend and for some reason they leave me be. But mostly if I step in with friends or my sis...same thing...they follow me around :( believe me I have mac stories to make your ears sing lol :-D I hate going into mac stores as they are so bloody rude :(

April 14, 2009 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi Roxii

no offense but I agree. I adore CA but when I shop people are quite cordial. It's not typically what I am used to here in NY.

Lord I really wish I wasn't such a mush and can just say the same but I'm one of those quiet types that says thank you alot LOL!

April 14, 2009 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi diana!

I can't say it's the way I dress as I normally dress quite well or at least I think I do. Even in a power suit I get treated much the same way. Even with a $500 dollar bag on my arm I STILL get treated the same honestly I have to shoot down that theory. I dunno if it's bc I look somewhat young...that could be the case?! Either way it makes me terribly nervous and uncomfortable to set foot in the store sometimes!

April 14, 2009 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi Anonymous

Oh yes me too. normally this is mac store for me...the SA's are normally not available at all to get something for me etc...or sometimes at my local macy's NO one is manning the counter. omg so annoying when I want to buy something!

I know totally how you feel it's particular in this one macy's...I mean they have maybe one or two people at certain counters so you'll have to go over to the clarins counter and ask for a dior rep and than the clarins rep is helping you purchase dior and she doesn't know where the products are etc...sheesh annoying!

April 14, 2009 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey jean!

Exactly! Me too! I sometimes feel it's to give me the details on something but mostly I feel like they are going to jump me if I touch something lol!
Sheesh that hourglass story sounds like a blooming nightmare wth? LOL was hourglass giving her commission lmao!

and yes I agree the samples and freebies are way better online plus no hassle returns make it so much better to buy from!

April 14, 2009 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi sarah!
holy cow. That sounds surreal!!!!!!!!!!! got to be kidding me!? I do the same thing..sometimes I can't find a spot to place the garbage so I toss it in my purse or pocket...gosh I'm so sorry that happened to you sarah...young or not you don't deserve that sort of treatment!


April 14, 2009 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi crissy!

I couldn't agree pushes clients away instead of getting them to stay :( particularly BBW...I don't buy anything in there b/c I can't stand how they hover around me :( I understand and appreciate that it's a job but sometimes they really go too far. It's not their fault of course as I'm sure they have someone telling them "listen this is how you have to do the job..." but whoever is higher up really needs to lay off and let ma's chill a bit.

April 14, 2009 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey bora!

same for me. totally kills my shopping experience!

LOL! Korean SA's sound like a NIGHTMARE!

April 14, 2009 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

whoa Josephine

that sounds awful! I think the worst of it is hearing how they check your own items and such. That would really turn me off to my job :(

April 14, 2009 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi michelle!

I totally understand. I sometimes just like to "window" shop too and always feel guilty if I am not purchasing but hey sometimes we have the $ to splurge and sometimes not, I hope these shops understand that :-D

April 14, 2009 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi Fabiola
LOL totally can relate. I feel like America's most wanted in some shops!


April 14, 2009 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi andreea!

You aren't dear, you aren't. It happens alot sadly!

it really is a shame as it drives away business more than it brings business in :(

April 14, 2009 at 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It matters what you are wearing in sephora. Since I have realized that, I'm never going to a cosmetics store without makeup on, heels and a nice handbag...

April 14, 2009 at 12:26 PM  
Anonymous AbbyL said...

OMG!!! This is an amazing topic. One afternoon I was in Sephora and there were at least 10 sales associates walking the floor. Now I'm already a high anxiety kind of person (and DEF not a thief!) so it really started to bother me that every five seconds a salesperson wanted to know if I was finding everyhting ok. haha, I got so distraught that by the time the 15th question came around I was like "Please! If one more person asks me if I need help I'm going to have anxiety attack." So yeah I totally feel y'all's pain!!

April 14, 2009 at 4:55 PM  
Anonymous babyboo said...

i don't live in a place with Sephora but the experience is all too familiar. I recently got very pissed (and wrote an angry email to their company - and might I add I usually don't do anything when people piss me off..i usually jus ignore it - but this time i couldn't) at some airport dutyfree SA's. Not only did they follow me around (which is ok, nothing to get upset over), they were extremely rude! They treated me/my friend like we were too poor to buy the stuff. After I looked at a product and put it back on the shelf (nicely), they would REARRANGE it again right in front of me, as if to show me that they don't like me touching their stuff and that i'm not placing it on the shelf the way they wanted. I normally don't like to talk to them but I had to ask them something that day and they replied in a very impatient rude if I don't know what that product is. And when my friend was looking at the perfume and wanting to smell it, they grabbed it from her hand and said "I'll do it for you". My friend also got scolded because she didn't know there was a Shu Uemura eyelash curler sample sitting there so she opened the product box and the lady scolded her for not looking at the sample. What kind of SA's do that????? Its not like we were dropping/destroying their stuff. We handled it with care. We have money to buy all those things as i spend around $200-300 USD there every year when I travel and stop by that airport. At first they were hawking around me and following me around, asking me what I want to buy. I told them I'll take a look first. Then they kept asking me that!!! and I gave them the same answer! I'm not a makeup idiot.. i know what the brands are, what the products do (as I read 20-30 makeup blogs on a daily basis!).. so just leave me alone! For heaven's sakes. I also heard them whispering something about us at the back, which wasn't nice at all. Who acts like that towards customers? It made me angry that I felt unwelcomed and if a shop is not there for people to buy and touch, what is the shop doing there in the first place? There were more things that happened so when I got home, I wrote their customer service an angry (but well mannered - no swear words lol) complaint. I sure hope those ladies got some good scolding. Shame on you, ill mannered SA's.

April 15, 2009 at 4:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tell them to leave you alone.

Last time I was at Sephora they were targeting my husband (who is Native American) but he bought all of this expensive Fresh products, so that probably caught them off guard.

These Sephora employees probably don't even make enough to buy anything in the store themselves.

My husband also likes to antagonise them by asking them about every single product and whether it's cruelty free or not. Then they will start to avoid us. :D

April 19, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi diana

I really haven't experience that at all. No matter if I am dressed up or down I still get the same treatment :D

April 23, 2009 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi abby!

damn! that's crazy! Jesus I hate when they hound :(

I'd prefer if they just leave testers out so we can test and than we can just go to the counters and ask for the product lol that way no one will bug us maybe and worry if we are pocketing a lipgloss!

April 23, 2009 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi babyboo!

oh I know this feeling, I know it well. It happens to me too. I pick something up and they wipe it down and rearrange it...omg soooooo rude!

I HATE when they treat me like I don't know makeup or brands. And have to give me facts about the brand and how to use a product...come on...I have a full face of makeup on I don't need you to tell me how to use it! "This is blusher you put it on your cheeks..." whoa no kidding!

SA's just need a chill pill they are soooo uptight!

I'm so sorry to hear this happened to you baby boo :(

April 23, 2009 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi wendy!

LOL I'm a mush and always well mannered wish I can just say "freak off"

lol you are prob right!

LMAO your hub sounds funny!

April 23, 2009 at 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This happened to me at LUSH Philly. I was shopping with my brother and an sa walked past me and bent waaaaay oer to look into my basket I suppose to make sure that nothing was missing when I checked out?
I was not the only one who noticed either my brother and I each looked at each other like What the?? and started to laugh. As annoying and insulting as it was, it was also funny because her movements were so exaggerated and obvious, she bent so far over that she literally almost had her head in my basket!
I have not been back to the store since and order from LUSH UK instead, the products are fresher anyway

April 27, 2009 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi anonymous sorry for the delayed reply!

igh that sounds AWFUL! I've had that at Lush myself a time or two...:P idiots.

I order from Lush UK as well, fresher, cheaper, better CS!

May 12, 2009 at 4:19 PM  

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