Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Bad experience at the makeup counter

I spent too much time fuming about my experience last night at the Laura Mercier Counter in Mitsukoshi Ginza, so I'm going to just vent here and move on as fast as possible.

I've never spent much time at the Laura Mercier counters in Tokyo, mainly because there are so many other flashier brands.  And after yesterday, I don't think I'll be inclined to go near one for a long time!

This weekend, I bought the Laura Mercier mook, which came with a generous voucher for a little fan brush, a small sample pot of powder (perhaps the brightening powder), and a sample tube of hand cream in one of the 4 permanent scents (other than Creme Brulee).  It's been a full 2 months since the mook came out, so my visit yesterday was very late for trying out the voucher, but I went to the Laura Mercier counter at Mitsukoshi Ginza 三越銀座 and inquired.  They'd run out of the other items but the sales assistant (SA) offered me a sample of the hand cream if it was okay with me.  I selected Coconut Almond to try.  She asked if I'd like anything else, and I said I'd like to try out the brightening powder ”パウダーを試したいんですが。。。”.  She misunderstood me and repeated quickly that they ran out of it a month ago at Mitsukoshi so they didn't have any samples left.  As she'd already said they ran out of it, I had actually meant that I wanted to try it out directly at the counter, but I was rather taken aback by her repetition of the previous information and her polite implication that I was being too persistent.  Since she apparently hadn't been asking if I was interested in other products, I was a bit confused as to what she was actually asking for, so I asked if there was anything else I could select; I suppose this reinforced her impression that I was stupid.  She went off and got me the sample hand cream; I thanked her, and then went to poke around the displays.  However, it seemed like she wanted to get rid of me, as she followed me around, ignoring the other customers browsing, and replied to my questions as if I was stupid ("We have two types of concealer, one for under the eyes, one for in general"), so I gave up in the face of her hostility and ran off to find shelter at the Suqqu counter.

The Suqqu SA was so nice in contrast!  It was a great balm to my wounded psyche.  She showed me swatches of the quads and offered to apply the eyeshadows on me.  As I had lost the desire to browse, I politely declined and said I'd come back when I had more time, and she offered me a flyer, telling me that they would have new products out in Feb.  The ladies at Laduree were also charming and friendly.  They have the sweetest uniforms.

A month ago, when I had a voucher for a mini nail polish at Addiction, the Tokyu dept. store SA was super gracious, even though I didn't have time to shop around and try out products then.  So I really don't understand the attitude of the Laura Mercier SA.  It's a pity, as I like the Mercier approach to makeup, and the markup of the products in Japan is not as obscene as other foreign and domestic brands.  However, I would rather have avoided the whole unpleasant experience instead of getting the free sample of hand cream.

On the bright side, this has totally killed my desire to continue shopping during the new years sales, so my wallet is happy.

I ended the day with some fruitless clothing shopping and a stop at the Pandan Leaf Cafe in Printemps Ginza.  The egg tarts and rare cheese tarts are excellent!  The kaya toast is pretty good too, but it's quite different from what they serve in Singapore (toast is thicker and not as crispy at Pandan Leaf Cafe).


Anna said...

I would've never imagined there were any rude SAs in Japan or rude people working in public at all. Sorry to hear about your experience, it's always best to browse on your own or speak with a distinct voice if you want to be respected.

kuri said...

I find people are usually polite at least on the surface, but you can really tell if someone doesn't want your business. That said, most of my experiences at the counter here have been very good.

Thinking it over, she wasn't outright rude, but she treated me like I was stupid and clearly wanted me to leave her counter as quickly as possible, which I found rather rude. The other SAs at that counter are probably super awesome, but I don't really feel like finding out.

You're right, next time I will be very explicit about what I want, and explicit about asking to be left alone.

D. said...

I get the stupid treatment a lot when I was in Japan, probably because my Japanese sucks. That said, hubby gets it too, and his Japanese is N1 :( Sorry to hear about your experience all the same though...

kuri said...

Thanks. In general, I have had a really positive experience at makeup counters here, but this time really threw me for a loop - I guess I've gotten thin skinned. I'd only gotten similar treatment from bored M.A.C. SAs here :P