January 22, 2016
I went to the Brooklyn NY Sephora store, located on Court Street. Sephora is a high-end makeup shop. I used to work in that area, but the store wasn’t there back then. Now I like wearing rouge and lipstick drinking beer and watching football as much as the next guy, but I’ve never been in any Sephora, anywhere, at any time. This was not my lucky day.
Beer and football. I totally meant beer and football.
Anyway, I went with Saarah to return something or other. A spray bottle of something that I think goes on your face after you apply the makeup to help it set. Makeup needs to set? News to me. I usually just apply some eyeliner and go. NO! I mean drink beer and watch football.
Saarah and I went in around 6:30 and it was pretty crowded, or so I thought. Saarah told me that it was actually empty compared to how it usually is. After some quick browsing we went to the counter to make the return. Saarah had been here before and wasn’t happy with the service. The associates know nearly nothing about their products but they know enough to push whichever brand they are getting paid to push.
SAARAH: I’m looking for something that hasn’t been tested on animals and doesn’t contain animal products.
TYPICAL SEPHORA ASSOCIATE: You should totally try this brand! It’s called “Bleeding Baby Sheep” and it’ll look awesome on you!
SAARAH: The label says “contains deer blood and puppy tears.” The label has a picture of a kangaroo with syringes in its eyeballs.
TYPICAL SEPHORA ASSOCIATE: It’s new!
Anyway, with low expectations, we went to the register and were helped by an associate who shall remain nameless, not because I want to protect her identity, but because she wasn’t wearing a name tag. We ended up at this particular associate’s register because she called us over with a flat “next client.” Ever see the dull, glassy eyed folks behind the counter at the DMV? I’d have preferred one of them.
Saarah took out her return and put it and her receipt on the counter and said “I’d like to return this.” The cashier (I won’t call her an associate) said in a very, very nasty way “did you use it?” She said it as though we were trying to return a stained pair of underwear. Saarah said “no (the clear bottle was clearly full) and I have the receipt.”
The cashier never smiled, never said hi, and had a very nasty tone and looked at us with a frown the whole time. Was it because of me? Did she not like Saarah? A combination of both? Don’t know.
And don’t say she was having a bad day because in the middle of snarling at us, she looked over at the woman at the register next to us, and suddenly she lit up, smiled a huge smile, and said “oh my god I love your hat!” It was all sunshine and rainbows! Then she wiped the smile off her face and went back to sneering at us. She made the return, never said thanks or goodbye, and we walked away.
I was pissed and before I took three steps, said loudly to Saarah and within five feet of at least three associates “Damn she was nasty!” Saarah and I both kept complaining as we left the store.
BUT THIS WAS NOT THE BAD PART
After we walked out, we saw though the window someone who may or may not have been a manager. He was also not wearing a name tag, but he was wearing a nicer shirt than anyone else so we took a chance. Turned out he was an assistant manager. Good enough for us.
Saarah explained that she made a return and the cashier was nasty and rude.
And that is where everything turned sideways.
The manager had zero idea of what good customer service is. He started with the always wrong “what do you want me to do?” and then started asking totally ridiculous and irrelevant questions. The conversation went into odd directions. For example, the manager asked about Saarah getting makeovers, how often she redeemed coupons on the internet, what other stores she shopped at, even a long discussion of an associate who once helped Saarah but has since left.
My head was spinning like I was watching a strange 60’s pot cartoon.
At some points he was arguing with us. “Well, she had to ask if it was used.” The problem was not what she said, but the rude and nasty way she said it. (Saarah made this point over and over.) It was like the cashier thought we were mole people.
Saarah is not one to be led or pushed around, but even she was falling down this man’s weird rabbit hole. At one point the manager implied she only shopped twice a year and therefore was not deserving of good service. When Saarah said she was offered a free makeover but turned it down due to the bad service last time, the manager started implying that she wasn’t a good customer, that this was all her fault for not shopping there enough.
Saarah whipped out her Sephora VIP card and told her where she worked to intimidate him. It worked. He said “Let’s start over. My name is Gerald (Thanks for the correction, Saarah.) and stuck out his hand. Saarah shook it. Now the guy started off not too badly but defensively. At least he was almost on-topic. “Well I can only advise the associates. I can’t stand behind them.”
I was getting angry too. Remember, Saarah made the return, but I was right there with her and got the brunt of some of the glares and caught shrapnel from the cashier’s sharp attitude.
Around the point where the manager was talking about “but you said you shopped at other stores too” I took a step between them and said “I think we’ve gotten too far afield.” (I wanted to say “you’re an asshat tool” but I refrained. “The problem is that the cashier was rude and gave us poor service.”
I was a little loud and aggressive. He took a step back and, after a stutter or two, said something totally not helpful. Saarah asked his name again, simply to make the point that neither he nor the cashier were wearing name tags and that if he worked for her company, he could be fired. More stutters.
After an eternity that lasted at least six hours (four minutes, tops) we left with zero confidence that Gerald the assistant manager had the ability manage a dispute between a fly and a piece of stale bread.
So I will have to get my rouge and lipstick drink beer and watch football somewhere else.
And it keeps on going. This is Saarah’s story of her crazy Sephora experiences. She tells everything that led up to this nonsense:
You should also follow her blog Rants of a Brooklynite simply because it is that good.
Meanwhile, things got crazy on Twitter today. I was one of Sephora’s top tweets today! Too bad for them, as Saarah and I were blasting them all morning. I’ll be posting another blog about that craziness soon.