Tag Archives: returns

Stupid Sephora (Updated!)

22 Jan

January 22, 2016

sephora logo

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.

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.


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.




You May Not Believe This

18 Jun

June 18, 2013

I brought my car in to the dealer this weekend for some routine maintenance. I expected a $40 oil change; what I got cost me almost $200. I read the receipt but I am still not sure what they did. Is “Kryex” even a word? And I am not entirely convinced that my air freshener needed a 500 mile servicing.

Anyway, I was sitting in the waiting room. It was about 9:30 in the morning and the room was about half full. Including me, there were five of us, all fairly spread out. Two were sitting at the table, using their laptops and taking advantage of the free wi-fi.   One was sitting in a corner using his iPhone for, I think, a game in which small blue blobs eat small red blobs. The fourth was sitting in a chair against the side wall and reading a magazine, and I was sitting against another wall splitting my time between using my iPod (also taking advantage of the free wi-fi) and watching Sports Center on the huge wall-mounted flat screen. Do you know what the main mission of Sports Center is? It is showing people holding up signs at various events that say “Sports Center is next.”             Duke_Sports_Center_Sign          

I was sitting not far from the front door, which was propped open to give us a breeze since the day was warm and a little humid. It was not too uncomfortable unless you were a large man, both fat and tall, wearing a long sleeve shirt, unbuttoned, over a sweat stained t-shirt, with a small baseball cap over a large, round, bald head,  and carrying a small bag of groceries. This was the man who walked down the street, saw the open door and empty chairs, and sat down next to me for a break.

There were four or five other chairs empty but the one next to me was closest to the door and by all appearances this was not a man who liked to move much. I had my hat on the chair and he stood in front of it, nodded, and I removed it so this uninvited man with no business in the dealership could sit down.

I picked up my iPod and suddenly became very occupied with looking occupied.

He did not take the hint.

“You know how far the Key Food is from here?” I grunted that it was maybe four blocks away.
“Three blocks, man, three blocks. But in this heat it feels like about thirty six or forty-one.”

I had no desire to talk to him but he had a habit of tapping me on the arm as he spoke. I suspect he developed that trait over years and years of people ignoring him when he spoke to them.

“I was trying to return this bottle of mustard,” he said and shook his shopping bag, “but the manager gave me a hard time.”

OK, now I was interested, and not just because this story was bound to be entertainingly stupid. Here was a large fat man with a bald head talking about food.

Did I mention that he was black?


Yes, the face was different and the guy by me had a mouth far too small for his face, but in all other respects I felt as if Norm Snackmunch had come out of an Allan Keyes blog and sat right down next to me.

“I had two bottles of Gulden’s spicy brown mustard but one wasn’t spicy enough.”

His story went that he had bought two bottles of spicy mustard and one was fine, perfectly spicy, but the other was not spicy at all, but kind of mild, and he wanted to return it. (When he asked me, I replied that I had no idea what would make a bottle of spicy mustard turn mild. Bad batch? I dunno.) He brought the bottle back to the store and told his story to the manager. For your sake, I have condensed this story but had I continued to write it verbatim, it would have been full of pauses, uh’s, and lots of repetition. This man was not a born storyteller.

As for me, on the one hand I wanted to know what happened at the store with the mustard, but on the other, stronger, saner hand, I really just wanted to hear my name called that my car was ready.

The man asked me, again, what could go wrong with mustard (still had no idea), why wouldn’t the manager give him an exchange (no idea) and if it was still hot outside (no idea.) Then, while talking about how much he loved Gulden’s spicy brown mustard, he reached into the bag and pulled out the bottle with the oddly mild mustard. 

Can you guess what happened?

Can you guess what happened?

It was a bottle of Gulden’s mild yellow mustard.

Believe it or not, and trust me, all I have written today is true, at that moment my name was called and my car was ready and I stood up and began to walk away. The fat guy with the mustard problem, among a few other problems, stood up as well and said he guessed he should get going too. He reached out to shake my hand, and he had a better chance of the manager exchanging his mustard than he had of me shaking his hand, when he was distracted by the water cooler.

“Oooh, free water!” He took out an iced tea can from his bag and filled it with water and walked out. I paid for my car, “Kryex” and all, and left, me and Norman Snackmunch, two ships that passed in the night.

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