Friday, April 27th, 2012

Choose or Lose

Do you like when sales associates make suggestions to you?

  • Sometimes -- only if they really know what they're doing/not pushing. (82%, 2,455 Votes)
  • No, I know what I like! (13%, 379 Votes)
  • Yes, I love their input! (5%, 140 Votes)
  • Other -- I'll tell you in the comments! (0%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,980

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

36 thoughts on “Do you like when sales associates make suggestions to you?

  1. vitajayne

    Once upon a time at Sephora I was having a hard time deciding on a new mascara and wasn’t liking the smells of them all. I probably looked really weird standing there smelling mascaras, but an associate came over and talked to me and showed me one I never even considered and it didn’t smell bad! Picked it up and now it’s on my favorites list.
    I answered sometimes because if I’m in the store just browsing without intent to purchase I don’t need help, but if I look like I’m having a hard time choosing between products I want someone to come over and help save me!

  2. ms

    more often than not, i know more than they do.  specially the big counters like chanel and others that are at dillards. 

  3. Adella

    I think in general it’ s not something I ever love to have sales associates do. However, there are times when you mention things to them that you like but can’t find any more, or you discuss general preferences when you’re making your selections. When they make suggestions based off what they can see I like or what they think tastes are, I’m ok with it. If it’s,” XYZ product has all these benefits, it’s new, its something we’re telling everyone about…” no, thank you. If I wanted commercials, i’d stay home and watch TV. Either be helpful and mention something you really think I’ll want, or leave it be altogether.

  4. mpca66

    Sometimes .. but it depends on my mood .. lol. If I want assistance I’ll ask .. but generally, I’m in a store looking for something specific. I think that a sales person will sell you the world, whether it looks good on you or not .. just to make their sales quota.

  5. Bengisu

    Actually when I tell them I want a thing that has the specific qualities and the price range that I can afford, they generally are helpful. They sometimes even suggest things that I could not imagine of finding. Like, I was looking for warm toned eyeshadow palette last november and the sales representer showed me Benefit Sunday Funday palette, and it had more than I could imagine, and the eyeshadow colors were all great for me. I met Benetint with the help of that palette and found the most beautiful lip gloss I’d ever had. I’m still thankful to her.
    Oh and I also found my most favorite natural looking mascara ever, by a sales representers advice, again. And 2 people helped me find it, and neither of them pushed me to buy it. So, it is always great asking for what you want and their sharing the knowledge of brands and products. 

  6. EstherKudron

    if I need help finding/deciding on something, I’ll always welcome knowledgeable suggestions, but if I know exactly what I’m looking for, I hate when sales associates try to get you to buy half of the store. I understand that they try to upsell or whatever, but if it borders on harassment, it’s not cool.

  7. Kim

    Such a great question! I hate when I get a SA who just wants to make a sale versus finding something that actually works for me. I remember getting ‘matched’ at a MAC counter and the SA picked up a single concealer and went to town. You first laid eyes on me less than a minute ago, would it be too much work to swatch 3 or 4 shades on my chin and see what works best?

    Then she pressured me into trying a lip gloss that was really pale, clumpy and looked like something naughty on my lips. And she said it looked great! If you mess up, just admit it and try something else. I’ll trust you a lot more than if you just fawn over the first thing you put on my face.

  8. Sandy

    I once had a sales associate approach me and say, “Try this product I’m selling, it will help get rid of your very dark undereye circles.”  I gave her a dirty look and walked away– I was suffering from bad allergies that day and did NOT need anyone pointing it out.  

    • True but from a sales associate prespective she didn’t know you had allergies. I’d give her a benefit of the doubt as a lot of people have permanent circles like myself. She could have question it better but at least she know what she was taking about when seeing a visual problem.

      • Sandy

         @Ani_BEE Yes, but I don’t think it’s ever a good tactic to approach someone about a “flaw”.  I prefer when they ask my what my concerns are.

        • Cissy

          As someone who’s worked at a beauty counter, asking open-ended questions about concerns is the way I was taught to sell/build a relationship.  If someone is just worried about hydration, I don’t try to sell them  something for wrinkles.  The very popular, long-term counter manager at a different counter taught me this.

        • k

          See, this is really how I wish sales associates would work–I don’t wanna be told “oh your ___ looks concerning, try this”. Maybe I’m allergic to it, or I’m sick, or I have a different brand I buy for that! The easiest way to sell something is to try to figure out what the customer wants first I think.

        • gilded_lady

           @Ani_BEE Agreed. It just comes off as rude.

    • Seneca

      This happened to me once too! A Lancome SA stepped right in front of me as I was trying to make my way out of Macy’s and told me to try some concealer to cover the dark circles under my eyes. This really turned me off, as I refuse to buy something from someone who was trying to make me feel bad about myself. 

    • Sarah

      I’ve had an experience similar to this too – was just out shopping and didn’t feel the need to put makeup on. I DID feel the need to wear a bag over my head after what she said to me.

  9. Abby

    If it’s a follow-up to a question– say, I ask about a lipstick and they suggest a good gloss to go over it, I don’t really mind. If it’s out of the blue or barely related to what I’m looking for, then it’s kind of weird.

  10. lolo91187

    Some of my favorite products have been suggestions from the sales associates. I may just have gotten lucky, but I’ve found that most of the time the people at the counters know their products and are great for recommendations. Sometimes I’ll be in the market for a new product, like a lipstick or eyeshadow, but not have a particular shade in mind and ask what they think would best for me (of course after giving them an idea of what I like) and that’s how I ended up with my two favorite lipsticks and my favorite eyeshadow. Of course, if they get pushy or I don’t like the product that they’re suggesting, I just don’t buy it. It’s as simple as that. 

  11. I had the longest stent of issues with MAC girls work the Pro and Bloor freestanding Toronto stores.
    They where all in the early 20’s and really didn’t know a thing. One sold me the wrong product are Pro when I asked for Full Coverage Foundation in White and gave me a pressed power in in a white shade. There was of course not tester anywhere int he store as well sadly so i didn’t know what i got until I got home a 2 hours drive later. I wasn’t worth the gas to try to drive back for a refund.
    Also asking one girl what concealer can cover light veins (full coverage) and she point blank said the concealer can’t cover discoloration… I must have ad a strange look on my face at her reply but didn’t want to correct her either.
    In general I don’t like a hoverer. I’m sure we all experienced that as well.

  12. Rawrzellers

    They’re always trying to tell me that I’m a different foundation shade and it drives me bananas. Like under all this florescent lightening your damn right I’m 2 shades lighter in this building. Like just give me NC25 and take my money.

  13. Seneca

    Sadly, I’ve become really distrustful of SAs at counters. I usually do my research and know more about the product I want to buy (or the range in general) than the SAs. I also find that a really common tactic used by SAs is to try to make you feel bad about yourself in order to get you to buy more products. I also hate when they start suggesting random products when you’ve informed them you are just browsing or know what you want already. Another pet peeve of mine is when SAs from one brand start bad talking another brand in order to get you to buy from their range. I know they are just trying to make a sale, but through a lot of trial and error I know what works for me and my skin! I’ve been turned off by a lot of brands due to a combination of these tactics. I usually avoid SAs that I’ve had bad experiences with and try to return to ones who were knowledgeable and not pushy. Increasingly, I prefer to shop for skincare and makeup online to avoid dealing with SAs. 

  14. danza

    When they recommend me what CLEARLY looks like a pink toned foundation.
    I’m yellow. The yellowest yellow skin you’ll ever did see. There is no pink whatsoever on this skin.
    Oh, just yesterday I was at the MAC counter looking for NC30 studio finish concealer. They didn’t have it in stock, and she tried to push NC35 at me. Which was so red compared to the NC30. It was very obvious she was trying to make the sale happen no matter what – at my cost. 

  15. wendyclcl

    i am a Chinese with fair to light skin tone netural undertone, the sales ladies in the Sephora or department store always select some foundation color that is too yellow or dark to my skin, now i don’t believe in their picks anymore.  Last week in the Macy’s Channel counter, i asked for a liquid foundation sample to the sales representative,  she told me i should have something darker since the lighter color will make me like wearing mask!!! I am thinking really? Too yellowish will make me like wearing maks as well.

  16. EvilPinkRobot

    The workers at my local Sephora constantly suggest I try Clinique. I always politely say, “No, thank you.” When they persist, I have to tell them the truth, that I’m allergic to the brand. A few times they’ll just stop after that, but more times than not, I get a response similar to this, “Pffft! But Clinique is great for sensitive skin!” I usually just smile and wait for them to walk away or ring me up.
    At MAC, I’m constantly being told I should buy a darker shade of makeup just in case I tan. I never ask for any foundation help. I just browse the lipsticks. They make me want to scream. So so bad. 

  17. Cissy

    More often than not, their income is at least partially-based on what they sell, it’s their job to make suggestions.  Are there bad associates out there?  Of course!  But more often it’s the fact that it is their job to sell you things and their livelihood is based on this.
    Some counters are worse than others in my experience.

  18. k

    I really am not a huge fan of Sales Associates, mostly because I like to browse alone. I know what I like, and while they’re probably just doing their job, it’s aggravating to constantly be asked if I need help. Especially the one time I went to Macy’s during a slow hour and the one woman from another makeup counter came up to me and was like “the MAC woman is busy right now with someone else, but she’ll help you in a second”. I was like no, omg that’s ok!! I’m just browsing, if I need help I’ll ask for it. ):

  19. hwendy

    I feel I have answered something quite similar the other day…
    from my experience, it depends.
    I like to play with the colours myself and ask them to leave me alone. if I really need help, I approch the “right” sales/makeup artists otherwise it can get quite annoying… “right” person means you appreciate his/her style too and then he/she will probably understand you better.
    and I normally avoid sales or makeup artists from the similar area like me 😛
    I love my tan skin and don’t need lots of skin products or makeup to cover it up.
    once, I had a make over in a makeup counter, while choosing the foundation, the guy asked me if I want to go for 1 or 2 shades lighter or match with my skin. I looked at him strangly and he said “oh, because almost all the girls from my area ask him to go as light as they can possibly go.” and I said “do whatever u think it s right as a perfessional that s the fun part of having a makeover..”.. and he gave me a golden tan base colour(which is a tiny bit darker then my shade but in a good way) + bronz y finishing powder + peachy nude lipstick.. and I love it. I bought everything he used on me! 😀

  20. Miss J

    I know I sound like a bitch, but I don’t think most makeup sales associates know much. I really don’t like to be bothered by them, and I prefer they keep their suggestions to their self unless asked. I have never had one match me correctly to foundation ever. They never know what they are talking about. They argue. If I ask for samples, they look at me like I’m being difficult. If I try to tell them what I already know, they get pissed. If I say I want to look by myself they ignore that and follow around interjecting at everything I pick up.
    Here are some experiences:
    I asked an SA to try NARS’ Exhibit A on me. The girl took a HUGE and dense buffer brush and was grinding it in the blush. I told her that NARS’ blushes were extremely pigmented, and she got pissed I suggested she didn’t apply it like that. She did anyway and I had huge red blobs on my cheek almost touching my jaw. She then proceeded to tell me if I wasn’t interested in a bold blush that I shouldn’t have wasted her time!
    I had NARS Taos blush snatched from my hand because I was lighter skinned.
    I was looking at Cover FX when an SA tried to sell me on their water based foundation instead. I said I was interested because I already had a similar foundation. She then told me I didn’t want the Full Cover because it was full coverage. And I said that’s exactly what I wanted, and she just kept getting mouthy like I was stupid. I clearly know what I’m looking for! In addition, when she tested it on me, I told her I prefer a yellow tone when she was going straight for the pinks, and she said nastily, “This IS the yellow tones.” When I corrected her that I was familiar with their numbering and that she had grabbed the pinks, she gave me a dirty look and refused to put the yellow tone on stating she knew I was pink.
    Oh, not to mention the girls who CONSTANTLY pushed NARS Orgasm. It got old when I said NARS Blush and then immediately, “OMG, NARS ORGASM, RIGHT?! No…
    Also, because these girls always try to match me to pink foundation tones, they never find a right shade, so because they can’t accept they are wrong they try to tell me I’m so light that nothing matches me when I’m not even light. 

  21. queen_frostine

    It depends.  There are some SAs who I have an established rapport with and I enjoy talking about makeup with them.  Sometimes over the course of a conversation they might ask me if I’ve tried a particular product yet (or have heard about one that’s not yet released), but in those instances it rarely feels like pitching.  It always comes off more like someone who’s genuinely excited about cosmetics and is sharing their enthusiasm for a new find or is familiar enough with my buying history to know what sort of things I might be interested in.  That I never mind.  But in general, I prefer to be left alone as I shop which isn’t much of a problem for me in most places.  I’m a familiar enough face at my local Sephora, Ulta, and MAC counter that I think they know that I’m a reliable customer and a guaranteed sell if I’m given enough space to play around on my own.  If i’m ever bugged by a sales assistant, it’s usually a new employee.

  22. gilded_lady

    Most of the time, I prefer to be left alone.
    My favorite story of “SA who thought they knew more about me than I do” was I went in to get some Bare Minerals foundation. The lady is all “I’ll get you matched in no time flat!” Three foundations, going outside into the mall light and the second opinion of another SA later…
    The worst was at one of the Sephora inside JC Pennys was having a NARS event. The lady didn’t even TRY to match me properly. She grabbed some medium, yellow toned foundation that looked so horrible on me it was downright awful. I still wish I’d grabbed her name to complain to corporate. She should have been fired for her obvious lack of caring.
    The sad thing was, I’m really not -that- hard of a match. I can get some faint color to me after a sunburn, but generally speaking grab me the lightest pink-toned foundation of your line and I’m set.

  23. Jane007

    They aren’t always right,  so I just try to find someone who is wearing make up that looks good, looks like they know how to do their own make up.

  24. Beth UK

    I find it irritating when they suggest things you aren’t looking at – I think that if I need help, i’ll ask for it and most people are the same.
    However, being a sales assisstant in a make-up section myself (in the UK), we are pushed to ask customers if they need help and to suggest certain products (and in our store we are not on any sort of commission). We have to do as we’re told really, and no matter how often you suggest that people like to look for themselves and will ask for help in they need it, management tell us time and time again to constantly check if our customers need any help. I don’t want a bad review by the bosses at work, and I guess alot of people are in the same position as me :( so we do what we do!

    • queen_frostine

      @Beth UK I’ve worked in retail in the US (though not selling cosmetics) and had similar demands placed on me by management. It’s why even when I get annoyed with sales pushing, I try not to hold it against the sales associate. Most SAs these days don’t work on commission, and they’re pressured to do their jobs in ways that corporate management feels will increase sales even if it decreases customer satisfaction with their shopping experience. Working retail sucks, and having done it myself, I tend to be pretty sympathetic and forgiving of the people waiting on me.

  25. I prefer to be left alone while shopping, but I don’t mind the initial greeting and I always expect help when I ask for it but I seem to have a more uncommon problem. I live in a conservative farming community and I have green hair, piercings, and 5″ platform boots and no one here really looks like me, at least no one who frequents the makeup counters. I have a hard time getting SA’s to help me no matter if I have a question or I just want to be rung up. I have literally had to chase some down and shout at them or even be rude to get a response. I war with myself about online shopping, on the one hand you don’t have to deal with people but on the other there is nothing like being able to swatch something and feel it in your hand before deciding if you want to buy it.

  26. lilinah

    I understand that many businesses want their SAs to talk about new products, and to check on customers and ask if they need help or are finding what they want. I’ve been a “Secret Shopper”, so i have some idea what certain businesses expect.
    When the SA recommends something of the sort i’m actually looking for, it is welcome. And i’m open to at least testing colors i wouldn’t ordinarily have considered, if the SA shows they have a clue about my coloring and skin condition. But when they recommend something because, “It’s a best seller!”, or “It’s really popular right now!”, or “Miss Over-rated Celebutard uses it!”, then, no, not at all welcome.
    I have had several negative experiences when i actually asked for help — i know the SAs were trying, but they failed. In several cases, they matched concealer, foundation, or powder to the dark spots and patches on my jawline and lower cheeks that i want to hide, rather than to the areas of my face that show my true skin tone. I’m between 15 & 20 on the MAC scale and in one case ended up with a face powder three or four shades too dark – i now use it as a contouring product. I know makeup SAs are often taught to match foundation and powder to the client’s jawline, but mine are CLEARLY dark and age-spotty, unlike the rest of my face — one doesn’t need special training to see that. In another case during a make-over the MUA clearly was not used to working on older women with aging, post menopausal skin which does not benefit from a lot of matte powdery products, especially under the eyes, although she did pick products of the right skin tone.

  27. JJang_JJudy

    Some SA really truly don’t know what the heck they are doing to my face when recommending products to me. They recommend the wrong shades, wrong formula, don’t really know what I’m looking for and take a random stab at it. I don’t know why these SAs are even working at these counters…. it’s bad for business I think.

  28. Nikki

    I prefer the help of a sales associate only when I ask for it.  And if I do ask for help, it usually has nothing to do with the product itself.  If I’ve never purchased it before, I usually just want to know the location of the product in the store so I don’t spend 10 minutes wandering around looking for it.  But most times I fly solo because I know exactly what I want and what shades to buy it in because I do my research ahead of time.