Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Temptalia Asks You


Have you ever been discriminated against at a makeup store or counter? How did you handle it?

Temptalia's AnswerAs a teenager/early college student, I definitely felt like very few counters/stores would take me seriously – like they didn’t think I was worth bothering with because I wasn’t going to spend money.

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156 thoughts on “Have you ever been discriminated against at a makeup store or counter?

  1. Nicole

    About ten years ago, I went into a MAC store for the first time. I had purchased plenty of MAC from the counter in Macy’s, but I was really excited to be in an actual MAC store, and I was prepared to spend a good amount of money. The girl that worked there kept pushing lots of brown eyeshadows at me, and I just wasn’t interested. When I expressed that brown tends to make me look tired, her response was, “You want to know what DOESN’T look good on you? That eyeliner you’re wearing.” While I’m usually a pretty quick witted woman, that comment left me speechless. Luckily I had the presence of mind to push my younger sister out of the store before she punched that chick in the face. It took me quite some time before I would venture into another MAC store again.

  2. Avril

    At my drug store in my hometown. This old witch who hated kids and teenagers was the Cosmetics Manager and generally the person working the floor on slow days. To list two incidents:

    -I had horrible skin in middle school, but didn’t wear makeup. However, I wanted to wear foundation for a costume. Lady said really snottily to my mom “Are you sure you don’t mean ‘concealer'”

    -My friend’s debit card didn’t go through, Lady accuses her of having stolen it

    And in general she’s just rude as anything to teenagers and follows them around to make sure they’re not stealing or anything.

  3. Angela

    People tend to practically throw products my way so I’ve learned to evade them. I usually don’t wear much makeup when I do go shopping, but I guess I look like a nice ripe customer for the picking. It get so bad sometimes that I purposefully avoid swatching or even looking counters cause I’ll know I’ll be ambushed by an employee trying to sell something.And when they do, and I say I’m just browsing, they get all mad and disappointed.

    Umm earth to cosmetics employees: Stop being so damn aggressive!If we need help, we’ll tell you!

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Fatemah Fatemah Jamil

    I remember last year I was in a superdrug in the UK and the employees there are usually very nice, but this one time I was looking at some lipstick testers and I was swatching it and this lady came and pulled from my hands in and said in a very rude way that it was not a tester! so I told her that it was already open when I tried it and it was placed in same area as the testers are, but she just ignored me and was saying no. She was very rude about it mind I was 19 at the time and was wearing a head scarf ( I don’t know if that had to do when anything) , I just came out of the shop but looking back I really wished I called the manager and complained about her, but at least I know what to do if I ever countered someone like her. :)

  5. Fatima A.

    I have had more uncomfortable experiences at MAC than good ones I always feel like I am not welcome as if my money wasn’t worth the same as other people I remember once I had just got out of work, long day at work was wearing a plain T-shirt and some old jeans ( I had been painting a set and building props so I looked dirty to say the least) well I went to MAC had a list of things to pick up and enough money that is how I usually shop well the girl there did not even want to take my list she told me that they didn’t carry the things I needed and that maybe I should go to CVS or something I was so hurt I asked to talk with her manager and ask for them to see my profile once she realized how much I had already spend and how much I was about to spend she turn all shades of red I just walked out of the store and never again came back, I love MAC but really it seems like all girls who work there dont want to work there :(

    • Rachel

      that’s so sad.

    • Nikki

      I completely agree. When I did shop at MAC counters and stores, I ALWAYS seemed to have to deal with women who made me feel as though I was inconveniencing them when I asked for any form of help! I’ve only be to one counter that I actually liked, and unfortunately I visited it while on vacation so it’s not near by. Their customer service really needs a makeover!

  6. Josiane

    I was talking with the girl from the Armani counter about the Eyes to kill eye shadows, kowing the names of all the shades, etc (showing her I had some kowledge) She proceeded to explain me how to put on eyeliner and which color I should choose to match my eyes because I wasn’t wearing a lot of make up that day. I never asked her for this information (which I already knew) and even though she could have understood that I had some make up kowledge she assumed I didn’t kow anything because I had almost no make up on.

  7. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Tuss Tuss

    Yay, my question! I should answer this myself…

    I am 17 years old, and how I am treated greatly depends on the amount of makeup I am wearing at the moment. I have been completely ignored by the girls at MAC, merely because I didn’t have makeup on. I asked her repeatedly for help but she just walked away to help another customer. I was so mad, I didn’t return until now, three years later. They probably didn’t recognize me. My makeup skills had greatly improved, and now, whenever I go in, they treat me like a friend.

    There is no excuse. It shouldn’t matter if I looked like I’m 13 or 89 years old, or if I’m a guy, bald, in sweatpants or fancy clothing – they should treat everyone with the same respect. If I worked for MAC or any other makeup store/brand, I would rather lose money for a stolen product, than to lose a potential customer by treating her badly – but that’s just me.

  8. Katelyn

    I’m 19 now, and I used to always get discriminated against when I went to my local Lancome counter. When I first started wearing makeup on a regular basis (around age 15-16), my mother wanted me to wear “good” quality foundation because previous drugstore foundations always broke me out. When I would go own my own to repurchase my foundation/powder/eyeliner, none of the sales associates would pay attention to me or bother answering my questions when I asked about other products or new collections. At even a younger age, I would go to Lancome to buy my mother lipstick as a present, and she would wait of to the side so my purchase would be a “surprise.” Even when they had zero customers, it was extremely hard for me to get waited on. I was probably around 12-13 at the time, and although I was a younger customer, my money was the same as any other person’s (granted, at that time, I wasn’t making the money on my own). It even got to the point that I would have to carry cash in my hand and kinda “flash” it to the associates to let them know that yes, I can afford this makeup, and yes I’m actually going to buy something. Nowadays, I only buy eyeliner from Lancome, and it’s partly because of these past experiences. But even now when I go to SOME Mac counters, I feel like I am sometimes discriminated against because of the way I look. I’m a college student and more of a jeans-tshirt-sneakers kind of girl, and I know that this makes me look like I’m just browsing and not going to buy. If nobody even talks to me and offers to help me, I’ll simply leave and not buy. I don’t like giving my business to places that make it feel like they won’t help me because of my age and/or the way I look.

  9. Mishy

    I’m Asian and when I ask for foundation shade match. The sales people give me something way tanner than my skin shade. I’m East Asian that have skin learn toward the light side. But they think all Asian is yellowish tan.

  10. Mishy

    I always ask for foundation samples from Sephora or other high end counters before I buy full size. Not that I’m cheap, but foundations tend to oxidize in the afternoon, so I need samples of different shades to try on to make sure that’s something I want. (Although I know I can return the full bottle if I don’t like it, it would be a waste and makeup store lose money). Sometimes when I ask, sales people think I’m trying to get freebie. I went to one Macy’s Clinique counter to ask for BB Cream, the lady worked there said “it’s a high profile product, we don’t give out sample here, you can try Estee Lauder”. Geeeez, don’t talk to me like that, I have got 5-6 REAL BB creams from Asia in my makeup drawer, I am just curious how Clinique BB cream perform.

  11. CGstrein

    It was at the MAC counter at Nordstroms. Completely not like Nordstroms but from reading the comments, not that atypical for MAC. I went on 3 different occasions and each time was ignored and finally begrudgingly helped. I bought a lipliner and a brush. Felt like my make-up was a little too conservative for them (I am much more adventurous now). That was about 15 years ago and I haven’t bought a MAC product since. I worked in retail for many years and understand that you can have a bad day but 3 strikes and you are out. I don’t hold grudges against people but I do hold grudges against brands or stores that have poor customer service. Guess now I am the one discriminating against them because I almost broke down this week and bought a MAC 217 brush but just couldn’t do it. I ended up ordering from Hakuhodo.

  12. Emma

    I’ve been ignored or not taken seriously many times. I noticed, that if I wear high heels and a nice makeup the SAs treat me just like every other customer. But sometimes I go shopping after school and with plain makeup, flats and a backpack they treat me like I’m wasting their time.

  13. Kendra

    Oh yeah…I’m in my 20s but I guess I look young so I do get ignored at those higher end counters. I went to my local Dior counter once to get matched to a foundation. I was really interested in the new Dior Forever one…the MUA matched me to a shade and everything. I wasn’t quite ready to drop that much money on a foundation without trying it out for a few days, so I asked for a sample. The MUA told me that I had to buy something previously to get a sample. What a load of crap…I never knew Dior had that sort of policy! And so I marched to another counter asking for a sample.

  14. aino

    I already answered once but something new came to my mind while reading other people’s comments…. There have been some saying that it might be your attitude or confidence making the difference, and in a way I guess I agree. However, I hate that I do.

    My sister, who is 22 years old, looks quite young for her age. She has long blond hair, a bit of a baby face, she’s kind of short and always wears very natural makeup. She dresses very conservatively and in quite visibly expensive clothes, though, so it shouldn’t be a matter of “looking too poor to buy anything”. The problem is that (these are her words) she only gets good service when she acts rude and extremely demanding. After many years of snubbing from the personnel, she feels this is the only way to get their attention.

    So, this leads to quite an unpleasant situation for both sides: her (the customer) feeling like she isn’t good enough to shop as herself and the salesperson suffering because of a rude and basically bitchy customer. Even if it’s about attitude, is it okay that you should act mean to get good service? Since normal confidence wasn’t enough… She’s plenty confident so that wasn’t the case, either. The whole situation just feels so messed up to me.

  15. MacKenzie

    Discriminated against? Yes and no. I live in Texas, and while I live in a casual city, generally, people are judged on their appearance as an indicator of their spending ability. If I feel like that’s going on, I don’t get particularly offended because clearly, the SAs are the stupid ones.

    That said, despite how I’m usually dressed (casually), and the fact that I’m older and overweight, I only have one purse and it’s obviously expensive. Like, really expensive, and not a brand that is typically knocked off. Smart SAs who notice that are very nice to me.

    MAC SAs always have attitude. I have to take complete charge of the situation to keep them in line. I find Dior SAs to be especially pushy.

    I always get treated well at Chanel counters. They must know their purses ;)

  16. Christina

    Usually I don’t let the SAs ignore me. I command their attention, not in a rude way, but I just go right up to them if they aren’t busy (or say “excuse me could you help me when you’re done with your client?”). I ask a lot of questions, drop some lines that make them know I’ve done my research and I’m serious about buying makeup. I think its also important to establish relationships with certain SAs that you click with so you always have someone to help you (coordinate going in when they are working, usually they are super helpful with that because it helps their commission. I even email with a couple of mine!)
    The only time I’ve been treated REALLY poorly was when I was Back2MAC’ing and the SA could tell I wasn’t going to buy anything (which I was like IDGAF about because I spend lots of money on MAC all the time, I can get my “free” stuff!)

  17. Danielle

    I don’t find I am discriminated against. Usually the sales associates are pretty helpful. Although I do go to Mac a lot and most of the people who work there know me now, so that helps. However, I did have a weird experience once with a sales associate who was selling those spray tans in a can. I am fair (NW 20) and the guy kept giving me dirty looks and kept offering to spray my skin. And then he followed me for a bit around the makeup counters with the stupid fake tan bottle.

    • Lee

      that’s really creepy, at that point I would talk to the management of the store or mall security, or maybe I would just cuss him out

  18. Debbie

    I am 37 but I guess I look younger than my age because I am typically ignored unless I am carrying my Louis Vuitton hand bag. I guess because the hand bag supposedly carries more money than my typical Coach.

  19. Heraclio

    As a beauty advisor at Macy’s, I always greet anyone near my bay whether there stopping to look at something or merely passing by. The only people I sometimes avoid are groups of teenage girls with their VS or Forever 21 bags and vapid sense of self, any children! I am human as well, so there are days were I will not ignore; but leave a “potential” client to browse for themselves if I feel there not going to buy anything. Only on off days though!

  20. belinda

    For sure. It still happens too. If you go into a very expensive department store like Barney’s or Neimans, and you aren’t dressed to the hilt, then sometimes you don’t get any service. It is especially hurtful when it’s blatant, like when they greet everyone that come to the counter and offer to show them some colors, but you get barely a look.
    I used to work at a Neiman’s in LA while in high school and floated to different departments. I worked in handbags one day where all the other regular salespersons would hand off the customers they thought wouldn’t buy anything to me. In that one afternoon, I sold 4 Chanel quilted handbags to these customers that others deemed not worthy of their time. You can’t always judge a book by it’s cover.

  21. Nikki

    Definitely YES! Each time I was at the MAC counter, which is why I no longer purchase makeup from their counters or stores (only online).

    The first time, I went in to repurchase a lipstick, and as always it was crowded. I’m patient so I waited around for 30-45 minutes to be assisted. Three customers later when I was finally next, a young caucasian sales associate looked me in the face and walked right past me, to help another caucasian woman standing near me at the counter (I’m African American). The customer being helped knew that I was next and politely stated so to the associate who smugly stated, “She’ll be ok. How can I help you today?” I could do nothing but stand there in disbelief! The helped customer and I were so outraged that we both spoke to the person in charge who apologized to me and immediately took care of my needs. Apparently, this wasn’t the first time someone had reported this kind of behavior from that associate. I’m not sure what became of her, but I haven’t seen her since this incident. :-/

    Despite these issues, I decided to step foot to this counter yet again during my lunch break one day and was burned once again! I went in on a Monday because I was in the mood for a new pink lipstick, and when I arrived I was glad to see no one else there. However, my excitement quickly subsided because the two young ladies at the counter didn’t even greet me let alone offer to help. They looked over when I walked up and continued their “important” conversation. I went on to swatch a few lipsticks and noticed the advertisement for Viva Glam Nicki, so I picked it up to swatch. Suddenly I could feel I was being watched. I looked up to both associates carefully watching me but continuing their conversation. I brushed it off, sat the lipstick down on the counter and inspected my swatches. To my surprise, one of the associates walked over when she thought I wasn’t looking and literally snatched and hid the Viva Glam Nicki tube behind the counter! Her actions made me feel as though they thought I was trying to steal a USED lipstick! After all that, I decided not to buy anything else from this counter. I just couldn’t justify spending money at a counter where I was treated like a common criminal! I haven’t returned since.

    I’ve been to other MAC stores and counters with bad service, but this counter was by far the worse! I never hope to relive those experiences, and I wouldn’t wish them on anyone!

    • Lee

      yikes! that would put me over the edge if someone assumed I wanted to steal a used lipstick, I’d call them out on that

  22. Jessie

    When I was in Europe I noticed the service at the Mac and Sephora stores were very poor. I was in the Mac store and opened one of the drawers to find the shade I was looking for and the women there stomped torwards me in disgust like I was throwing all the products in my purse! She basically told me in broken english that I was not allowed to touch the drawers. The MUA were generally very unfriendly and not helpful. I have not had this problem in the states or Canada, the sales associates have been very friendly and kind to me. Especially at Sephora where they treat me more adult although i’m only 15.

  23. Lee

    Most of my experiences shopping at MAC have been good. There was one time back when I was about a week or so away from finishing high school and I wanted a new lipstick to go with the badass rose colored highlights I was about to add to my hair after I graduated (private school banned hair dye in unnatural shades). So I go to the MAC counter at my local nordies with my best friend (who happens to be a male, and gay but of course he’s almost always assumed to be my boyfriend) I’m not sure if having him along changed the attitude of the SA. The SA came by after a few minutes of me poking around the lipsticks waiting for assistance, asks if I need anything, and I asked her to sterilize some shades for me (I think I was holding dubonnet, rebel, and ladybug) which she did and then just brought them back to me in front of a mirror and left to go help another customer. This was good and all, but I like to have the SA stay and give some input if she can, and there wasn’t another SA working the counter so I understood and went about trying on shades. After my friend and I decided on what to buy, I’m pretty sure I waited about 10 minutes for her to ring me up, which wouldn’t take long to do at all but I wasn’t sure how to address her, I was hearing talk of “blush and lipliner” so they must have been doing a full face makeover. My friend and I just came to the conclusion that we waited too long just to ring up one measly lipstick and just left. I don’t know if the SA thought I was just screwing around trying on makeup and was being passive about it, if she was mad I brought a man near the makeup, or if it was just a result of being understaffed that day.

  24. bri

    Most mac employees are great nice people, the problem lies within the company. As much as they say they are make up driven its all about numbers when a customer wants a one item purchase it hurts the employees numbers bringing ipt down, not discriminating against any customers but the item being purchased. Thats why i feel the customer service isnt always up to par not saying this is the right way to go about it. But the employees get write ups even if they are bringing the money in, but if they dont have enough items up to the standards of the company its still a write up.