How do you handle pushy salespeople at counters or beauty stores?

I usually try to give them a firm, “I’m just looking, and if I need anything,
I’ll be sure to let you know!” but try to be polite/nice about it – just try to say it confidently, though. If they get pushy to the point where I’m uncomfortable, I’ll leave.

— Christine
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Tbh I have never experienced too pushy. I let them know I’m just looking. It helps going with another person and keep engaged in a conversation while you browse. They usually leave you alone then. But most sale assistants just want to show you one thing. You listen and give them a “oh that’s nice” and move around the corner to look at something else

It why, for better or worse, most of the time I go to Sephora. No one bothers me, and I can browse all day if I want to. The department stores — I really can’t take it. I feel hounded and stalked at times. I’m a grown-a$$ed woman. I know how to find a salesperson if I need one.

When I say nicely, “I’m just looking.” And they’re like, “well if you need anything…” No kidding. I know it’s just a routine, but it really, really bugs me to the point that I leave most of the time

Yep, same here. Should we petition the higher-ups at these department stores to have them tell their sales staff to just say hi/acknowledge clients and nothing more unless requested? It’s my number one pet peeve and I always end up leaving within 5 minutes of being in the store because of it.

Pretty much the same as Christine – a polite but firm “Thanks. I am just looking to see what is new” or something like that. Sometime I’ll say “I’m looking to see what I can tell my family I want for my birthday” (my birthday is all through the year, based on how often I will use this excuse….but it seems to work really well)

Exactly what Christine said.

At this point, many of the salespeople at the stores/counters I go to most often know me, which is good and bad. Good because I’ve gotten extra free gifts and they can steer me towards things they think I’d like. But bad because they can be a little TOO chatty and helpful sometimes, and then I feel bad if I don’t buy anything from them.

On the other side, there’s Sephora, where there seems to be different salespeople working every time I go there, and I usually have trouble getting one of them to help me. No idea why that is.

I’ve stopped shopping at Neimans for that reason. They all seemed to get too personal and kept calling me “babe” or “love.” Very very unprofessional not to mention incredibly annoying. If I’m looking for something specific, I’ll say it. Otherwise it a “Just browsing, thanks.”.

My friends have suggested that I am the Ron Swanson from parks and rec going into a hardware store getting asked if he needs help and telling the individual “I know more than you.” but for makeup… I would never actually do that, but it is funny. I am actually just really polite and if someone is especially pestering I will ask them a question, I imagine some places are really pushing their sales people and they’re just trying to keep up with requirements.

This is one reason why I have begun to prefer Sephora over Nordstrom’s because I get so nervous when people are following me around, and I just want to look. I feel like the pushy salespeople have kept me from discovering products that I might really like, because I don’t have the chance to really look.

I get that it is their job to approach customers and to sell products. I also realize that if there is more than one or two sales associates they don’t know that you have already been approached by 2 or 3 other people. Having said that, if I have responded that I am just browsing and you keep bugging me then I am out of there. Frankly, as I have become more comfortable with ordering product on line I try to avoid going to the brick and mortar shops for anything other than just swatching the product myself. My daughter and I count how many times we have been asked and we set a number when we walk in. Sephora and MAC are the worst offenders. Then when you do want their help they are all congregated behind the register talking. My daughter has hit on a good method for avoiding them. She puts her IPOD ear buds in, the kind that block all sound, and just walks around. If anyone speaks to her she can’t hear them and doesn’t feel like she has to talk to any of the associates.

It depends on their attitude about it. If I sense that they’re just genuinely enthused about makeup (or whatever), I will come back in a far more friendly, but firm manner: “No, that’s okay, I’m just looking! But hey, would you happen to have ____ in stock here yet” (inject some brand-new item that you already *know* they probably don’t have) But if they are an intrusive space-invader, my manner will be more of me bringing my Jersey Girl to the game! More pointed and blunt. Worse comes to worse, I will either leave, or if I went in there for a specific item, will let them know that this is all I’m there for and then go stand on line.

I find makeup counters are pushier than stores…if you can get counter people to notice you at all. I try to avoid makeup counters, TBH. If someone is pushy, I do pretty much the same as Christine.

I used to be one of them (when bosses were watching). I just wanted to let people browse in peace, like I like to do myself. My favorite encounter was when a rep told me the mascara in her hand was going to make my lashes so much better. I asked what she thought was wrong with them… let her respond, and advised I had it on and just came to get a fresh one, but if she thought it didn’t look good, then I would just find a new one…. and I left.

I have 1 person I deal with at each store. There’s a standalone store that I go to and I’m comfortable with all of them, but for the rest of the stores (save for Sephora), I have just 1. If I don’t see him/her, I just keep walking. The aggressiveness is a huge deterrent.

I actually don’t have tons of issues with this. Maybe it’s because when somebody asks if I need help finding anything, I usually say “I’m good for now, thanks!” and smile. They usually leave me alone after that and I will approach them if I actually have a question.

I’ve found that if I say I’m just looking around, some salespeople will start trying to push products on me that I’m not interested in. I don’t blame them because I’ve worked in retail before and I understand it’s their job. As long as they make it quick and let me get back to what I’m doing, I really don’t mind.

This is the wording I use and the same experience I get. I NEVER say “browsing” or “looking around,” because that invites SA’s to try to draw my supposedly wandering attention toward something in hopes to make a sale. If I give a firm “No thank you [name on name-tag], I’m fine right now” with a smile then I get left alone. If there’s no name tag and I plan on being there for a while or plan on coming back, I ask for their name.

I had to post a second response after what I experienced three hours ago.

I went to the store Blue Mercury for the first time. I walked into the store and a saleswoman greeted me and asked if I was looking for something. I told her I have a passion for makeup and it was my first time in this store. She told me she was a makeup artist and asked me what brand of concealer I was wearing. I said it was Tarte, and she reacted with an expression as if I had just told her that I buy my makeup at Claire’s. She told me she had a better concealer by the brand Chantecaille (which I was not familiar with) and asked me if she could put it on me. I thought, why not, and said yes.

She then proceeded to apply the concealer ON TOP of the concealer and setting powder I was already wearing. Needless to say, it didn’t look good. She then said she should have put primer on first, and then proceeded to put the primer ON TOP of the concealer she had just applied, and then more concealer on top of that! It was a shiny, cakey mess.

I politely asked if the concealer should be set, and she sarcastically answered, “Oh, you LIKE looking dry.” I stayed polite and left the store empty-handed, but thought of so many clever comebacks as I drove home.

I don’t think she must have been a trained MUA at all, the way she put all of those products on your face. Besides Chantecaille is a very expensive brand and not all of it works for everyone.
A couple of years ago I went to the Estee Lauder counter to try some of the Double Wear foundation. After telling the MUA that I had very fair, sensitive skin, she cleansed (fine) and then, without warning, slapped on a stack of toner – which stung like crazy, made my face red immediately and then complained to me, that I should have told her I didn’t use toner……..
When eventually she put on the foundation (because I wasn ‘t going to be walking around the shopping centre with red, blotchy skin), it started peeling and flaking. Her only comment was that I didn’t exfoliate enough…….I have never been back there since.

Ugh, what awful service! Sounds like she needs
to be retrained. EL Double Wear is my HG foundation. When I first bought it, the EL MUA cleansed a small section of my jaw area, used the color tester thingy, then put a bit of foundation on. She gave me a little sample bottle to take home so I could try it for a week. I’ve been using it ever since. That’s the way EL MUAs are trained to do it.

When you are my age (60+) the MUA’s don’t want to know you….acknowledge you…. even when you are wearing more makeup that 90% of the other ‘younger’ customers…especially in the more upmarket makeup shops.
Every now and again, you do get a friendly one and sometimes they do try to sell you products that are clearly not your shades or anything.
Anyway – if anyone is too pushy – a firm “I’m browsing” comment, politely said is enough.

I can see how it would be irritating if they don’t say hi, but maybe they do it because they’re guessing you KNOW what you want and they see younger people as more influenceable…..?

How about handling pushy CYBER sales associates or trackers? Seriously, if I click on a product at Tarte’s website but don’t buy it, I get “hunted down” at my own personal email inbox. Their line is (and I got this one a few hours ago,) “You know you want to …” If you put it in your shopping cart but don’t checkout, they send you another. Sometimes by the third time they’ll offer you a discount. I’m all for a discount, but give site wide coupons everybody can use without the harassment.

Yes, I get their offers and stuff. But this cyber stalking-shopping bs has got to stop.

I ALWAYS get asked if I need anything, at Sephora or at a counter. If I smile and say I’ll let them know, then they keep going.

I heard from a friend who works at Sephora that they sometimes do that if someone looks suspicious…and given that I look exceptionally young for my age (I look like I’m 18 still…. I’m 27) I always get asked if I’m doing ok. One time, I decided to pop into Sephora after my yoga class even though I had my rather large gym bag in tow, and I got asked many many times if I needed something, as well as followed. 🙂 I’m not angry about it, I thought it was funny — I know they’re doing their job and someone carrying a large bag could potentially shoplift. 🙂

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