Thursday, April 5, 2007

Favourite Quote of the Day

"Make-up artists should hereby get the Nobel Prize for adding to human happiness. And so should hairdressers." by Sophie Kinsella Shopaholic and Baby

I've been a big fan of Sophie Kinsella and all her Shopaholic series for a long time. Her books are a light read and witty. I came across this line in her book that I just had to post because it's so true! Many times my co-workers and other make-up artists have felt undervalued at our job. I give props to all my fellow make-up artists that work at cosmetic counters because many times we are just not given enough credit. We beautify, act as a fill-in therapist the majority of the time, and are constantly stroking someone's ego. We are often judged right off the bat as being mean or snobby based on our appearance (I know - the beauty industry is all about appearances!). When we say "hi" don't automatically think we're trying to shove products down your throat. Many times I've said "hi" and received a, "I'm just looking thanks". If you're looking that's perfectly fine, but only say that when we ask you if you need help. If I'm mistaken hi simply means hi and should be responded accordingly, no? If you're in a hurry don't huff and puff if there's a long lineup. We do the best we can to quickly help each customer. If you need something quickly and are in a hurry don't come during rush hour.

Don't get me wrong - I've come across a fair share of make-up artists that ignore customers and walk in the other direction when they come their way. From my experience if you've come across a rude make-up artist it's usually because a customer has put them in a bad mood. However, it does not mean it gives us the right to take it out on customers. I think if you explain in a nice way to the make-up artist that she's hurt your feelings or what not I'm sure he/she will apologize. If the make-up artist does not apologize then you can report he/she to their manager.

I've been lucky to only come across a handful of rude or obnoxious know-it-all customers. On your next visit to your favourite make-up counter remember that we're not just there to fetch your products. We're there to enhance your natural beauty, to listen to your boy problems, to chat about the latest in fashion, to share a laugh or two, and give you tips on maintaining your super hot self. We can be your best friend or your worst enemy! Have it your way!

I'd love to hear your stories about a rude customer or make-up artist so please share!


yummy411 said...

wow. thanks for posting this. i love to hear the other side of the situation. i have a convenient MAC counter that i 'have' to go to lol, because its so convenient. for a while, i hated going there because i felt (sorry) that the girls were sooo snobby. they would always want to rush me into buying products. i'm a MAC fiend who can look and test products for hours. i tried to build a report with most of them so that they know i'm not there to steal or waste their time.. just using all 5 senses (well 4 lol) to test products and make a well thought out choice. they'd also give me a shady smile or look when they'd see me at the counter. don't get mad, just let me be. every time i go to the register, i'd get remarks like "you were over there all that time and that's all you are getting?" i'm thinking what difference does it make?? i'm not returning the product and i'll be in here in two more days buying more stuff.. cut me some slack with the remarks. besides, i don't have a ppid card like you guys do so hush! i had to stop going there until i saw a new set of girls that were willing to politely ask me if i need help, i'd say no or ask a question when i did and they just let me be. i'm not joking when i say this. i would bring a friends with me to witness their obnoxiousness so that i know i'm not crazy lol. their attitudes read:'we're the best MAC counter, we know our stuff and no one knows better. if you don't like what we do, you are crazy." i guess to them, they are trained, licensed or whatever and we the customers don't know much about technique, the product or anything =p. those who do or don't care to get into discussion and light chat just ask for a specific product and buy. oh well.... all counters and makeup artists aren't like that i know.. Makeup artists are revered amongst my friends and i.. and are greatly appreciated =)

Make-up Junkie in Canada said...

Hey Yummy 411!
Thanks for sharing your experience - trust me I'm sure you weren't going crazy and that isn't right for them to make a comment about how much you're buying. I think it's rude and I hate it when other artists do that. Lets not kid ourselves - makeup can be friggin' expensive! However on the flip side, I've had customers that wanted me to apply every shadow, blush, and lipstick on them only for them (during rush hour) to tell me in the end they were just looking which can be frustrating. It's fine to look but I'd rather customers be upfront from the beginning about what they want especially if it's busy. But it seems like you know how to handle yourself well and have become a regular. And I love customers like you that really love makeup and the whole technique of applying makeup. It makes my job more fun.

Anyways, thanks for sharing. Hearing your comments will make me a better artist/salesperson and will make me more in tune to what customers need and want. And I'm glad you gave MAC (or that counter) a second chance! No one's perfect right? lol

aliciabee said...

I shop at Sephora so MAC is a whole different ball game for me. I haven't experienced any rude MUA encounters from MAC employees yet, but I will say that the many times I've been in there, I haven't purchased anything! Isn't it funny how rushed assistance from store employees can be extremely annoying but at the same time, the simple lack of assistance can leave you feeling the same way?

I don't know if it's the fact that i tend to browse at slow MAC counters or what but I've never been approached by a MAC MUA before. Maybe it's also because the times I do go to MAC, I look like a bum on the street! It seems like MAC has a certain clientele that they tend to. I definately believe your appearance plays a factor in the service you recieve from those individuals.

Somehow, by simply looking at a person, you can tell that they know a thing or two about make-up, which will make their job (as the MUA) a lot easier. For some reason when I go into MAC, i appear to look really lost but at the same time i seriously want some assistance! I know if I wanted it that bad I would just ask, but at the same time I don't feel like that's my job. Surprisingly enough, I am actually intimidated my MAC employees (I know, silly right?). I also feel that once I walk into MAC, I am immediately being judged (re: yummy411 mentioned those shady smiles and stares, lol).

I guess the bottom line is this: Being a MUA is a very enjoyable profession, but at the same time the assistance it requires is quite extensive. It's not like retail where you simply help someone pick out an outfit, give them some clothes and call it a day. Instead theres the application process and tons of unanswered questions: What foundation will best suit this persons skin tone? What is a good way to tell this person why she shouldn't wear this eyeshadow? etc&etc. Lot's of time is involved in working with a customer that appears to be lost (like me!) and I know it seriously sucks when in the end, they don't buy anything! But you have to walk away with a positive attitude knowing that you helped someone enhance their make-up choices, you know?

I love Sophie Kinsella too! I have all of her books. I wasn't too impressed with Shopaholic and Baby though... but the drama in the book was a change! I find myself saying "Honestly." very often, haha. I also love it because the majority of my family lives in England and it's just a fresh reminder of how wicked it is there.

Make-up Junkie in Canada said...

Alicia! Thank you for being honest and sharing your experience! I appreciate it. I can only speak for myself when I say that I treat every customer the same no matter who they are or what they look like because I'd want the same treatment (unless they have been "red flagged" by security - our counter is near the subway and we get lots of shady customers). Yes, the make-up profession can be fun but I do know that my job takes more than swiping on an eyeshadow for the customer to be happy. I am more than happy to go through every product that would suit their needs, but I prefer it when customers tell me up front that they are just looking for advice. This way if there is a customer that is buying I can help them and then go back to her after. We don't do that to be rude and I always ask the customer if they'd be ok if I stepped away to ring in another customer. If it's busy we must attend to buying customers - that's just business and it's nothing personal. It's quite a balancing act and some artists master it and some don't. I've also had customers that make me try on everything to avoid paying for the application (that happens a lot haha). And you're right - it is not up to you to have to ask for help. The salesperson/artist should always approach the customer first. If it is busy and no one has approached you don't be afraid to ask for help. There's always a flip side because I know for myself I've been snubbed by a lot of customers when I've approached them and they act like I've attacked them, but I've accepted that it comes with the job and not every customer is the same. So, I say hi no matter what. The MAC counter can seem like a scary and intimidating place but it's really not all that bad. I swear there are some nice ones! lol We all make assumptions whether you're a customer or sales person. The beauty world is all about making yourself "perfect" on the outside but no one's really perfect on the inside right?

Thanks again for your thoughts and please do come back! :)