Having a SA argue with you?

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Does this ever happen to anyone? Okay wait, let me rephrase because that's probably happened to almost everyone here... does anyone have any stories to share when a SA disagrees with you or points out that you're basically, well..wrong about a product?


I have a few stories. One time at MAC, I wanted to exchange MAC Brave because it didn't look as great as it did when I tried it out in the store. I told the SA that I didn't like the color because it made my lips look washed out and had a pearly/frosty look to it. " Here's how our conversation went:

Me: I wanted to exchange a lipstick. When I tried it out at home, it looked different and kinda washed me out. Also, there's a bit of a pearly appearance which probably was the cause of making me washed out

SA: Oh no, this has no pearl finish, (swatches on her hand) See, none at all. It looks fine on you.

Me: ........well when I checked the MAC website, the description of the lipstick states "pink-beige with white pearl"

SA: I don't know, but I definitely do not see a white pearl here. (swatches again) I don't see anything at all. It's probably because this is a Satin lipstick.

Me: A satin finish just makes it semi-matte though, it's pearly.. the color itself states that there's white pearl..

SA: No, it's the satin finish. That makes it pearly.  There's no white pearl in the actual lipstick.

Me: .........I just want to exchange this lipstick for MLBB color.

I ended up getting MAC Cosmo. Ugh, that lady was annoying. Tried to sell me some lipliner too.


Another one was in Sephora, when I went back to exchange my MUFE Mat Velvet + because it oxidized on me, so I wanted a lighter shade.  I had 45, and wanted to get 35. The lady kept stating that the foundation is oil-free, therefore it does not oxidize, this does not happen, it's "basically impossible." She also kept interrupting me with "No's" when I was saying that I noticed the foundation got darker, and I missed a spot by my outer cheek, near the ear, so I was able to tell that, whoa, my foundation got darker. She also said that I probably got lighter over time after I told her that I just bought the foundation a few days ago. I just wanted to be like, LISTEN B---- and bring out my sassy side LOL


Anyone have any frustrating encounters? Haha

Re: Having a SA argue with you?

I'm 26 years old, but luckily look much younger. (the round baby face kinda look thing kills it). and I always seem to have an issue with Clinique Counter where I am. 
I bought the clinique cleaning brush, which I LOVE (even after all this mumbo jumbo happened). The first time that I bought this brush, I had it for about a month. Suddenly it began to buzz whenever it wanted too - turn on and off just like magic all by itself. So, I took it back to the ladies at Clinique in Sears to get an exchange because they have a year warranty. They told me they would keep it over night and see if it did it to her. 

It did. So they replaced it. 

Great I thought just in time for my trip coming up in January! I could have a beauty beachy tan with beautiful clean skin! 

Ya no. 

It stopped working. I charged it ext and it just wouldn't work! 

So, again I went down and told them it wasn't working. At this point they were looking at my like I was some sketchy women who was just wanting new brushes without having to buy the replacements! Ugh. *note these ladies are much older, most in their 50's so some noses are stuck in the air sometimes*

She said she would again keep it over night, and when i came back the next day they said i have to take the head on and off.

Obviously she said, I had been to rough on the brushes and am pushing to hard, and don't know what I am doing.  -_-

I just stared at her. I told her fine, took the brush back and as I left I said I would call the company and get a new one shipped to me.

No no no we will exchange it! 

That was over three months ago. And now whenever I go there they always ask how the brush is going and are all snoody. 

Like F-- off. 

Lol rant done. 

Re: Having a SA argue with you?

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I've never had sales associates argue with me, but they ignore me more often than not. It might be because I look like a college student despite graduating a decade ago. Department stores are the worst, particularly Macy's and Nordstrom. Even to this day, I have to go to the makeup counter with my mom just so I can make a purchase. It's just unfortunate that she lives across the country!


Weirdly enough, the higher end places like Neiman Marcus are fantastic. I did read that luxury retailers are trained to be nice to Asian customers, though, so I might have that going for me, haha. Seriously, my mom gets greeted immediately in Mandarin as soon as she walks into Chanel in SoHo. Meanwhile, Tiffany's is fantastic, while nobody at mall jewelry stores like Kay's will even greet me. 


I always had problems getting help at one Sephora store and hated waiting half an hour on a wait list when I had a quick question about a brush, but after I filled out the survey on the receipt complaining about (lack of) service a couple of times, things turned around really quickly. Now, it's a fantastic experience shopping at that store. 

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Once got suckered into one of those people trying to make the sales pitch for some skin care thing at a mall once, after getting a free sample. Felt way too awkward to just leave when they were trying to talk to me. But what really got my goat was when the guy asked me "Well, why do you wear so much makeup?" It was a weekend, and I tend to do a full face on weekends since I have the time and it's fun. So bit taken aback by his question and just responded with "I like wearing it." But then he comes back with "Well, are you trying to hide something or cover something up?" Uh, no? I like wearing makeup. It's fun to do. I wear it for me. And he was asking with the condescending, judging tone that said "You're wearing too much makeup." And that just really rubbed me the wrong way. I insisted again that I wear makeup because I like to and left fuming not long after. As much as I love free samples and testing out new things, I make a point to just say "No thank you" so most of those places offering free samples. Not dealing with an experience like that again.

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I went to a Nars counter at bloomingdales to return one of those dual intensity blushes because I felt like the color pay off wasn't working well for me. I circled the area trying to look for something I could exchange it for, and had settled on exchanging it for a new highlighter.


It took me roughly 15 minutes to get the SA's attention. There was only one person working. She completely ignored me and helped all the other people standing around the counter, and when I finally saw her in the clear, I approached her to simply state that I wanted to return an item. She again, blew me off and said something like "oh you should look around let me know what you want to get instead!" while she was walking away. At this point I was really frustrated. I decided that I was just going to return the item and leave. So I walked up to the SA who was now just sitting around looking at her phone and said I just wanted to return my item. She snapped at me and said "What? those are good products, what, you don't know how to use it? what's wrong with you?" 


I looked at her completely dumbfounded and walked away. I was about to turn and leave, but I decided to complain. Right before that really crap experience with the Nars SA, I had a great experience at the Space NK across the floor, so I decided to walk over and ask for a manager. I let them know what had happened and that it was completely unacceptable to be treated this way. They took care of the return right there on the spot for me, but the manager just pulled me aside and said "sorry for the negative experience, we assure you this won't happen again" and that was it ... 


haven't returned to that bloomys since then. i'm usually a super passive person and i just walk away and try to forget it ever happened, but the way this SA was talking to me was just so off putting and condescending that I felt like I had to speak up. can't stand this kind of rude behavior just being brushed off like this! Smiley Sad 

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I was just thinking about this when getting ready this AM as I put on J'Adore perfume.  It reminds me of the time last year I was at my local Ulta and wanted to get a specific Marc Jacobs perfume.  They didn't have it in stock so the SA starts to suggest other things to me.  She asked what I liked and I said fruity, some floral, sweet things generally.  She got hooked on floral and started giving me a few to smell and quite honestly none of them smelled good.  So because I wasn't interested in THOSE florals, she proceeds to tell me that I shouldn't tell someone I like florals when I don't.  Uhhhh...... ok?

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Unless its a return policy discrepancy arguing with strangers is a no-go for me.  A Sephora employee told me there were no new Pro brushes, and I had already bought one of them at another location! I showed her a picture, we briefly discussed them, and I kept it moving. If it has to do with how a product feels, how nice it looks, will it mattify *my* skin, it is more pink than purple, how similar it is to product x, etc., that's all subject to opinion. If they have a difference in opinion on a specific product, I try to engage them in a dialogue without getting huffy. That way everyone learns something. If I sense too much attitude I'll say thanks and find someone else to help me. If its really bad I'll report them to the company.

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LOL ho ho ho do I have a story to tell. 

I had a Sephora phone rep basically ACCUSE me of making multiple faulty transactions and requests. This was entirely false. Um hello, you can see my purchase history. When I asked her for clarification and proof she had nothing to say but "you have done this". Worst Sephora experience ever. 

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I think that's part of the sales culture.


I find that not giving a specific reason prevents an unnecessary conversation regarding the reason for which an item is being returned/exchanged. What difference does it make to a sales associate why you don't like it? Most companies don't require that a customer provide a specific reason in the event of a return/exchange.


If they ask for a specific reason just say "It doesn't suit me" and that is sufficient. I've never come across a situation where someone demanded more information.

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I almost always have bad experiences when I shop at MAC counters. I look pretty young, so I think that inclines SAs to keep their eye on me. I always feel like I'm being watched as if they think I'm going to take something when I shop at the MAC counter in my local Macy's.

Anyway, this one day, in late fall/early winter, I went to the MAC counter with a few lip liners in mind. I was approached by an SA who asked if I needed help. I said something along the lines of "No thank you, I'm just looking at the lip liners, I have a few in mind." to which she asked which ones I was looking at. I told her I was thinking Spice and Chestnut. I felt extremely uncomfortable as she stood there right next to me, just watching me swatch the tester lip liners without saying a word. I wanted to take my time and swatch a bunch of them and decide. But I felt like she didn't trust me or that she was rushing me, because she wasn't offering help or giving her opinions, just standing there completely silent, breathing down my neck, watching me swatch lip liners. It was awkward because I felt rushed, she wasn't speaking at all and it felt unnecessary because there were other customers she could've been helping. 

Anywho, I rushed and bought the Spice and Chestnut without even thinking because I was just too awkward and uncomfortable to stand there while she breathed down my neck. I'm extremely socially awkward, so this encounter was probably weirder/more uncomfortable for me than it would've been the average person. I tried to keep that in mind, and blow it off. 

As she was ringing me up, I asked "Do you know when the Magic of the Night collection will be here? I'm really interested in that Oh Darling Skin Finish!" and she looked at me like I had 13 heads and literally said "I have absolutely no clue what you're talking about," with suchhhhh an attitude I was shocked! Before I could respond, another SA chimed in and told me when it would be on their shelves. I am so happy that she did, because that other SA reeeeeally made me feel stupid. 


In general, I always feel like I'm being "judged" when I walk into MAC. I've had numerous pleasant experiences with MAC SAs in their stores, but never at the counters. I've heard that MAC is extremely selective with their employees and that their hiring process is INTENSE. If that's the case, I don't get how they let so many rude people slip through the cracks (no offense to anyone who may have worked at MAC).  I do know that they have soooo many amazing employees but I've just had so many uncomfortable exchanges with SAs there! 


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You definitely aren't alone. MAC has always been one of those places where I feel judged the second I walked through the door. I never have felt welcome when shopping there. It is such an uncomfortable environment. 



They aren't all bad, I've definitely met and been assisted by some nice SAs, but the negative experiences are more frequent and leave a really bad lasting impression.

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Wow, some of the stories on here are truly awful. 


This isn't too bad compared to some of the others on here, but it still left a sour taste in my mouth, and I haven't shopped in a MAC store since.

I wanted some new foundation and went into MAC because I'm quite fair and they're known for their range of shades. A male SA came up to me and I just told him I was in the market for some new foundation, and asked if I could be colour matched.


"Oh, honey." he starts talking to me like I've got a terminal illness, "You are so pale. You're like a vampire. You're going to be our absolute lightest shade."

Gee. Thanks.

I'm very non-confrontational so I said nothing and continued with the process. He took the palest foundation and slathered it all over my face, then took some powder that literally looked white and caked that on as well. He then declared that now, "you look a little less dead!"


The funny part was that I looked into the mirror and looked more dead now than I did when I walked in. I was caked in the whitest makeup which masked every little tone in my skin. I looked alive when I walked in there, I didn't look that way going out.


I've had SAs at Sephora give me attitude while returning a product as well, but nothing that has escalated into a debate (fortunately). 

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My blood boils when I hear the "oh honey" Grrrrr!


I am so sorry this happened to you. As other have mentioned, MAC is a really uncomfortable environment.


I do not wear red lipstick. Ever. Tried it. Hate it. Do not like. Every time I go in to restock some of my go to shades like Brave or Modesty a pushy SA tries to get me to try a red because I need to "be bolder" in my make up choices. Why can't you just give me the lipstick I want and leave it at that? I hate unsolicited "advice".


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Those are the type of remarks that get under my skin more than anything! It's almost like... passive aggressive? how he would make condescending remarks but with a smile on his face, like he's trying to help but in reality, it's just rude 

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Exactly, well said. It was incredibly rude. Nobody deserves to have anything about them put down. I happen to like my fair skin, it isn't a disease. He acted like fair skin was a terrible affliction that needed to be cured instantly in the nearest tanning salon. 


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Right! Newsflash, not everyone has to be or wants to be tan! I am also extremely pale and I'm always put off by "oh wow you're REALLY pale you're DEFINITELY our lightest shade!" comments. They act like they've never seen a fair person! lol 

Re: Having a SA argue with you?

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I know right? I happen to like my fair skin! As inconceivable as that may be to some people. Smiley Tongue 

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Amen! I can understand the gentler version of "can we test a couple shades to see which one matches best?" and if they happen to grab the lightest shade at that time to test along with another one or two, ok. That gives both them and me the chance to look in the mirror and say "I think this one is closer/not close enough/too light/too dark/too warm toned/too cool toned/whatever. But to imply or even outright say we look diseased or dead? What part of that makes them think we'll want to come back again in the future? I embrace my fair skin and know many others who do as well! It doesn't mean I am dying just because I'm not dousing myself in spray tan until I looked like an Oompa-Loompa.

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I went into my local Sephora at one point to find a new blush after running low on my previous go-to (Bare Escentuals Golden Gate, if I recall correctly) I was considering the Clinique Cheek Pop blushes, trying to decide which shade was closest and reading the back of the packages to see if there was anything in it I was allergic to. I was directed towards a shade that even the name was "Nude.". It wasn't even close to my old color by any stretch of the imagination so I hinted as politely as possible that while it was pretty, it was not what I had in mind. I even stated that I was "used to something a little more along the lines of this color" and held out the half empty container of my former favorite blush.


Acting about as pouty and in a huff as a little kid being forced to share, she tossed the Cheek Pop roughly back on the shelf shattering it and ruining the pretty Gerbera design in the process. That design is one of the things that had drawn my eye to it in the first place. She reached for a random BE blush shade that once again, wasn't even close in color to my old one (this time it was something hot pink that I can't imagine would have been flattering on me at all) and once again was a loose powder like I was trying to avoid. I tried to clarify that I had been looking at the Cheek Pops for the specific reason that they were pressed powder rather than loose is that the loose always seemed to end up everywhere periodically no matter how I tried to avoid it. She rolled her eyes, huffed at me then snatched the Cheek Pop back off the shelf. Not one of the colors I had been looking at, not any other shade to make a recommendation, but the same one she had just ruined.  


Without asking, she grabbed her brush that smelled like some Eau du Rancid Flowers perfume I would expect some little old grandmother to wear to cover the smell of mothballs and applied the Nude Cheek Pop in a method I can only describe as "stabby." I don't mean blotting, dabbing, buffing, stippling or any other method you might use to apply a product to a face. She was so aggressive in her application that even my young son (who was waiting very quietly next to me reading his book up until then) looked up and flinched visibly at each contact between her brush and my face as he watched. "There, at least this sorta covers up that nasty old one you were using. While it doesn't look quite as good as it would without that junky old blush on you, at least you look somewhat less like you have a skin condition that needs treating!" She made another huffy sound and stomped off, rolling her eyes as she went.


I should clarify here that because my son has an anxiety disorder, something like the way she was acting towards me and what she said more than enough to set him off in a panic on their own so both together was even worse. "Mommy, did she really say you have a disease in your skin? Mommy, are you going to need medicine? Mommy, are you going to need surgery like Grandma Gladys did?" I tried to explain to him that I don't have skin cancer like Grandma did, I don't have any diseases on or in my skin, the SA was probably just making a joke even if it was a bad one to make, and yes, it was mean of her to say but she didn't mean it literally...you get the idea here. Even with everything I did to convince him otherwise, her words stuck in his head and he couldn't shake them. He was so worried that he began to panic when I said I would do this another day and that we we were leaving. He kept insisting I *HAD* to buy it, and we couldn't leave without it. I finally figured ou that because of her words, he became convinced that that blush somehow prevented the skin diseases like the skin cancer that had taken my grandmother a few years ago. I tried to placate him by saying I would get one mainly in a last ditch attempt to calm him down and grabbed a shade I thought to be a better match but he was so upset by that point that no other color would do. The shattered one she had tossed into the shelf display was now the only safe one to use in his mind and no amount of explaining would relieve his fear. Isn't it just *joyful* how an oncoming panic attack distorts everything? (And I mean this with the utmost sarcasm) 

Re: Having a SA argue with you?

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My heart broke reading this! The way you were treated is so disgusting, and how it affected your son too. I would report this SA, there is no excuse ever to treat a customer this way.

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@jen81 & @angel7594 The only reason  I didn't go to management right then and there was because interactions involving any sort of confrontation - whether anticipated to happen in the future, imagined possible confrontations that might or might not happen, or actually happening right this moment kinds - are all high on the list for anxiety triggers. Yes, it would have given me satisfaction to absolutely tear into her about how she acted, how it made me feel and especially for the affect it had on my son then to follow it up with management as well, but it would not have been worth it in the amount of additional anxiety it would cause for my son because of the SA. I just decided the sooner we were out of there, the better and I would deal with it the next time I went in. However, I haven't gone in in weeks because I was and still am so furious about the whole incident that I thought it'd be better to wait until I could cool down. That way, I would at least be able to speak rationally about it when I went to the manager although even close to a month later, if not more so, I'm still not convinced I can do "calm and collected" or "rational" even now.


For the record, I ended up never even exchanged the broken blush! Since it was shattered anyway, I just crushed up the few larger chunks that had remained intact, mixed it in with the remnants of the old one it was supposed to be replacing, and used some water to compress it back into the pan I could use it up. Short of (finally!) going to a manager to bring this to their attention, I have refused to shop at that Sephora since then, order what I need online and if a return is necessary I do so at the next nearest Sephora more than a half an hour away.