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Post in Customer Support

Ongoing Missing Samples

I've been a Rouge member for a couple of years now and over the past year, receiving selected samples (or samples at all) has been a hit and miss. Now, before assuming I'm just being “a Karen,” hear me out, please.


Sephora offers members the option to (specifically select) the samples they'd like included in their orders. In my case, I can only use certain product formulations due to allergies. And samples are how I typically end up finding new products I can use and buy.


When Sephora either omits samples or sends random substitutes, many end up wasted because I can't use them. It wouldn't he a big deal if the missing or substitute samples were only and occasional occurance, but at this point, it has become status quo for Sephora.


After spending nearly 500$ this month alone and waiting on one parcel to ship, it burns my buns a bit to receive one sample instead of two and nothing that I selected. I've already notified Sephora of parcels I received that also missed samples but it still continues.


I know it's not the staff that's to blame, but why offer a perk that can't be fulfilled? The samples are one of the things I anticipate receiving with my orders and I'm sure I'm not alone. 

Re: Ongoing Missing Samples

@Elorabird I'm sorry to hear about this experience and I will send you a PM 

Re: Ongoing Missing Samples

@Elorabird   You are absolutely right that Sephora has been struggling in this regard. For a little while, I thought they had fixed it, as I was getting the samples I requested. But it seems that they have a tough time whenever there are sales, for instance. They aren't able to keep up with demand. It may also depend on what warehouse your order is being shipped from, My orders typically get shipped out of Vancouver, BC, and I feel confident that they're doing their best, even if I don't always get what I requested, or receive only one of the two samples. I suspect part of the issue is that they're filling so many orders in a day that the sample that is available when you order has run out by the time they're packing your box for shipping. Busier warehouses may be even worse in this regard.


As for the waste, you may be able to offer your unwanted samples to organizations in your city that help those in need. My local food bank also accepts personal hygiene products, laundry detergent, etc. When we had flooding here and set up a depot to help people who had to leave their homes, I took in samples of items like shampoo and conditioner, as well as full size items I had in my pantry. And our local organization that helps battered women has a thrift store that donates clothing to those who need it. They also accept makeup donations for their clients, and offer the makeup for free.


So yes, I wish Sephora would resolve the issue with their samples, and I fully understand your frustration, especially when I was really looking forward to trying out a particular sample and I get sent something else instead. But perhaps those unwanted samples you get can be repurposed. Hope this helps.

Re: Ongoing Missing Samples

I love your suggestions; thank you! What a kind, fabulous and warm-fuzzies-inducing idea. I will seriously consider doing that with my unused samples and products. I'm building quite the collection! 


When it comes to giving Sephora peeps the benefit of the doubt, I hear you! I've been growing impatient since the sample thing has been an ongoing issue for quite some time (two back-to-back orders this month arrived with one sample — both being perfumes I cannot use). More often than not, I either don't receive samples, don't receive the samples I requested, or receive one sample of something I didn't request (often a phthalate-containing perfume I cannot use).


Like you, I look forward to the samples being my opportunity to try a new product without the risk of impulse buying and being wasteful. I avoid returning products when they don't work for me because it pains me to imagine items someone can enjoy ending up destroyed or in a landfill.


I used to love it when Sephora made samples of products in-store. Still, ever since the pandemic rained on everyone's proverbial parades, we've become reliant on those sampling opportunities via online orders. 


I give the people of Sephora a lot of grace — they are, after all, one of the key reasons I keep coming back! The people are outstanding. Case in point (I wish I got his name) but a perfume aficionado at my local Sephora last weekend made trying fragrances (for me, the "Clean" phthalate-free ones) so exciting; I came in with intentions of buying two specific fragrances and ended up leaving with four fragrances! 


On the flip side, the multi-national corporate giant that Sephora is (and the monopoly it enjoys in Canada), however, needs to stop resting on its laurels and start taking note of customer concerns! This tends to happen when big companies grow gargantuan! But Goliath falls if he isn't wary of those stones tossed his way. And Sephora must remember, it's in the business of selling hope and pleasure! People don't buy cosmetics like they buy food and medicine. Therefore, the shopping experience should be as pleasurable and anticipation-building as possible. After all, even historically speaking, during wartimes, ladies would line up for a coveted tube of "rouge" — a symbol of hope and fortitude in an otherwise glum routine.  


Logistics and supply are likely the issues riddling the samples' fiasco. Either way, loyal customers will accept a few hiccups here and there. Still, it's not really fair (or wise) for Sephora to continue offering customers the illusion of choice and expectation when they realize they cannot deliver on promises for whatever reason.


Thank you again for lifting my spirits, Westcoasty! 💋


Re: Ongoing Missing Samples

@Elorabird  While I do agree with you in general, I think Sephora is likely struggling to come back from several issues right now, which is why we're seeing some of these knock-on effects. For instance, I expect I'm not the only one who stopped wearing makeup during lockdown, and didn't really resume again after. Also, inflation is hitting businesses as well, partly for any loans, lines of credit, etc., but also because consumers have less disposable income in general for "luxury" items like makeup and skincare. Lastly, my impression is that they're still trying to lure consumers back into stores instead of shopping online. In the meantime, they're still paying for rent and staff and such for their physical locations.


I do get irritated by things like not getting the samples I requested - I love those little extras as well. But I'm trying to cut them some slack. Many problems can be fixed by throwing money at them, but Sephora may quite simply have less money to throw.


Incidentally, I've begun assembling a box of small goodies to take to my local food bank, and also seeing what I can offer to my mother and sister as stocking stuffers. I hope you enjoy redistributing your "wealth" as well! 💋

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