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A return with a lecture just what I wanted.


My Local Sephora is usually fantastic, never had a complaint about them... until today.

I returned 5 products in-store today.. from 4 separate purchases I made during spring fling. 2 unused and unopened... and 3 products I really disliked.

So the teller calls over the manager because it is a larger return, which I totally understand.. The manager looks at me and says.. You want to return all of these, you used them all.. and are returning them? Don't you know you can get samples so you don't waste so much product." and gives me an eye roll and a condescending look.

So I tell her that 2 are unused and the other 3 products were all skin care and did not work for my skin.. I thought used products that didn't work were able to be returned.. Is this not the case? Or does everyone, get a lecture when they return a product used?

Curious if you guys make returns of used products? I personally am really turned off getting samples from jars and such because people are constantly putting their dirty hands in to the product and them I am supposed to put that on my face. Just a gross thought for me.

Am I wrong in returning used Skincare?

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

Well, once in a while I do ask for samples, before I purchased the big easy and benefits moisturizing cream I asked for one and they happily gave me some - even some perfume! 

I buy a lot at Sephora but most of the purchases I'm not happy with either I go and return but I have never been given that condescending look, the ladies are real nice. Those girls need an attitude check, they shouldn't treat a costumer that way no matter what. tumblr_lrlegdwD3q1qd7hyco1_500.gif

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

I'm so sorry you got this treatment. That's horrible customer service. You're not wrong. If it doesn't work for you then it doesn't work for you! and it is gross getting samples. Who knows where those things have been or where the people have touched them have been. :/

I find it weird that they would do this to you, since I go into my Sephora all of the time and get treated horribly when I try to get samples.. But, for example, when I went into the same Sephora and was looking for the Urban Decay De-slick I wanted to buy the smaller one.. They only had the bigger one on the shelf. I asked the SA and she just kept telling me not to worry because if it didn't work with my skintone I could just return it. It's almost like sometimes they hope that you'll just buy the stuff for $X and then be so scared as to never return it.

I've only ever returned 1 thing (I'm still battling the after effects of the breakouts it caused)... It did make me super nervous when I did return it. But it seemed to go over well. I tried to use good humour to charm them into not being mean about it... but when stuff costs so much and doesn't work/works horribly then you definitely shouldn't be made to feel like it's your fault. It's THEIR return policy and they should take that up with their own company, not out on you.  

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

I hate returning products to sephora. I've been made to feel like a criminal. Or the S.A. tried to convince me to keep it the product. It's very uncomfortable and I won't be made to feel bad about returning products that don't work for me or that I simply change my mind on. Or I returned a lipstick with a receipt that I had purchased in the fall but it just kind of got pushed to the back of my stash. I put it on 2-3 times and I just hated the color on me. Went to return it with the receipt, the product was clearly barely used. And I was asked why i was returning it, I said the color is not good for me, and she said "Well why are you returning it so late?". Um because I own a lot of make-up? And what does it matter? It was an UD lipstick, so it's not like it was some item that they no longer carry. And the silly thing is that you could avoid that whole lecture/rudeness about taking too long to return something, by simply not bringing in a receipt at all and just getting an exchange/store credit. Really dislike the attitude the employees have about returns, especially because it doesn't impact them personally one bit.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

This is basically the reason I never return stuff. If I get something I hate I end up just trying to use it up because I'm too chicken of how they'll treat me at the store when I try to return it. 

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

If you went in and asked for five samples I would think you would still be getting a condescending look.  People would feel more comfortable asking for samples if they weren't so stingy about it in the first place. That's how my store is anyway. But I know what u mean about getting samples from jars, that is gross especially since those can't really be sanitized properly. Unless they make samples from a separate jar that hasn't been out for everyone to dip their fingers in. 

And I think lylysa is totally on point about how the manager could have handled this better.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

I'm a stickler for sanitation, with obvious reason, and if I were offered a sample or even asked for a sample that was given out in an unsanitary manner (i.e. if an associate used their finger to scoop out product or if a lipstick wasn't dipped in alcohol and shaved down prior to the product being dispensed), I would still take the sample but just not use it.


The fact of the matter would be that an associate took the time out to create a sample, regardless if I asked for it specifically or if it were offered to me, and as long as their intention wasn't to purposely blare out a "HEY LOOK, I'm giving your DIRTY product!!!" then it's a smile, thanks in appreciation, and chalk it up to a minor loss.


That way I'm not insulting the associate, and I'm sure there will be more chances to try a product out in the future.


Now if an associate just has no regard to a product's condition and has a blase "Ugh, I GUESS I'll make you a sample" attitude and for example's sake maybe didn't see there was cotton fuzz on a lipstick, I would just politely go "Ooo! Do you mind I clean it off with some alcohol first? My eye just zeroed in on that cotton lint, good thing I saw it so it didn't wind up on my lips later!" I'd try my best to be cordial about it and keep it lighthearted so it's not like I'm attacking the associate or putting fault on them entirely. If they then tried to be rude or ugly about things, then I'd maybe have to ask to speak with a manager or even speak to the associate directly and let them know there's no need to get huffy at me and that I'm sure if they were the customer they would want an attentive associate that would actually care about the job their doing.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

Hi kas045,


I replied to your post here>


Please respond to my private message when you get a chance. I would like to forward your feedback to our retail division. Thanks! Smiley Happy

<3, Randee

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

You know, I'm going to toss in this bit, regardless of whether or not there was the opportunity to obtain samples prior to making a purchase or not, it's all about delivery and tone.


Like you mentioned you might not always feel comfortable getting a sample made in stores due to sanitary woes and worries, but that's not to say that your return couldn't have been made easier and more comfortable if the manager had merely stated something along the lines of, "I'm sorry to see you having to make these returns because the products didn't work out for you! Did you spot anything today that caught your eye that I could maybe make you a sample of so you can try something new that might bring you back in?"


Something like that still acknowledges you making a return, but it does so in a way that is more understanding and also caters to your needs and shows they value you business and want you to return. The manager's attitude and statement of using samples as a way to "don't waste so much product" shows she completely misunderstands the purpose of samples entirely. Samples are given out to draw in more business and hopefully even link to return shoppers as they know there's a relaxed "try before you buy" policy rather than a stingy "Nope, spend your money first before trying it, we don't give 'hand outs'" mentality.


Heck, of she was really on top of her game she would have inquired over what made the items not work, what you're looking for, and see if you had a free moment for her to show you some things!

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

Do you have a degree in psychology, Lylysa? You always seem to find the correct words to comment on a situation in a way that is really positive and helpful. Your advice is always outstanding and reliable. I don't know you of course, but I must say that I really trust your advice due to your extensive product knowledge and the way you read people so well. You're truly a gem! 

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

Awww, thank you so much, BuxomBabe80! Your trust and confidence in what I share means very much to me.


To answer you question, no, I don't have a degree in psychology, but it was always a field and subject matter that sparked my interest. I've had my fair share of customer service jobs so it's very important to understand all sides of the situation. For example, when I'm shopping and receive sub-parr service, I don't immediately take it to heart or personally, maybe the person in front of me is having a rough day and being ugly, snide, or rude in response doesn't merit a pleasant reaction either, regardless of whether or not I'm frustrated. It can also be very tricky to navigate the type of consumers and customers that can walk in and out of a business, not all folks want or need to be helped so being able to key into small and quick details like tone, mood, expression, and even dialogue is important.


Even in daily life, these subtle cues can help navigate situations in so many different directions. Since online forums are just words on a screen I try my best to ensure my words are what they're suppose to mean. Smiley Happy



Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

I agree with you so much.  I really like my local stores -- I'm lucky to have two great stores near me.  I've had times I've gone into the store and come out with 6 samples and bought nothing.  But they recognize me (people here can attest to that) and know the odds are I'll be back to buy the item or something else and being able to try things is great.  I rarely will buy a perfume without wearing it for a while and probably getting a sample -- I need to know how it dries down and really smells on me, for example.  And I don't want to buy an $80 skincare item without testing it first if the tester is something I trust a sample from.  (I'm not too worried about face creams; samples of eye creams from airless pumps, etc, are fine with me too.)


I had to return 3 things yesterday to three different stores.  Two were lipsticks and weren't that expensive, but the colors were so off that I knew I wouldn't wear them.  (The neutrals looked like they were in the pink range but were really brown nudes that are horrible on me.)  Neither store gave me any hassle.  At Ulta I returned something unused.  I'd picked up a restock supply for my husband who told me a week later that he'd decided the cleanser was too harsh for him.  Sometimes these things happen (and really why keep a cleanser no one will use as it definitely didn't suit me).  It would be great to have help finding some things.  I almost always find that help very useful and end up being happy with the products that I've found.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

I find that lots of retail folks get confused on reading consumers or maybe they've just had a string of bad experiences to where they're jaded enough to think samples are just free hand-outs that people are greedy for and will abuse. Though that's not entirely false, it's not the entire truth either, if someone walks into Sephora and begins chatting away and perhaps seems very random with what they're requesting or even just flat out asks for free samples without being specific (aka, wanting something free just because it's free) then it's more likely that specific person isn't necessarily looking to buy in the future. Of course there are exceptions, maybe someone who got a spur of the moment sample ended up falling in love and had to come back, who knows.


But for shoppers who are very inquisitive or even is not afraid to open up and share stories while asking for samples tends to bode well and will make an employee more receptive and want to help. Asking and sharing things like, "My skin tends to be so-and-so, and I've used XYZ before and like/didn't like it, I was think about A or B, have you heard anything about either, what would you suggest? Is it possible to try both?" shows an associate you're invested in trying to find a product and merely need further assistance.


Obviously samples shouldn't be treated like a free-for-all, but hey, there are days where you might get lucky and get an extra generous associate willing to spoil you and go out of their way, but things like that are to be appreciated and not taken for granted, and they're most certainly not be expected every single time as standard practice.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

I had the same experience with lipsticks too. My local Sephora especially the high-end brands section has very dim lighting, everything looks good. When I see the color under daylight, it is a completely different color. I returned it with no question asked.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

Lip products and foundation/complexion products especially can be a tough call with indoor lighting, I like to do a swatch on my cheek/jaw (if for foundation/concealer/powder) or hand (lip stuff) and then go outside the mall or store to see in natural lighting.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

If you had all your receipts and returned everything within the policy's time frame, then I don't think you were  wrong.


The "you should get samples first!" lecture is such a contradiction.  I've heard of other BT members getting this lecture when they make returns, but from my experience with both Sephoras and SiJCPs across different states, I have only ever encountered one SA who was pleasant about making samples for me.  I never ask for samples (no more than three per visit) without making a purchase first, and yet all the SAs act like I'm trying to take advantage of the sample policy if I ask for more than one to be made.  Does this happen to anyone else?





Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

Wow, I find that really surprising.  Just the other day I wanted to compare some foundations, and I asked for a small sample of each so I could actually try each one out instead of just comparing the shades.  The SA had absolutely no problem helping me (granted, I didn't fill the little cups to the brim, just enough to get at least one full use out of it).  I've never felt like a bother to them when I ask, so I hate that other shoppers don't feel the same way.  I always thought Sehora would pride themselves on the samples they provide, as that is truly a great way to see if you would even want to consider the product.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

Yep!  Last time I went in, the sales associate helped me find the foundation I needed and then when I asked for a sample (just one), she told me she had to help someone else and would come right back.  She never came back.  10-15 min later, after seeing her wait on multiple new people, I asked a different SA who did make it for me.  I think this type of stuff is the norm.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

i think they just did that because of the qty/$ of returns really. If you have your receipts from all of them it shouldn't be such a big deal really. I usually don't return more than 2 things at once, that i can recall because i don't need the million Qs lol but i know most of the people so its usually not an issue. 


Oh and i will say that while samples do work most of the time, there are some items that you just can't test without the full product. Skincare to me is one of them. Even fdn sometimes the sample is so small, ive had to buy the product before just to get a better amount and ive even returned after because of that. i don't really like those sample jars.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

Absolutely not wrong. You can return ANYTHING even if it has been opened. Company policy. I do however hate returning items in store as we do tend to get these ugly looks. Especially being Rouge, we will try more products and dislike some of them, it happens. I do hate that awkward feeling of having to return a used item...the associates see it as negative sales for them. They do need some training on being pleasant about returns...Nordstrom is fantastic with that aspect.


This is why I favor returning by mail...don't have to talk to anyone or see anyone or have a reputation at your favorite store that you return a bunch of stuff. I have also returned several items from different orders in one box so that I'm not wasteful with the shipping. It gets the job done!

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

I have had to return skincare several times due due to my very sensitive skin and no, the SAs and manager weren't very nice about it.  My husband makes all the returns for me now while I hide in a corner swatching pretty things.

Re: A return with a lecture just what I wanted.

What a great husband!

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