Wednesday, October 19, 2011
More on the Wacky Things Those Persistent Sales Associates Say
The other day, I walked into Sephora.
What compels me to walk into Sephora at this point, where nothing grabs my attention, is something I probably need to look into, but I'll get to that some other time. Or not. One thing I can always count on at the place is the unique pushiness of the sales staff, who rush over the moment I enter and hover there with their headsets, as though I intend to shove a bottle of - what?? - Taylor Swift's latest into my shopping bag? I resent that. Naturally, I do have my standards.
This time, a male sales associate I've seen before made a beeline for me. His face was painted (I guess for Halloween? I didn't ask) and he looked like a retrospective of every cast member of every production of CATS that had ever passed through town. I couldn't help feeling, as I looked at his bright white eye contacts, that I was staring into the true soul of the Sephora sales force, so for that and the usual reasons I avoided making contact with him as much as possible.
Which only made him more eager to get my attention. Maybe he thought I was aloof, and that frustrated him, or maybe I'm simply fat, because not a minute after he'd first tried to engage me he said, rather cheerily, "You look like you're putting on some weight."
I focused on a bottle of Coco, trying to figure out how to respond. Situations like this stump me every time. The hurdle for me is trying to wrap my head around the idea that anyone would go out of his way to be so blatantly ugly. I simply answered, as cheerily, that yes, it's possible I am putting some weight on.
"It happens as we get older," he said, rubbing his tummy.
Maybe I should have talked to management - though that seems like a bad move, given that my contact info is in the Sephora system. The last time I did something like that, my garden hose went missing and my house was vandalized.
This is probably the worst thing an SA has ever said to me. But it isn't the first time I've had an uncomfortable experience at Sephora. The last time I was in, I asked to smell Gaultier Le Male Terrible, and the sales associate, again a man, was so aggressively familiar that it short circuited my social skills. That seemed to provoke him, because his interaction with me took on a sort of weirdly taunting quality. He seemed to be making fun of my taste in fragrance, and was hostile to the idea I might need to smell Le Male Terrible (there wasn't a tester on display) to discern the difference between flanker and good old regular Le Male.
Maybe it's boredom? Sephora bores me as a consumer, so I imagine it must bore its sales force. I suspect too that the training the Sephora employee receives encourages a sort of aggression that can only frustrate the shopper, which in turn must humiliate and anger the staff. But I might be giving too much credit to these two guys in particular. Part of me imagines I was simply seeing their everyday personalities.
Anybody else had a sales associate say anything approaching the gall of the above?