Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Estee Lauder Blue Dahlia

I stopped by the Estee Lauder counter in Isetan Scotts counter today to pick up the new Blue Dahlia palette (S$68). Designed by Tom Pecheux, who is the new Creative Makeup Director, I have been lemming this palette ever since seeing the ad visual featuring Hilary Rhoda.

Blue Dahlia is quite a bold colour combination by Estee Lauder's standards and should be fun to experiment with.

I also decided to pick up the Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Surreal Violet (S$26, 9ml) after seeing these beautiful swatches on Lipglossiping. It is an elegant dusky mauve pink with a very fine shimmer.

Unfortunately, my experience at the Isetan Scotts counter was completely marred by the sample policy. After telling the SA that I would like to purchase the two items above, I asked politely if I could have a sample of the Double Wear liquid foundation. She then checked my customer record on her computer and said that since I had already received samples of the Double Wear and Cyber White foundations from the Tangs counter, she could not give me any samples of these two foundations. Instead, she could only give me a Resilience Lift Extreme foundation sample, which is not suitable for my skin type.

After leaving the store and reflecting on the exchange, I came to regret going ahead with the purchase. I really should have just walked away instead of giving her my business and rewarding such poor customer service. I was not a cheapskate customer trying to blag a free sample without making any purchase. I was spending close to $100 and they couldn't even give me one small foundation sample of my choice? There was actually a big container full of small pre-packed pots of foundation samples sitting right behind the counter in plain view. And seriously, these samples cost a pittance compared to what I was spending.

I am a very easy customer to serve as I usually go to the counter knowing what I want to purchase and I don't bother the SAs with questions aside from the prices. All the Estee Lauder SA had to do was tell me the prices and then get the two items for me. I was probably the easiest five-minute sale of her day but she just lost Estee Lauder a customer for a good long while.

35 comments:

jinn said...

i totally agree with you on Singapore’s sample policy. In Korea, i buy something & SA usually gives sample equivalent to the purchasing value and I don't think they are losing business. It is frustrating that i am keep buying product that tested only once at counter and it is not suitable for my oily sensitive skin afterall. Sigh….

Hazelnutt said...

Hi :) thanks for featuring the Blue Dahlia eyeshadow!

unlike in western countries, it used to be really tough getting samples in Singapore. Nowadays, it's easier as companies are slowly reviewing their sampling policies and we are now able to obtain samples easier. Well, let's hope that the beauty companies here move on to become less restrictive with their samples coz it's quite annoying to receive something that's not of use to us.

Kathi said...

Boah, that´s so downright stupid! I hope you´ll enjoy your purchaes nontheless!

ღ~☆ Vel said...

Shame on you EL!!!
Sigh... Singapore has such a loooong way to go. EL and any other cosmetics brands, Pls inform your staff to exercise flexibility and the much-needed intelligence !!!

Laura said...

Hi Haru,

It has been a while since I left a comment, but I feel strongly enough about Singapore's sample giving policy to comment.

I think the local branches of makeup brands and the SA's notions of sample giving are simply not very business savvy. A study by Menard showed that for every sample given out, the customer was 90% more likely to repurchase the actual product. This makes sense because if you like the product well enough, you will repurchase it regardless of how many sample sachets you obtain over the counter. However, the makeup brands in Singapore do not show an understanding of this seemingly simple concept, and are not very forthcoming with introducing their products by distributing the samples which in turn ensures that their new or loyal customer base gets to try out new products. It only makes sense to push the product by ensuring that every sachet goes out to every potential customer, than to keep it hidden in the cabinet until the product lifecycle is almost over (which is true most of the time), then give it away as a GWP. Not very good marketing skills, should I dare to be critical.

Anonymous said...

that sucks, i agree with you. you should've bought something else from another brand.

i have to say though....save for some counters, it's very difficult to find good customer service here, cosmetics' counter-wise.

last week i was out with a friend purchasing something from clinique, spent close to 150 bucks. my friend was asking for samples, the SA was thisclose to throwing a hissy fit because of her request. what the hell man? so irritating. but while she was almost throwing a tantrum, she went and broke something..a bottle of something, i don't know what.

well, karma's a b*tch, ennit?

Anonymous said...

the best sample policy ever -- fancl; generous and never ask questions; once a SA gave me so many foundation base samples (well i was buying a lot but not THAT much) that i was stunned coz honestly, i just need 1 or 2.

plus we all know beauty companies have huge profit margins, why so stingy on samples; if a customer likes something enough, she will buy it, how many samples can u obtain anyway, not like you can use a product for months on end daily just on samples, it's hardly possibly for anyone to get that many due to availability of both customer and counter. -stella

Anonymous said...

Um, that's really creepy. I had no idea they keep records of your samples.

coffretgorge said...

oh haru, its harder to get samples here in the philippines because most of the time, counters dont have samples! to think people spend lots of money in the dept. stores. hahaha! just a little comment to make you feel better. :)

if u read my recent Singapore haul post i got lucky with nice SA's who showered me with GWP's and samples! needless to say i had a good shopping experience in SG. :)

enjoy your blue dahlia! its gorgeous! :D

Janice said...

I had a bad experience with the SA at the Isetan Scotts Estee Lauder counter too. They definitely aren't very customer-oriented.

shopaholic said...

oh, that's a very unforgiving gesture of that EL SA. it's sad but true that such behavior is often seen around here

Michelle said...

Can't wait for yuour reviews on this new palette! I am tempted to get it after I saw the gorgeous ad visuals!

Kaoru said...

My grandmother became a huge customer for life because a counter was very generous with samples. She liked this foundation (forget the brand), and when she went to purchase it, her color was discontinued! The counter gave her all the samples in that color, and the tester bottle of foundation, since it was useless for them to keep it. Needless to say, that SA got a huge sale that day, and my grandmother goes back to her when she needs to purchase something.

Anonymous said...

yeah, Singapore's sample policy is miserably stingy unlike Korea, they give a lot of samples if u purchase alot.

Ashley said...

I say send in a complaint. That isn't fair for any returning or potential customer to pay big money on products & not get a sample! I mean we rarely get GWP's without paying a high price but all you're asking for is one sample! It's not like the company you're working for is poor so why is the SA so stingy.? Do they not make enough money?? I'm sure they make tons of money! But I think I recall reading the makeup artists or SA's have to pay for their own samples to giveaway but hey, it's business. If you want business, you treat your customer well & they'll gladly hand you the money for a $20 eyeshadow!

Agmini said...

So...they keep a record of the samples you got? That's really weird. So what happens if you got a sample in one shade but wanted to try another shade? That's ridiculous...

Anonymous said...

I used to get my foundation samples at Clinique counters too. However, the SAs are usually very stingy & would not provide me samples again if I was given the same samples in the past. I had since ceased buying anything from Clinique now. Likewise, I had stop buying anything from Sephora as they do not provide generous samples unlike those stores overseas. As for those GWPs, the cosmetcis pouches & bags, as we know are made in China. I would rather spend more on genuine Made In Japan products than a GWP that is of inferior quality but still requires me to spend at least SGD150 to get it.

Ling said...

Hi Haru
While i understand your frustration on EL SA restriction on sample and general upset over SA withdrawal of giving out sample generously, I'm surprised by your experience at this particular EL Scott branch. because just about 2 weeks ago, i went there for Double wear sample, they gave it to me willingly. i also bought about $120+/- and i requested DW in another shade as the DW shade they have given me earlier is too dark so i need to test another shade. maybe the SA is in a bad mood. forgive and forget and enjoy your Blue Dahlia! :)

AtelierGal said...

I never dared to ask for samples, even when I'm buying something =(

Looking forward to your EOTD with the eyeshadow palette. Did you check out the Pure Color Gloss? I'm still waiting for my Star Pink to arrive, but I'm more in love with the Tempting Tearose shade.

Graclyn said...

I do not if I am biased towards the Isetan Scotts. I went to Takashimaya and purchase one bottle of serum from Dior for $150. The BA (Haslina) was very polite and she explained me to about all the benefits of the serum, which I already read online before deciding on the purchase. Along with this purchase, she gave me 3 samples of the products which I can use after I explained to her about my skin condition. All 3 are bottled and nicely in a box. (5ml thereabout)

When I went to Isetan Scotts (just because I had the Isetan card) to get my foundation and loose powder, the purchase was around $135. I wanted to activate my membership card so i am supposed to receive 2 samples as stated on the card. The BA gave me 2 satchets of samples. But one of it is not suitable for my skin.

I never like satchets as it can be messy and I need to find a container to store it. I think the BAs at Isetan are relatively proud and stingy. Since then, I decided to only go to Takashimaya to get my Dior stuff since the BA is nice and polite to me.

Joey said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Normally I don't bother asking for samples in Singapore, it feels like I am "begging" them to give which is real horrible and we shouldn't feel this way.

I went Metro Paragon to check out the Blue Dahlia collection on Monday and the MA said they only have the palettes, no nail polishes nor single eyeshadows. She didn't even bothered to tell me the entire collection is available somewhere else!!

They have surely lost me as a customer there. The MA didn't seem interested serving me either!!

EL at Taka is way better, perhaps you can try visiting that counter in the future.

Jasmine said...

After reading about your unpleasant experience, I recalled an equally unpleasant experience with a Estee Lauder SA at Tangs Orchard.

Once I bought makeup from EL Tangs Orchard and received a sample of a warming facial scrub (can't remember name of product). On another day, my friend and I went to the same counter as she needed to get the Advanced Night Repair. I told my friend about the scrub and thought perhaps she should try it too. I asked the SA who was serving us. She said the sample was out of stock. I was not at all unhappy. I merely told my friend that it was the previous week when I got the sample and it was out of stock in such a short time. Suddenly the SA raised her voice and said, "It's really out of stock! If have stock, surely I give you right? What for I keep?" I did not say that I didn't believe her.

My friend and I were shocked by her reaction. Then after my friend made payment, the SA thanked my friend but she gave me an unhappy, hostile look before walking away.

Maybe she was in a bad mood or perhaps it was PMS....

Tiffany said...

oh no, Estee lauder has many highly raved and effective skincare product so can anyone please share which SA /branch has friendlier staff then?

let's focus on the solution. :)

Anonymous said...

bad mood or PMS should not be an excuse for rudeness or grouchiness in a what is essentially a service industry. i urge everyone to boycott based on bad experience and feedback to the management. -stella

CedriCeCCentriC said...

And that from the company that invented samples and gift-with-purchase?
I remember years ago, maybe 20, I was at Singapore's Tangs EL counter and purchased the classic Private Collection in pure perfume. A really big investment for my teenager wallet at that time. When I asked the dragon lady behind the counter for a sample of any other EL perfume, she anwered they never had samples. I was really surprised they had nothing to offer me...

Tammy said...

I think it's really subjective because EL at Scott did give me and my sister a lot of samples while we went to buy ANR a few weeks ago. they didn't scan the computer but asked for my particular and though we asked for their LF before, she is still willing to give me a few more sachet as my sister want to test their shade to be sure. so i don't think the standard change so much. maybe it's good to feedback to the management of their SA attitude, not so much of management policy but how SA conveyed the wrong message actually or rubbed off the wrong way

Anonymous said...

tiffany: DFS changi airport. much better prices and service. seems like only tourists are worth serving.

milktea said...

Malaysian SAs just as bad. I don't know what they do with all those samples :-\ You don't give me - I don't buy, and I will ask for samples before I pay!

Love the Blue Dahlia palette. Beautiful. Enjoy it and don't think of the SA experience anymore.

ning xin said...

The very strange thing is that samples are meant for consumers.

Maybe it's because Singaporeans/people living in Singapore tend to abuse samples, but I think that the SAs can tell who would or would not buy after trying.

There's so many things that I want to try (especially foundations), and it's so awkward to try at the counters, because sometimes you need to use it for a few hours to see the effect/lasting power/whether it cakes etc.

On the bright side, the SA at Taka RMK gave me a foundation sample yesterday. Without me asking for it. I was shocked. I would definitely go back to purchase any RMK I need from her.

The worse thing is that by not giving samples, companies indirectly encourage people to buy samples online (just google for bb cream samples) and letting other people profit from things that are supposed to be given to consumers for free.

MudpieVivi said...

Sorry you had such a bad experience with Estee Lauder @ Isetan Scotts. I hardly buy cosmetics / skincare & I never knew they would actually keep track on what you've asked for! Goodness, these big cosmetics giants are so cheap!

Speaking of bad customer service, I HAVE to share with you my bad, bad experience with Lancome in Robinsons Centrepoint. Years ago, my MIL helped a friend buy some Lancome skincare. My MIL confirmed with the SA the items she's buying before paying. Guess what, when MIL's friend checked the items, 1 of them was wrong! MIL asked me to bring it back for an exchange, and I think it was a supervisor (senior SA) who handled this. Do you know what she said to me? "Check properly next time OK?!" I just gave her a good and hard stare - she's so rude!

When I told my MIL what the SA said, my MIL was so angry and that's when she told me she DID confirm with the SA before paying! I wish I had known, then I could have given that SA a piece of my mind! So it's the SA's mistake, and poor me had to bring it all the way back to town to exchange...service standards are really deplorable in SG, it will take us maybe 1 or 2 more generations at least before we could even think about becoming a gracious society!

+~Cirrus~+ said...

Huh?? They actually track the samples that they give out?? Tsk tsk.. That's kind of freaky.. I've never really like EL BAs.. Maybe the ones I've met are just too haughty to care for my business.

Dior is so much better.. Especially the filipino BAs. And guess what, it was a sample that got me hooked on their Diorsnow sunscreen and a Very Dior Club membership.

We should have more brands coming in and make it more competitive. Else, there is no incentive to improve since they already have a fixed customer base and good products.

Anonymous said...

Actually i'm not so sure if the SAs should get the entire blame. They might have some sort of policy to follow about samples, and maybe the guidelines or training given wasn't adequate. And maybeee their management pressures them too.

Btw, i didn't know EL keeps records of samples given out to their customers. That is eerie...

Ling said...

That's why, i am surprised EL BA kept track of sample given because they never check the computer for record as far as i know when i requested for sample. sometimes it's really double standard. everyone has their fair share of bad customer service. But i know Kiehl scanned your IC for samples though

engeng said...

I've came across forum posts that some of the senior/supervisor did ask them not to give out any samples, and keep the sample for himself/herself without even sharing them with the other staff working for the same brand. The most ridiculous one that I've read was that the senior exchange his samples with another brand SA..

Anonymous said...

So far I feel that Clarins is the most generous with samples! Though I can't afford their products yet as I'm not earning alot, I'll definitely be their loyal customer when I have the means :) Good customer service really goes a long way.