I learned a harsh lesson this weekend when attempting to shop at Sephora and at the Clinique counter in Macy’s at Northbrook Court Mall (in Northbrook, IL).
If you’re fat, you will be ignored by the sales people.
If you’re fat and somehow convince someone to help you, they will make you feel awful and pressure you into purchasing items you don’t want or need.
If you’re fat, you should hide in a hole and starve yourself thin so you can be accepted in society.
I love makeup. LOVE MAKEUP. Always have. I especially love eyeshadows and eyeliners. Hardcore love.
Now granted, some stores just have bad customer service all around, not all of it is about how I look or how much I weigh or anything about ME specifically. Yet this weekend showed me that, yep, my fatness says more about me than anything else.
I love Sephora. I’m in their rewards program and I love to just browse (granted, I always purchase SOMETHING but still!). When I decided to try out this new-to-me location, I had high hopes that I would find a really good moisturizer as I have SUPER dry skin, and my HG (holy grail aka still haven’t found it yet) foundation. Something medium to full coverage, matched my skin tone, and was hydrating.
After wandering around the store for almost 20 minutes (10 of those as the only customer and not getting acknowledged) while other, much thinner women got greeted warmly. I asked a sales associate for help in finding those products. I assumed it would be like all my other Sephora visits and would have this awesome person give me awesome help and suggestions and that somehow I was mistaken in being ignored.
I was wrong.
Instead I got blank stares, a person that wasn’t up to date on ANY products, and kept comparing my pale but very red face, to her much darker and even skin tone.
I asked about a super rich moisturizer, she turns to another associate “whats a good moisturizer for people like her” and I’m given this $40 cream that was HEAVILY perfumed (my husband said it had that “old lady” scent). I was told the scent would fade within 10 minutes or less of application. I thought she would offer a small sample of the product for me to try, instead she crammed the box into my hand and walked off.
I walk up to her again, explaining that I also needed help with finding a foundation. She stomps over to a display and pulled out the product she said she uses, in her shade and told me it was a perfect match for me. I told her it was WAY too dark and she told me that I was wrong, that it was the lighting in the store. More blank stares as I asked her if we could please try a different product line that had a hydrating formula. I was then given the palest shade and told again, it was a “match”. At this point she kept sighing and telling me my skin was just “weird” and it would be very hard for me to find a foundation.
She also kept placing the foundation onto my hand (normally they place it on theirs) and when I asked if there was a tissue I could use to clean my hand up, I was ignored. I did find them though and had to scrub to get the dark color off.
Now during all of this I’m watching the much thinner customers being handed samples of the products they are interested in, not having product on their hands, getting offered MULTIPLE suggestions of brands, formulas, etc, by other sales associates AND by the sales associate that was “helping” me!
I’m then led up to the register where I’m left for ANOTHER 5 minutes before I’m acknowledged and rung out. By this point I am almost in tears. I despise confrontation. So I call my husband as I walked to my car and he told me to come home, let him see the products on me. I get home and apply the moisturizer. The scent is so strong my kids won’t go near me and I start getting overwhelmed by the scent.
I try on the foundation, my husband was shocked as the color was pretty much WHITE and it caked up almost instantly.
I start crying and take a shower. He calls Sephora and speaks to the manager that was on duty. She apologized for my experience and said to come back the next day for a free consultation and to return the products.
Yesterday we all (my husband, kids, and myself) made the trek back to the mall. I go inside Sephora to make the return and who RUNS up the register to process it? Sure enough, my oh so “helpful” sales associate from the night before. I’m given the silent treatment broken up with a few dramatic sighs. I’m not asked if she could help me find something better or even what was WRONG with the products. I’m not given any sort of “consultation” as promised from the night before by the manager. Just more blank stares.
My husband then suggests we go to the Clinique counter at Macy’s because I love their products. We walk in and stand for 15 minutes while watching other much thinner women get helped the moment they set foot into the makeup section, at this point I am shaking I am so upset and we are about to walk out when a slightly older woman wearing the classic Clinique white coat and pins, walks up asking if I needed help. I explained that YES, I need a heavy duty moisturizer as I have VERY dry skin. That my very dry skin started when I had my second son and I needed something super hydrating for my very dry skin. She points to one of their basic moisturizers and tells me “well, that’s a moisturizer”. Then proceeds to tell us that she needs to hurry up as she has to clock out.
Um. Ok. I then decide to skip the moisturizer and ask about a foundation. That I needed a medium to full coverage foundation that was hydrating. She grabs a pamphlet and asks me, “so you said your skin was oily right?”. Uh. I thought I made it super clear that I indeed have VERY DRY SKIN. She then didn’t color match me and told me “welllll, I guess you could try the sheer moisture foundation… but you insist on having full thick coverage”. Holy hell. At this point I am done. I thanked her for her time, told her I would research online and decide from there. I was pretty much devastated at this point.
This experience may leave a lot of you wondering how I connected rude people to my fatness. Well as any overweight / fat / obese / whatever woman will tell you, being treated like that, having thinner women be given BETTER customer service than you… even when you plan on purchasing a LOT of expensive products… makes you feel worthless. I felt stupid. That maybe I didn’t really know anything about skin care or cosmetics. That I should just be happy that anyone had to “deal” with me.
I think… what’s the point? Why even bother? I don’t go out anymore. I have no social life. I go to the grocery store once a week and that’s it. I shouldn’t even TRY. Skincare and cosmetics are for people who get out of the house, who work. Not fat stay-at-home mom’s like myself who live in the same t-shirt and jeans every week.
It makes me feel GUILTY for wanting to look “pretty”. For spending the money on something so frivolous as cosmetics.
So yep. That was my glorious weekend.
Have you ever been treated poorly at a store because of your size? Have you ever had a bad experience at a cosmetics store / counter?
Update: I went to MAC at Woodfield Mall and got AWESOME treatment even though they were closing. I ended up buying two lipsticks. The new Lady Gaga one and Rebel. So thanks to everyone who recommended MAC on FB and Twitter!