Don’t Bother Buying Cosmetics If You’re Fat

March 21st 2011 / 8 minutes to read

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.

The Naked Palette from Urban Decay. One of my favorite eyeshadow palettes.

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.

Another eyeshadow palette, this is from Too Faced.

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!

This post is over a year old which means the content may be outdated or no longer accurate.


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Rather than based on my size, I have found that I get much better service at Sephora when I don’t have my toddler in a stroller with me. I went days apart and got dramatically different service, but from two different people.

Sorry you had such a crappy experience. Make-up should be fun.

Reply to Amy

It’s crazy because I’ve been to a LOT of Sephora’s and Ulta’s and Nordstrom’s and Macy’s with zero issues so this came as a bit of a shock to me. DH told me it’s just the area (it’s a super fancy rich area).


believe me, it is the area.

Reply to Liz
Jenn Collins @ Monkey Butt Junction

That is awful. No, that’s not a strong enough word. That sucks. You are worthy of good treatment as a good customer and as a person. I’m shocked that someone would treat you like this – heavy, thin, pretty, ugly, green, whatever the case – there’s no excuse. None.

I know the feeling of rejection by a stranger, based totally on one’s physical appearance. It hurts, right in the pit of your stomach. It stomps your self esteem. It crushes you. And I wanted to cry for you when I read that you don’t go out and you don’t have a social life because of how you are feeling right now. I’ve been there, and it is a horrible, horrible place.

You deserve so much better. I only know you from your blog really but go scroll up to the upper right corner and look at what I see when I visit your site: “I am awesome and unique.”

True words, beautiful lady. This woman clearly had issues of her own, her own, not yours.


Reply to Jenn Collins @ Monkey Butt Junction

Thank you so very much.

I normally wouldn’t have noticed the whole fat / thin issue but being the only customer for the majority of the time at each place, and seeing the HUGE difference between how thinner people were being treated… it really hit a nerve.


That’s really crappy Sarah. I’m sorry you had to deal with it. :( Your experience is one of the reasons I’ve been too afraid to go up to the beauty counters at the mall myself.

Reply to Lynda

It’s crazy. I normally have a pleasant experience or at the very least, not a BAD experience. To have this happen at two separate stores by two separate individuals… really got to me.


I don’t buy makeup since it’s not really my “thing” but I can totally relate to how you feel about shopping and weight. I’m petrified to go into many stores, such as JC-Penny where the sales associates are thin and give an air of being “prissy.” My anxiety SPIKES so hard and I feel physically nauseated. That is why I shop a LOT online, because I hate interacting for fear that I’m being judged for not only my size but maybe my hair or this or that. It’s part of my anxiety in general but my weight doesn’t help at all. I’m not saying I’ve never had good customer service from a lot of these women but unfortunately one bad experience can ruin 50 good ones, ya know? *hugs* I’m sorry you had to go through that.

Reply to Amanda

YES!!! I hate going to the mall “while fat” if you will. It makes me SOOOOOO tense.

I would have no problem shopping online but 1. can’t try things out / on & 2. I like instant gratification lol.


Ugh. I totally get this. I haven’t had this happen at Sephora but I did have it happen at the Halls in Kansas City. While shopping with my sister who is about 60 pounds lighter than I am, she was offered samples of products I specifically asked for samples of but was told they didn’t have any. By the same person. Seriously? Do you think I’m not going to notice you gave them to my sister? Who I’m shopping with? Worst experience ever. I’d totally write a letter to their corporate office.

Reply to Erin

That is INSANE!

I kept thinking that if my skinny twin sister was with me, that perhaps I could have gotten better service. It really bothered me to see the thin women get the glowing smiles and offers of help while I stood there, waiting… waiting… finally asking for help only to be treated poorly.

My husband did call Sephora the night I went originally, I believe he is getting a call back sometime today so I need to check up on that.

Lisa at Practically Intuitive

Oh Sarah, I’m sorry that happened. It really can feel demoralizing. I’m not a small chick myself and I’ve had wonderful service at Nordstrom’s makeup counter. I went back twice and was pampered and loved on and it was really nice. Maybe that’s a place for you to try. They really knew their stuff.

It sounds to me as if the sales person (both of them) had issues perhaps not totally related to you. Even still, that’s no reason to act like buttheads to you.

Try Nordstrom’s. :)

Reply to Lisa at Practically Intuitive

YES demoralizing exactly!!

Oh love Nordstrom. They are helpful there, I used to get a lot of my cosmetics from there a couple years ago (before baby #2) and always had a TON of help.

Ms Ray

Goddess, I am so, so incredibly sorry you were so incredibly (and absolutely inexcusably) dehumanized. No one, nothing deserves this, ever. I do have to say, though, as a 200+ woman, myself (and I had lost over 60 lbs this year, so almost 300), I can’t say I’ve encountered this problem. I too like make up and I’ve shopped at Sephora, Ulta, and Clinique and I have always been treated with the utmost dignity and great care. People who love their jobs really love their jobs, no matter what you look like. I also know an acquaintance who weighs over 200+ and she works for BareEscentials. Why didn’t you call the manager the moment you were treated badly? Why didn’t you request another salesperson? Why did you allow yourself to buy the wrong product? Why didn’t you stand up for yourself?! The moment you stepped in the next day and saw her, the first words should have been: “I’m sorry, I need to speak to the manager, I talked with her yesterday.”

If you encounter that horrible situation again (which I hope not), you don’t have to be mean or rude – just say, “You know? I don’t think we’re connecting here. May I speak to someone else, please?” I don’t think the cosmetic industry is sizist (Hello, Queen Latifah – Cover Girl!) – just that bonehead of a clerk who was probably jealous your pretty face.

Reply to Ms Ray

This is the first time this has happened to me. I’ve always had great service, helpful associates and such. For me to have the “same” bad service from two different people and two different stores… just really hurt.

As for not standing up for myself… normally I DO! I have no clue why I let myself get pushed over.

Friday night the moment I got home and talked to my husband, he called Sephora while I showered and talked to the manager then. I do believe he is supposed to get a call from them again today about what happened and I’m sure they will get an earful about how I was treated during the return too.

Aww thank you!! I tend to have fairly good self esteem, but for some reason, this REALLY got to me!

I think it’s easy to say the woulda/shoulda/couldas but in the moment, with all of that anxiety and guilt and shaming that’s occurring, it’s a different story. Normally I’m a take-no-crap kind of woman, but I had an experience being treated rudely by a saleswoman twice and in that moment, like Sarah said, I felt guilty and stupid and was too demoralized to try to stand up for myself. Hearing the “why didn’t you do x,y, or z” later on was not helpful.


Okay, so I decided to respond to this because I love sephora and macys. I never had any issues at either or those places because of my size. Even when I weighed a lot more. I’ve found that the people who work at macys are less informed though. They seem to mainly be in it for the sale, rather then providing quality service that will ensure a repeat customer. However, whenever im going to go to either of these places, I know exactly what I want. Most of the time, I don’t ask for assistance because I can easily play with the makeup myself and figure out what’s good for me. The few times I have asked an associate to help me, half the time they don’t know what im talking about or leave me with the impression that they don’t know much about the prod. I never really had a problem with this because like I said I prefer doing it myself. I can see why ur upset though. I wouldn’t take it to heart however, because these people obviously are only in it for the paycheck. I would send an email to corporate however, so that someone above manager sees it and something changes. Don’t let this bother ya too much dear! Just go with me next time!

Reply to jenn

This is the first time I’ve had this happen. I like going to different Sephora’s, Ulta’s, etc because they all seem to have different items or bigger stores.

When my sister and I went to the Clinique counter at Woodfield Mall a few weeks ago, the woman was from Lancome since no one was at Clinique but helped me right away, did a full face, gave me samples, etc.

So to get the complete opposite from two different people and stores… sigh. Sucks.

When my husband and I were building our house, I got pretty much ignored every time I went to pick out anything… tile, appliances, fixtures… I believe it was because I was young (25) and people assumed that I had no money or was just looking. (We didn’t have a ton of $ but did all the work ourselves so we did buy more expensive materials. Now we have NO $.)

The worst was when we went to pick out granite counter tops for our kitchen and we wandered around for an hour with nobody asking to help us, while much older people were getting helped and great service. I was almost in tears, so upset, when an older saleswoman came and asked if we were being helped. I was also angry so I answered “NO! And we’ve been waiting a long time!” She sent over this very young sales girl who looked like a trainee, but was very sweet. I had such a “Pretty Woman” moment when I immediately ordered $10,000 worth of granite countertops and paid the deposit in cash. I was so happy the young girl got the commission! :)

AHHH yes to the Pretty Woman! I was actually thinking about that last night! How I was prepared to drop a few hundred (if it works, it’s worth it when it comes to skin care for me!) and instead ended up returning a ton of products and no longer going back to that mall. I would much rather give my money to people who earn it.

I’ve always been a good if not overly good, tipper or customer in general just from all the years I worked retail, so when I get bad customer service based on their PERCEPTION of me? It absolutely kills me.


Honestly, I would say that this experience probably has a lot more to do with the perception of your financial status than your weight. Not that I really have any idea whether you look like you have a lot of money or not, but I know when I used to go to the very wealthy area Dillards store I was treated that same way and I was not overweight at all. But I did notice that I would be dressed in jeans/hoodie/hair in a bun, and the women getting all the help would be in expensive workout gear or head-to-toe A&F outfits and with perfectly done hair, perfectly done nails, etc… I think they figure if they spend most of their attention on the people who will spend the most, their commission will work out for the better that way. It’s hard when you pay consultants like that on an incentive basis like that, it’s bound to create those bad experiences for some.

Don’t take it personally. Unfortunately, most of us would probably do the same thing if our basis for making our ends meet financially was to sell as much product as possible, knowing we would get a percentage of our sales. It’s kind of natural to assume that the wealthiest looking people are going to spend the most money, and that’s a direct result of how much money those sales reps will make. It’s unfair, but that’s the way those types of sales consultants make a living. I worked for Clinique for several years, and have experienced this mindset myself (sad to say). That’s why it was very important to me to get a way from a commission based sales environment.

I don’t know if this is going to help you in any way, but all I can say is try the best you can to see it from the other perspective and please try to assume that people are generally good and don’t intend to make others feel this way. Good luck.

Reply to Sarah

I’m not fancy rich but I do dress nice when I go out. I wear makeup (properly!) and I’m told often I’m well-spoken as well.

A friend of mine just commented on my FB page that she also had the exact treatment at the exact same stores (she’s also heavier like I am). So it’s not an isolated situation sadly.

I’ve not had this situation occur at other malls even when I dress in $2 flip-flops, no makeup, my kids running around all crazy lol.


“If you’re fat, you will be ignored by the sales people.”
If you are fit you will also be ignored by the sales staff, especially if you are young and look like you are not filthy rich.

“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 are thin, fat, tall, short, old, young, black, white, filthy rich or dirt poor, they will make you feel awful and pressure you into buying something you do not want or need. It’s part of their job description.

“If you’re fat, you should hide in a hole and starve yourself thin so you can be accepted in society.”
I don’t even have a response to this. I find it alarming to react this way to snooty cashiers.

If it’s one thing I’ve learned is that unless it looks like you own the whole mall, you will be treated like dirt at any department store or expensive boutique, including Victoria’s Secret. Don’t let them get to you… it’s not about your weight. I’m relativly slim and fit and I’ve been sneered at by cashiers, ignored and actually abandoned naked in a changing room by a Victoria’s Secret salesperson that promised to return with a bra in my size and never did. I was in there for almost 20 minutes. I finally got dressed and left only to see her and another attendant both oohing and ahing over a snobby old lady who was wearing an expensive coat. It was humiliating and I never shop there now.

Reply to Scarlet

In my situation, it was “weight-centric”. I do agree with you that in other areas, other stores, it’s “money-centric”.

Like I said at the start of the post, 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.

It’s just in this case, it was about my weight. At Sephora I was ignored for thinner women, not better dressed or older women, I was ignored for some very young teenage girls (younger than 16) before I asked for some help.

I remember my retail days and having co-workers shun people based on their size “HOW DARE she come in wearing shorts! Her legs can hardly hold her up!” or “Oh ugh, she probably can’t afford to buy a bra here” only for these same people to spend hundreds if not thousands on clothes.

Perception (rather than fact), no matter what it’s based on, is awful.


I haven’t had this experience with cosmetics but then I rarely buy them. My enlightening experience was how much better I was treated when I lost weight. I went from being over 200lbs and regularly being met with blank stares if I ever cracked a joke to a sales person to being 130lbs and getting beaming smiles and cheery chuckles. It even went beyond customer service. I found that people I had known for years starting hugging me when they never had before, that was definitely the most alarming change.

Reply to Kristin

OH I still remember when I was thinner (by only like.. 30lbs than where I am now lol) and oh yes, the thinner you get, the better you get treated.

It’s INSANE isn’t it!!


Whether it was discrimination or just terribly poor customer service, what happened to you was horrible. There’s no excuse, and I think it is worth another call to the manager if you’re up for it.

I can tell you’re still feeling sad and frustrated about being treated so poorly, but I think it’s important to remember that just because someone else has terrible social skills (and is apparently terrible at their job) doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to wear make-up. You’re a stay at home mom? You can look nice for you. You are awesome. You’re overweight? You can look nice for you. You are awesome. Do not let her affect your choices to take care of yourself. If you want some nice make up, call the manager, and ask when she will be in to help you get the service you deserve. Also, I am guessing if you forward this blog post to Macy’s you will get a response from their corporate office.

Reply to Casey

Thank you so much!! I just might contact Macy’s / Clinique / Sephora via email about all of this.


As a retail store manager.. you email the company itself. Talking to a manager, unless they are awesome like me, will not do crap. You go after customer service and tell them the DSM needs to personally contact you. If they care about their customers they will do this. You need to do this!

Reply to Ali

I’m going to do that. The Sephora manager never called back so Keith called them AGAIN and is going to call corporate I think.

You’ve been with me while I’ve bought cosmetics and I’ve never had this issue before! A friend of ours commented on my FB page that she had the same experience as I did at the same stores so I know it’s not an isolated incident!

Mama Kelly aka Jia

Unfortunately I have had similar experiences. I am fat and generally go out with my long hair straight or up in a bun/clip and little in the way of nice clothing. The few times I have stepped foot in Sephora is has been to only be ignored or, like you, when going out of my way to get assistance getting less than helpful responses.

Im at a point where Ive just stopped caring. I dont dress up. I dont wear makeup. Why bother? Even “gussied up” I’m still fat and still ignored and made to feel like something below the poop the salesperson might have inadvertently stepped in on her way to work that day.

Reply to Mama Kelly aka Jia

That’s how I feel. It’s a struggle for me daily really, to get the “energy” to go out.


I have definitely had drastically different experiences in Sephora and Victoria’s Secret when I was 300+ lbs, and now at 180 lbs. Before, I was pretty much ignored, though I would be greeted and handed a shopping basket. Now the salesgirls fall all over themselves offering suggestions for hair products, shadows, mascaras (I’m on the hunt for the HG one — it must provide definition, length and volume; so far I’ve only gotten two out of three). And at Victoria’s Secret, they can’t throw enough bras at me. *eyeroll*

Being obese, particularly as a woman, really is a society death sentence. You have to have a very tough exterior to handle being a second-class citizen, since that is basically what you are relegated to being.

I’m so sorry you had such an awful experience. *hug* I wish I could say it’s out of the ordinary, but we both know that it’s not.

Reply to Jenn

You totally understand! Generally I don’t have many issues because I apparently “have such a pretty face!” which apparently makes my fatness “not as bad”.

Still. I won’t be returning to that mall for ANY shop.

I did go to MAC last night and had tons of help from the makeup artists there and ended up buying two lipsticks! I hope to go back when I have more time to actually browse as I went as the store was closing heh.


Oh I definitely understand. I’ve lost the 150 lbs physically, but not mentally. I’m “taken back” to various situations very quickly, and the memories are quite vivid! You have no idea how resentful I am of how different people treat me now versus before. It makes me very angry and defensive of the former me, as well as every other obese person who has been treated in a similar manner.

Ooh, MAC. Jealous… the closest one is close to 50 miles away! Still, it may be worth the trip… ;)

Reply to Jenn

It’s funny too because I’ve actually had situations in reverse at Lane Bryant. Even though I worked there for a bit when Danny was a toddler…

Anyway, sometimes I go in and they seem to be pissy that I’m not AS overweight as them. I experienced that when I worked (I was a size 16/18 bottom then) there too.

I’m too fat for most places and not fat enough for others.

Oh one of the perks living so close to Chicago lol. LOTS of shopping.


I’m so sorry they treated you badly. It’s not fair and it’s not right.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been treated badly because of size, but I have noticed that being expensively dressed makes a HUGE difference. I started accessorizing more and dressing better after I did a fashion challenge last fall, and I noticed that when I walked into a clothing store carrying a stylish purse and wearing a big floral scarf around my neck, I suddenly got lots of attention from sales staff.

I suggest you send a letter to corporate customer service of both Clinique and Sephora detailing your experiences and making it clear that you are a regular customer and that you wanted to buy products and were not adequately helped by the sales staff. Corporate types don’t like it when store staff aren’t treating customers right. I had a big problem with my local LOFT store a few months ago and — despite the fact that I hate confrontations — I faxed the corporate office a letter and copies of the email correspondence I’d had with their service reps. I was shaking by the time I was done sending the letter, but it got their attention — I got an apology and a gift card. And I felt so good for having stood up for my rights.

Reply to cheryl

I try to dress not crappy lol. Generally I don’t encounter BAD service really much at all, which is why I took this even harder than say… “general bad service” if that makes sense?

I want to contact the corporate companies but not sure what to say exactly!


I just sent you an email with a letter you can send Sephora — it’s mostly key bits of your post with an added sentence here & there. Hopefully it will get someone’s attention! You deserve a big apology from them at the very least.

Reply to cheryl

I’m glad you’re going to contact the companies.

I get this a lot because I had SEVERE acne when I was a teenager, and I’ve got acne scars, and I still have breakouts. When I go to makeup stores I sometimes get looks like “Why are you in here? This is for pretty people.”
I can be dressed to the nines, with make-up on and I still feel like they’re making me feel ashamed to be there. I get terrible customer service, and even though I’m on a skin-care regime they always try to push their acne stuff on me when I haven’t asked for their help with my skin at all. I ended up writing a strongly worded letter to a company about the service I got at a certain store. They said they were sorry and would address my issue at store level. The place is still as bad as ever.
It’s like “If you’re not perfect, you damn well better not strive to be.” It’s a horrible feeling, and I’m so sorry you had to deal with it.

It really is an awful feeling especially when you dislike yourself enough, you don’t need anyone encouraging that heh!

It’s funny though, the last two times I was at this weight, I had HIGH self-esteem, like hardcore high, but this time around, I feel bigger than ever. Crazy.

Wow, that sounds like such a sucky experience. I’m sorry that you didn’t get what you went in for. I had my first make over a couple of weeks ago at Dillards. It’s such a shame that people take what is on the outside and think that is who you are on the inside.

It drives me crazy. I’ve dropped 50lbs since July and eat extremely healthy, all this does is make me feel “what’s the point”.

It’s amazing how crappy customer service can make you feel SO bad! Especially when we are PAYING customers!

dysfunctional mom

Three years ago, I weighed 253 pounds. Then I had gastric bypass surgery and lost 120+. The difference in the way I was treated then vs. now has astounded me. Even by people who knew me before, but especially from strangers. In situations where I was totally ignored before, now suddenly I am worth peoples’ time and attention. It’s the strangest feeling; sometimes I want to scream “I’m still me! I’m the same person!” It makes me hurt for that fat girl I used to be.
I’m so sorry you had this experience. I feel like the mistreatment of overweight people is one of the last socially acceptable prejudices. And I don’t understand it.

Reply to dysfunctional mom

I think it’s because people think fat = porkers who eat all the time and are lazy.

In one of my previous posts I mentioned something about having a struggle with my weight and people kept commenting how I should eat better… when I eat VERY healthy. It really made me feel worse because it showed that people 1. didn’t read the post and 2. made the assumption that because I was complaining about my weight I must eat fast food and was lazy.


A resounding YES from me. I went to an Ulta to get a haircut (normally wouldn’t go to such a pricey place but I was given a gift card and the hair badly needed a trim) and I felt the same way you did. I waited at the salon counter for a good 15 minutes before anyone approached me even though THEY called me and bumped up my appointment, yet other thinner, prettier women were serviced promptly and with care. I was actually stared at while getting my hair cut by the snooty salon people and other customers. Obviously they didn’t think someone like me should be at a place like that.

Like you, I rarely go out because I’m normally made to feel stupid for not only my weight but also the fact that I have rosacea and someone like me just should not be seen in public. In the last month, I’ve begun using Proactiv and my rosacea is now where I can almost completely cover it (I still have those rosy cheeks but at least I don’t look like I’m sunburnt) but I still rarely venture anywhere unless I have to. I work outside the house once a week and the rest is from home. Thank the gods. I’ve resigned myself to life a spinsterhood as well. If society can’t accept me, who am I to kid that anyone at all would. Wow, deep-seated issues are surfacing. Always happens when tough topics like this are discussed.

Overall, society has a horrible stigma on people with any weight at all (btw I definitely would not class you as fat at all, me on the other hand … yeah) and it pains that it keeps getting worse and worse and how this discrimination is being learnt by our children. I’m sorry you had such a rough time *hugs*

Reply to Teresa

I have rosy cheeks, always have, not rosacea though but it’s one of my features I like to tone down with foundation, which is why I hunt for it so much heh.

Yep, I was told on and off over the last 10 years that my weight was the reason I couldn’t get a “good” job, why no one would ever “want” me, that until I thinned out, I was indeed “worthless”.

AHHH people keep saying I’m NOT fat lol but really I am considered fat! I’m a size 22 bottom and 14/16 top, very pear shaped.


Unfortunately I can totally relate to you on this experience :( This is one of the very reasons I sometimes prefer to shop online, sometimes even buy things from abroad. Or other option is to go to a shop where I know there aren’t any sales persons buzzing around the shop. And I do most of my research online first.
I’m sorry you were treated so badly :/

Reply to Johanna

Yep I do a TONNN of online research normally before purchasing anything… I rarely buy online though because I hate waiting lol.


I’ve had very similar experiences in Sydney – at various MAC counters and at a Lancome counter. I’m not only overweight, I am extremely shy and have an anxiety disorder that left me reeling for ages. I was given disgusted looks, had demo products snatched so that assistants could show them to the skinny customers, and was flat out ignored.

I was shattered, embarrassed and wanted to curl up in a hole and die. It took me close to two and a half years to face that counter again (I love bright colours) and I had to do it with Mum at my side. I did have a couple of nice experiences until it happened again – apparently my weight issues are not only contagious, they render my money valueless.

These days I use an entirely different brand because the two locations we use, we have assistants who are awesome and attentive. But the thing is, it happens everywhere. I’ve gotten used to the dirty looks, the impatience, the lack of acknowledgement, the rude comments under the breath – it doesn’t make me like people very much. I don’t both with make up because it’ll will draw more attention to me.

I absolutely believe you should write to both Sephora and Clinique. You deserve a written apology from both companies at the very least, and a large gift card. I am incredibly sorry this happened to you.

Reply to Lexie

That is AWFUL how you were treated!! I can understand the feeling of anxiety though, I get so tense when shopping these days because 1. I can’t handle an uninformed sales assistant 2. I don’t want to be judged for my ANYTHING.


I’ve never had a problem at a cosmetics counter but I rarely use them because I imagine they’ll be like the ones you encountered. But I have had trouble in the past with clothes shops – before I lost a bit of weight I experienced bad service in one shop and it still plays on my mind years later. I tried on the clothes and while I was in the changing room I could hear them laughing and talking about me. When I got to the counter they were still laughing at me, and I just walked out and burst into tears. Having said that, now I’ve lost the weight I have no problem in that store which just goes to show that weight does play a huge part.

Reply to Lizzie

Ugh that is disgusting behavior from the store you shopped at! It’s amazing to me how many people had experiences like mine! Being judged for WHATEVER based on pre-concieved notions these people have… it really makes me depressed to think there’s not many NICE people anymore.

I’m so sorry you had that experience. Honestly, I hate going into Sephora (and most beauty stores/counters). I never get good customer service there. I’m very picky about my products and I do most of my shopping online because I very rarely have good experiences with sales clerks. I always chalked it up to looking younger (therefore poorer) than I actually am. I also have very dry skin too so I understand the challenges. I’m a consultant for a few natural/organic skincare lines now. If you ever want a personal consultation, send me a message and I’ll be happy to help you choose a few things I think would be great for you. Off hand, I’d check out this foundation: and this moisturizer: This is also a great foundation: I hope this helps you a little bit and I’m happy to help you anytime! Shame on insensitive people. Hugs!

My dry skin started after having DS2. Before that I was more oily lol going from one extreme to the other apparently!

Thank you for the recommendations!

Ugh. That would be so frustrating. I’ve always had pretty dry skin but now we live in the mountains where there’s very little humidity and it’s harsh on my skin. Oh and I should clarify it’s the Jasmine Green Tea that’s great for dry skin, not the mint tea!

This breaks my heart to hear about how those b***** treated you and how it affected you. I am cheap and buy all of my make up at CVS and Walgreens. LOL So I have never had any experience one way or another about customer service regarding my weight…
But what I want to say is that &^%$ them. You wear make up because you want to feel pretty and feel good and whether you are a social butterfly or sitting at home all day, do what makes you feel GOOD.

Oh I love me some drugstore makeup too! I just felt like… I lost 50lbs I “deserve” some higher end products as the last time I bought anything was in 2009 when I was newly pregnant with Tristan.

I used to be a social butterfly lol those were the days!

You are beautiful and I’m so sorry you were treated that way. Everyone has a right to feel fabulous and to be treated like the fabulous person they are.

(Hi, just surfed in from Sam’s blog!)

Thank you so much!

My husband says that to me too, that if makeup and all of that makes me happy, even if it’s just to wear it around the house, then it’s WORTH IT.

Aww thank you!!! You sound so empowered!!


Glad you found some makeup and people to help you I have had make overs at cliniqu (sp) and elizaeth arden and i hated the results I just think they hire idiots,, MAC is my favorite makeup, I LOVE their lipsticks and if you save the canisters from your old mac lipsticks you can get a free one think its 6 of the… The counter is always insanely buzy but i always get great service and the people there know their makeup,,,,

Reply to draven

I just bought two MAC lipsticks, and I normally don’t wear lipsticks, just some gloss occasionally since I do a darker eye… but the colors and formula are super nice!

I am usually ignored at stores, and I think its not only because I’m 5’2 and 170lbs, but I also look much younger than I am (I’m 23, and most people think I’m 16-18). However, stores need to realize that if you’re in there, you have some kind of interest in the brand. I’m a fashion merchandising major, and it kills me to hear stories like yours. I am usually ignored in Victoria’s Secret PINK, because I’m sure I look like I cannot wear the clothes, yet they make my favorite sweatpants. But I am determined, and I search for a salesperson if I need help.

I’ve also received crappy service at Sephora. My local store is so bad, the associates stand in the corner and talk, and they act like you are bothering them if you need assistance. I only go to that one if I really need something, and I know exactly what I need. I receive much better service at a store in NYC that is always crowded with tourists. I plan on purchasing a tinted moisturizer (moisturizer with a light concealer in it), and I plan on going to that store because I know they give good assistance with finding the appropriate shade.

I’m glad that you are going to contact the companies. Another good way to contact them is to mention them in a Twitter post. Companies hate bad publicity, so posting about bad customer service to your followers will bring it to their attention. I did that when I had an issue with a textbook and the customer service was very rude, and it helped me get the problem resolved. Good luck!!

Thank you for the advice about tweeting, I went ahead and did that just now!

It’s crazy to me how rude people are these days, to PAYING CUSTOMERS no less. How do the managers/store managers/regional managers allow this to happen?


I’m so sorry you had a horrible experience! I can tell you from experience, that location sucks. I’ve been there before and dealt with VERY similiar situations, though I went with my skinny sister-in-law, and she got the same treatment. Woodfield is usually pretty good, and their MAC store is pretty awesome too. My Sephora is a bit of a drive for you, but I’ve never had issues there. *hugs* don’t ever let anyone make you feel inferior, you are a paying customer and you deserve respect! Make sure you contact the DM and let them know how you were treated, even if it’s just an e-mail if that makes you feel more comfortable!

Reply to Andrea

I love Woodfield, it’s the mall I normally go to although in the past few months I’ve gone to Old Orchard a bit more too.


It’s sad, but it’s not just if you’re fat. I’ve noticed how differently I am treated when I come in wearing a full set of make-up vs. when I decide to be make-up-less for the day. They’ll me more than willing to help you if you basically look like you belong there.

Ugh it sucks, and I am so sorry you got treated this way. :(

Reply to Cristina

I wish it was just that heh.


I have had mild encounters of a similar nature and I’m only a little bit over weight. It is very hurtful and makes you feel SO worthless.

On the moisturizer topic, I would suggest trying sweet almond oil I just put a drop or two on a cotton ball and put it on before I apply foundation. Hope you find something that works!

Reply to Rebekah

Thank you for the recommendation!


I am so sorry that your experiences with both Sephora and Clinique were so disappointing. I’m also heavy, and have several children, so shopping has been an adventure at times. You’ve gotten some very good advice on how to address the issues with the companies, so my comment will address your other concerns, mainly your dry skin.

After my last child, my skin, which was quite nice initially, became a nightmare. It was dry, very tempermental, and I started developing acne. The acne wasn’t your run of the mill stuff either. It left scars and was quite painful. I searched high and low for products that would normalize my skin, to no avail. Until very recently, that is. A month or so ago, someone posted a link to the Oil Cleansing Treatment method, and I was intrigued. I looked into it – (cheap and easy) – and decided to give it a try. I cannot even begin to tell you the difference it has made in how my skin looks and feels. You may want to give it a try. :)

P.S. You are a very lovely woman, and from the sounds of it, a wonderful wife and mother. Take pride in that. It’s worth so much more than your size.

Reply to Dana

I actually did OCT in 2008 and my skin just… didn’t react well at all. I’m hoping that it’s just a combination of a harsh Winter and not drinking enough (any heh) water, and that I can balance out my hormones a bit more. It’s so funny, after DS1 I got more oily, with DS2, more dry! Go figure!

I just want to add a big hug here and say that I’m so sorry that all happened to you.
Also a big hurray for the awesome husband!! Clearly you’re loved, adored and beautiful in every way.
I’m very overweight and don’t really notice anything much… mostly because I thnk I just zone out when I go out.
I hope your good experience at MAC resonates too and gives you something to balance out the crappy people.

P.S. I love this comment form. So pretty.

Thank you so much for commenting! Oh MAC was overall great. I only had one slightly crappy experience there (got ignored by one of the male employees for a “richer” woman), all the women I worked with were awesome though!

After reading your post, I found it kind of funny because I also had the same treatment at the same mall but different store. I went to check out Betsey Johnson because I love her clothes and since it was a first time visit at a mall with a BJ store, I figured why not right? I would say I was over 200 lbs and I dressed to hide it (meaning sweats and a hoodie) and I probably looked like I have never wore a dress in my life. As I first walked to the store, I wasn’t greeted and not even an eye contact. I stayed for a few mins browsing and also seeing if anyone noticed I came in or see if I needed help. Not even a glanced! So additional 5 mins gone by, I decided to leave and was rather upset because I thought I got treated like a nobody because of my weight. Now that I’m under 200 lbs (I’m not thin yet!), I went to a different BJ store and the sales woman was awesome! But in my mind, I wondered if I was treated differently because of my weight or was it all in my head?

It’s hard isn’t it, the “was it ME or THEM” thought process! It really screws with your mind especially if you already have some low-self esteem.

Congrats on the weight loss! What have you been doing?


Aww this story makes me so sad! What mean associates! This sort of thing happened to my best friend multiple times and she would come home with things that she didnt like and weren’t suited for her and she felt scared to return them. The associates were bullying her because they knew she didn’t know a lot about makeup and she really wanted their help so their took advantage of that. After that I started going to the cosmetics counter with her practically as an agent to be sure she wasn’t tricked into anything or treated rudely. No one should have to feel that way. I have worked in the cosmetics industry and it is all about making every woman who walks in feel beautiful and confident, not worthless and unimportant. One thing I try to do is make an appointment ahead of time, I figure if I am going to spend the money then I want the free makeover that comes with it. Most counters will do your full face consultation if you plan to purchase some of the products. I always make an appointment that way I know I will have their undivided attention. We shouldn’t have to worry about this kind of treatment but it does happen. I hope you ended up finding products that work for you. If you haven’t I will suggest a foundation I just purchased, Makeup Forever HD is very moisturizing and has the medium to full coverage. I have dry skin too that just never went away after the last winter. I am always on the hunt for super moisturizing products. If you haven’t tried the brand Avene ( its a french brand for sensitive skin and they have an amazing cold cream that is intense moisture, I LOVE it for my cheeks. Also Philosophy’s hope in a jar. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Reply to jennifer

Thank you for commenting! I ended up splurging quite a bit (at the time) at MAC and online through Sephora and the Sephora at a different mall.

I found great skin care products and fell in love with my Clarisonic lol. Also I love the NARS sheer glow foundation. No more flaky issues!


That’s awful. It makes me sad when people can be so rude and mean, even when they are payed not to be. The way they acted says nothing about you. You are very pretty, (as well as a very talented photographer, which makes me quite jealous). No matter what you look like, or who you are, people can find something to be mean about.

Reply to Stephanie

Awww thank you. I agree, especially in this day and age, people think they are entitled to being jerks or entitled to their jobs.


I really enjoyed this article. Obviously not because I enjoyed what happened to you, but more because I could relate.

When I was a child I was fat, when I was 16 I just “got thin” out of nowhere, and now that I’m back to being fat again, I see this huge gap in the respect you get from people.

When I was 15,16,17 guys let you cut in front of them in a line, opened doors for you, and I had people come up and ask me out, out of nowhere. And, as a shy person, I enjoyed having more confidence.

Now, people look at me for a whole different reason. I like to look nice, but sometimes I feel with temperamental skin like mine, that’s not always possible.

I enjoyed being treated nicely, but I’ve always treated everybody nicely. Never in my life, have I ever looked at someone and been like, “That person’s fat”.


I shop at a store thats especially for Plus size, and boy are they so friendly!! Unfortunately that’s still intimidating for me because I’m shy and don’t know what to say! lol

Reply to Ella

It’s even harder when shy! Since I posted about my experience I’ve gotten a lot better about standing up for myself. A bit too much maybe so I have my husband deal with most of it (he’s nicer and usually ends up with some sort of free stuff for me LOL).


I want you to know I’ve had the same thing happen to me. I’m a short fat gal who likes to wear makeup and I’ve been repeatedly ignored at makeup counters or Sephora stores. I like the disgusted up and down look I get when I walk in.


I got a job at JcPenney about 5 months ago. The training manager became the manager of the Sephora inside JCP. Positions opened up in Sephora and the mgr asked me (me, the short fat one yay!)if I’d like to work in her department!! She knew I loved shopping there and she also knew I have a great, upbeat, customer friendly attitude. I was floored. After being treated like scum in those places for so long, I’m now a Sephora product consultant!! I hope people will see me working in there, and feel more comfortable shopping there.

Reply to AnnaLiese

That is AWESOME!!!! I’ve never shopped at a Sephora inside of a JCP. Is it a lot different than the physical store?


Hi Sarah, I just so happen to come across your blog while researching cosmetic jobs. I am truly sorry to hear about your treatment at these locations. I think it may very well be an instance of location and management then actual corporate conduct.
As someone who has frequented the mall, I have felt the same intimidation and bad service you wrote about and I can’t blame you for feeling the way you do, but I truly hope this experience won’t sour your views on the beauty industry, the companies, and the people.
I have worked in a few beauty stores,and there are many reasons for why an employee ( not to make excuses) may not treat the costumers properly. I would never treat anyone that approaches me for help in that manner, as a personal vow to you and myself.
On an honest, insider level, we view most clients as just dollar signs and I know even if the consultant had a personal grudge for certain people, the pressure alone to make numbers will most likely override any discrimination. It is a harsh truth.
It is a fact I struggle with daily while working in this industry, but the great people I do get to meet and service, when done properly and honestly, means the world to me. People like you inspire me to do what I do. I tell everyone in my chair exactly what works, what doesn’t, why, and who it will best suit, completely unbiased.
I hope I offered some insight. Please let me know if that manager ever followed up on that consultant.
Tasha aka, Big Girl =]

Reply to tasha

Oh I love the beauty industry, blogs, products, all of it! My vanity can attest to that as I have no room for anything new LOL!

This happened… almost a year ago by now? I never EVER had that manager follow up with me.

I did have a fabulous experience at a different Sephora where I found my holy grail skin care (starting with the Clarisonic!) however without fail, that bad experience I had has made me almost timid to go into the stores themselves and I end up doing most of my purchasing online.


Hi, sorry to hear you had such bad help from the sales girls at several stores. Sounds like they are in the wrong profession . I am a cosmetic freelancer. I work in all different stores and would never treat anyone the way you were treated. So let me apologize for them. I would like to give you a few recommendations. For a moisturizer I would try Philisophy’s Hope in a jar. It is pure moisture , a drink of water for the face. They have original or for really dry skin When hope is not enough. If you moisture with anti aging try the Miracle Worker, it feels like silk. Also to get rid of your dry skin and give the best skin of your life, get a Clarisonic . It sonically cleanses your skin 6x better than washing yourself. It is great for getting rid of dry skin, oily skin, fine lines and wrinkles, congestion, acne, rosacea, excema and psoriasis . And because it cleans so well it allows your moisturizers and serums to absorb 80% better. Try it you will never want to be without it, and you will thank me!

Reply to Erica

Thanks for commenting! I really should update this post!

I have a fantastic skin routine now (finally!) and yep, have a Clarisonic which I love! I use and love my Peter Thomas Roth and Clinique products and for a face wash I stick with Philosophy!


Awesome! Sounds like you have everything you need. And Purity is an amazing cleanser. Glad to hear you found good products and Clarisonic.

Reply to Erica

Yes. My weight has crept up recently and I’ve had multiple shop assistants be incredibly rude to me. The one who pointedly said “this moisturiser *is* £9.99” (my usual one is £25). The one who glared at me like I was going to steal something. The optical assistant who tried to direct me to the cheap, nasty glasses, when I’ve been buying designer frames for over a decade. I used to love shopping; it’s become incredibly stressful & upsetting.

Reply to Helen

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