Counter Confidential: Buyer's Remorse


jan kranendonk /

Counter Confidential

"Buyer's Remorse" by Undercover Beauty Agent

We’ve all experienced the dreaded day after splurging ― the day where our wallets are crying and reality kicks in. It’s normal to feel a bit of regret after purchasing pointless clutter, and there’s no harm in returning products. Even at my makeup counter, I’m accustomed to unused cosmetics being returned on a daily basis.

I don’t mind returning products for customers who are experiencing a bit of guilt, but I don’t like when customers come up with wild excuses about why they’re returning a product. Though some of the reasons for returning a product are entertaining, it’s never good to deceive a makeup artist.

A client wanted to return a pretty expensive face serum. She had everything for the return― receipt, credit card, box, and bottle. The only problem was that half of the serum was gone. Trying to return a half empty bottle does not go over well with managers who have to refund the full amount. Managers require a valid reason when a person tries to return an item that was thoroughly used.

The woman looked upset that we had to call a manager to approve the return. When my manager asked why she wanted to return it, the customer said, “I have asthma.”

We all took a minute to stare at the woman.

“You know, the thing with the lungs. I have bad lungs,” she stuttered.

We were confused as to how she had an asthma attack from a serum until she said, “Wait, no. I meant I have allergies. It broke me out.”

It registered with me that my customer was lying, but I was trying so hard not to laugh at her obvious flub. I saw my manager turn red, though I’m not sure if it was because she was mad or because she was trying to hold in her laughter as well. My manager didn’t want to approve the return, but the woman was already throwing a hissy fit. After my customer became very loud and started drawing attention, the return was approved.

We later found out that she returned several hundred dollars worth of mostly used cosmetics to other counters. This was a classic case of having buyer’s remorse right when the credit card bill was due.

It’s okay to feel this way, but don’t disrespect makeup artists by blatantly lying about it. Tell us the truth, and we will work with you to find products you actually want and like.

Though it’s hard to escape impulsively shopping, there are a few techniques for avoiding buyer’s remorse.

How To Avoid Buyer’s Remorse:

  1. Account for one impulsive buy
    It’s okay to indulge every once in a while, but keep a budget in mind. Set aside a few dollars before you decide to go shopping for an item that may catch your eye.

  2. Go with a friend
    Having a friend with you will help you stay on track (and keep you distracted). Good friends will usually tell you when something just isn’t worth it.

  3. Don’t ask for help
    If an artist approaches you, it’s okay to say you’re just looking. You should never feel pressured into buying something that you’ll most likely regret later.

  4. Ask for samples
    Samples are always a great way to test drive new products. If you really like a product and think you may want to purchase it, try a sample first.

Undercover Beauty Agent is just an average makeup artist at your local beauty counter who's reporting true stories exclusively for Beautylish: "I love what I do because I get to make people feel beautiful on a daily basis. I'm a beauty advisor in New York City by day and a secret beauty agent by night, totally ready to share all my insider secrets and gossip."