The Nice Girl's Guide to Pushy Salespeople

Get these expert tips on how to resist a hard pitch, return yucky beauty products and ask for a re-do -- without feeling cheap or shady

When the M·A·C lady spends 20 minutes giving you a makeover, you have to buy something. Or do you? Here, we detangle etiquette for backing out of a hard sell, returning bad products and (gasp) asking for a do-over.

By Colleen Rush

Just say no (thanks) Scene: You've just received a free half-hour makeover and mini-massage at a department store counter. The make-up artist looks you square in your newly smoky eye and asks, "So, which of these fabulous products would you like to take home today?" Fact: This is a classic counter tactic. Makeup artists don't spend 30 minutes giving you tips, tricks and samples purely out of the goodness of their beautifying hearts. They work on commission. Although you're not obligated to buy anything, it is sort of expected. If you receive a free service that takes up more than 10 minutes of his or her time, be prepared to fork over approximately $1/minute for a product. Or don't accept the "free" service at all, because the hard sell is part of that freebie. Either purchase the cheapest product, or pick out an item you know you love. If you blaze without buying, a makeup artist is left with one of two conclusions: She did a terrible job or you're a sample grifter. So, confess if you have no intention of buying a product -- if you simply want to test the brand or need a free glam makeover before a big night out. As awkward as it might sound, total honesty up front helps you avoid the truly awkward moment of walking away without spending a dime. This way, the makeup artist knows to hook you up, but still keep an eye out for potential customers. "You'll get the service because you might turn into a regular buyer, but she won't feel bad about stepping away to help other people," says Bobbi Brown makeup artist Mark Hopkins. How to escape gracefully: Depending on how you feel about the makeover or service, there are tactful ways to say, 'Thanks…but no thanks.' · "I'd like to see how it wears before I commit to buying more." · "I have sensitive skin, so I need to make sure I don't react to any of the products." · "I don't want to buy everything at once, but if you write down the products, I'll be sure to mention your name when I come back to buy them so you get the commission." · "I want to use up the products I have at home before I start a whole new regimen." Buyer's Remorse Scene: In a fit of post-makeover euphoria, you spend $150 on new products you really don't need and probably can't afford. You assume you're out of luck because you opened the products or, "I changed my mind ... I need to pay rent," doesn't cut it as an excuse. Fact: Depending on the store's return policy, if you have the receipt and it's within 30 to 60 days of the purchase, you should be able to return the product for a refund or store credit, no problem. Check the receipt for details about returns. The sales associate will probably ask your reason for returning the product, but no matter what you say, the store should honor its policy. How to escape gracefully: "Ultimately, you want products that work for you, not just what the hipster makeup artist is hot on that moment," says Hopkins. "You should always return or, better yet, turn down products that don't suit you." When you approach the counter, you have a choice between telling a little white lie to save face, or being totally, bravely honest. White lie: "I didn't like the way the makeup felt or looked on my skin after a few hours." Bold truth: "I got a little carried away and didn't realize how much all of this would cost. I'd like to return a few things." White lie: "Something in this combo of products made my skin freak out. Can I return all of it?" Bold truth: "I got home and realized I don't really need most of this stuff. I'm sorry I wasted your time, but I'd like to return as much as I can." Do-over hairdo Scene: You're breaking in a new stylist/colorist, or you want your faithful hairdresser to try a new style. Something goes wrong and it shows. On your head. The color is off, the layers are lopsided, the bangs are too short. As much as you want it fixed, you don't want to have a nervous breakdown or embarrass your stylist in front of the salon. Fact: A good stylist would be more embarrassed if you walk away unhappy with his or her work. The best in the beauty business want to know if you're not satisfied -- just don't blow it out of proportion. "People think it has to be a major problem to justify complaining and getting a do-over, so they make it sound like their hair is a disaster when it only needs a minor adjustment," says Rodney Cutler of Cutler/Redken Salon in New York City. "You'll get it fixed, no matter how big or small the problem. But you have to be willing to speak up and be honest about what you think the problem is." If it's an issue that can't be fixed with a quick re-do (think waiting six months for a full grow-out or a few weeks for your bangs to come back), the stylist should offer to work on your hair until you're happy. "I tell clients to come in every six weeks for a trim or re-shaping and it's on the house until their hair is where they want it to be," says Liam Carey, senior stylist at Ted Gibson Salon in New York City. How to escape gracefully: The golden rule of awkward requests? You catch more flies with honey. Take a deep breath and remain calm. If you can't handle confronting your stylist face to face, go home and call the salon after you've had a hot bath and/or a glass of wine. Speak directly to your stylist; don't try to go over her head and complain to the manager. "Be direct and keep your comments directed at your hair, not the person cutting it," Carey says. "Don't dredge up bad experiences you've had with other stylists. This is not a therapy session. Getting dramatic and emotional might make you feel better, but it's not going to help your hair, or the person trying to fix it." Example: "This is hard for me to say, but I'm not happy with my (haircut, color, wax, etc.). The problem is… (insert super-specific, but emotionally neutral description of what you want or what went wrong)." Do say: · "It's not as dark as I wanted to go." · "I wanted more layers and texture." · "It's way shorter than I thought it would be." · "It looks slightly uneven." · "My hair feels really fried and dry from the color treatment." · "I thought this style would look good on me, but it doesn't." Don't say: · "I hate it." · "It makes me look fat." · "You said it would be auburn, but it's tangerine." · "I thought it would look more Angelina Jolie's." · "You missed a few spots." Tipping Etiquette Scene: The wash-and-massage treatment you get from the salon assistant is the closest thing you've had to a sexual experience in six months. Does the stylist cover her tip, or should you slip her cash separately? Fact: Stylists do not "tip out" the way servers split tips wi th busboys in a restaurant. And, yes, anyone who provides a service in a salon should be tipped, including the person who shampoos and blows out your hair. We're not talking major bucks; $2-$5 is fair. Gratuity Guide: Good tips won't get you a better haircut or massage, but it will get you VIP treatment, from scoring salon freebies to squeezing in a last-minute appointment. Stylist: 15 to 20 percent Manicurist/Pedicurist: 15 percent (plus $2-$3 for an uber-massage or bonus treatment) Esthetician: 15 percent (plus $2-$3 for free products or extra TLC) Massage therapist: 15 percent (20 percent for in-house visits) Gift certificate? Just because the gift-giver paid for the service doesn't mean a tip was included. Ask how much the service costs when you make the appointment, and plan to throw down a 15 to 20 percent tip. Pinching pennies? There's a big difference between being cheap, and simply not having the bills to spare for a good tip. The fact that you're a loyal customer counts, but compliments go a long way, too. If you're low on dough, drop a thank-you note in the mail, tell the salon manager how much you adore your stylist or manicurist and recommend the place to friends who will drop your name. 9 Supposedly Long-Lasting Lipsticks When Beauty Products Suck 6 Signs of a Clean Nail Salon Subject Subject Subject Message Message Message http://www.google.com /content/package/c_pushy/
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older comments

thanks !!

by jessicaviolett Friday, May 31, 2013 at 03:51PM Report as inappropriate

Thanks

by EricaF123 Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:54AM Report as inappropriate

I needed this!

by NillaButterfly Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 04:32PM Report as inappropriate

Excellent piece. I like the part about the makeovers not being done out of the kindness of their hearts. They're salespeople. Most are not true makeup artists.

by robyne00 Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 06:03AM Report as inappropriate

Excellent etiquette story!

by Lamexicana1 Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 04:51PM Report as inappropriate

Love the tipping etiquette, I always forget about tipping and feel like a feminine cleaning product (starts with a "d"..not sure how review etiquette goes...) when I don't have enough.

by mrselliott08 Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 06:58PM Report as inappropriate

really great tips, I love the variety of situations it covered

by sportimonki13 Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 10:37PM Report as inappropriate

I love this article! It is so important to be honest, know the proper tip amount, and how to return purchases made under a pushy salespersons pressure. Thank you!

by powerwoman033 Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 09:53PM Report as inappropriate

Good tips.

by andyv1217 Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 05:54PM Report as inappropriate

Very helpful, sometimes I don't know if I should speak up or not but I'm definitely going to try and see what happens.

by taryn.romero Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 12:28PM Report as inappropriate

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