Whirling Dervish Sales Associates – perfume sample hell

Visiting the Perfume Counter is sometimes like entering another plane of existence or perfume sample hell. Either they completely ignore you while busy with the CCX customer or talk on the phone with their BFF Jodee, or they pounce on you like raw meat that just got tossed into the lion’s cage.

There used to be a great SA at my local Sak’s perfume counter, Mi, but of course, they bumped her upstairs to Armani women’s clothing because she was so good, and her replacement is, well, entertaining and a little manic. Every time I go to that counter now, she doesn’t exactly pounce, but she just starts whirling around the counter like someone just wound her up and set her to spinning. She picks up a perfume sample card, brings out some random scent, and sprays it and tosses it at me, moves on to the next one, card, spray, toss. I get dizzy watching her, and the feedback she gets from me does not impact her movement much, except like when you poke your finger at a top, it may change direction a bit, but that is all. My usual, “I have that, I’ve tried that, I hate that, no, not that crap again, please put down the card and the sprayer and step away from the counter” just fall like raindrops in the desert — quickly absorbed, with no meaninful impact.

She blithely continues whirling and tossing, and I just decide which I want to sample on my skin (this whole card thing just baffles me — how do you know if you will buy something from a scented card? This is just one step up from buying from a magazine sniff strip) and I wait until she has fluttered past in a slowing frenzy and ask her to please ring up whatever it is I’ve decided on, or I just slink away while she continues the dance like a ballerina in a slowing music box. 

Why is it you can’t buy makeup with your husband? My husband is a great shopper, hardly ever complains, actually likes to shop for most things, but once we get to the mascara and blush and other potions, his eyes glaze over, I feel the pressure and cannot relax and just enjoy the whole makeup-buying experience at all. Do they just not want to know? He won’t watch me put on makeup either. These are the things that trouble my peaceful existence.

Frederic Malle Noir Epices — I know there are some huge fans of this Malle, but I don’t know if the spices got too dark or what. I’ve wanted to love it, but I put this on and in 10 minutes my head hurts, all I can smell is the darkness in this perfume and no spice at all. But what a name!! The name makes me think of long, spice-scented nights in the desert.

Le Labo — I got three of these today in the mail, Ciste 18, Fleur D’Oranger 27, Vetiver 46 and a sample of Rose 31. Lord, these are cuteness in a bottle. Two are stunners right out of the bottle, and the other two I’m not sure of yet.

Perfume sample of perfumes mentioned available at Surrender to Chance.


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  • Patty says:

    Hee hee :d Not telling yet, tune in tomorrow!

  • violetnoir says:

    Whoa-oa-oa there, sweetheart! You’ve got us all with our panties in a bunch! Which ones did you love????

    We’re waiting…:-w


  • Victoria says:

    I cannot wait to hear more on Le Labo!

  • Patty says:

    More on which Le Labo I liked tomorrow.

    SAs, gack, the good ones are gold, and the bad ones just make you cringe.

  • Patty says:

    March, rat money, you think? I was thinking more just overwhelming. There’s a little part of it I like, but it’s just toooo much for my poor sensitive nose. 🙂

  • Marina says:

    Which 2 Le Labos did you like?

    My DH was shopping for perfume the other day and was later complaining that he was treated as a 3 year old child. The SA seemed not to be able to believe that the things his wife put on the wishlist really were the thing the said wife wanted. For example, she told him that Coco was “too strong”. Poor DH retorted with, Believe me, my wife knows exactly what she wants, she has a perfume blog! (I don’t think the woman knew what a blog was).
    Oh, and the other thing the SA said was that Terre d’Hermes…was discontinued . Bwah ha ha.

  • March says:

    That’s hilarious. There’s one SA here at Nordstrom that I like, but they don’t have the really high-end juice, and the ones at Saks and NM are either psycho or the prototypical perfume harridans.

    Malle Noir Epices? Two words: rat money. Going to go try it again just to reconfirm, though, because I Like Pain.