What is your least favorite part about buying a perfume?

is_this_a_phase

Basenotes Member
Dec 27, 2021
Isn't that what the SA is for though, LOL?
does SA mean sales associate....i'd rather not ask them about the top middle and base notes of every perfume...and sometimes i don't even know what i'm looking for and instead of smelling a whole bunch of perfumes and getting fatigued i can just look at the notes and narrow it down that way a bit (it would def be easier than having an SA? do all that)
 
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Jul 14, 2017
Love browsing and taking my time smelling/trying new frags on paper, then skin if intrigued. Detest SAs that stick to me like glue even after I’ve explained that I’m happy to explore on my own. I have exited many stores because a SA wouldn’t let me be/applied pressure. The best is when they approach, and then retreat with a simple “I’ll be right over there. Let me know if you need anything”.
 

FiveoaksBouquet

Known to SAs
Basenotes Plus
Jul 16, 2004
does SA mean sales associate....i'd rather not ask them about the top middle and base notes of every perfume...and sometimes i don't even know what i'm looking for and instead of smelling a whole bunch of perfumes and getting fatigued i can just look at the story (it would def be easier than having an SA? do all that)

Guerlain used to have a boutique in Montréal in which was a place to sit down and sniff perfumes. They had a notebook with all the perfumes and their descriptions that customers could leaf through. There were a couple of other times (can’t remember exactly) when salespeople had a book with product information to check notes or check for personal allergens. Those booklets were provided by the perfume house. I doubt that a store would be equipped to provide the notes for all the fragrances they sell but some SAs may have that information from the house they represent.
 

purecaramel

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Nov 9, 2013
Love browsing and taking my time smelling/trying new frags on paper, then skin if intrigued. Detest SAs that stick to me like glue even after I’ve explained that I’m happy to explore on my own. I have exited many stores because a SA wouldn’t let me be/applied pressure. The best is when they approach, and then retreat with a simple “I’ll be right over there. Let me know if you need
I have found that, as a Basenoter, I challenge the knowledge and control the conversation. Often I set the Stage by politely asking and What are wearing today? And what scents do youprefer.
Once an SA is able to recognize my knowledge they either back away or engage in a fencing match.
Yes, flirting is part of the game.
My favourite SA is a young Russian Tailoress who ignores my nonsense, takes the offence and is
very quick to say if something I am looking at doesn't suit me. She is not afraid to say. "No, you are too Fat" and qualifies her bossiness by saying " Pardon my forthright Russian manner" directs me to appropriate items.
She can sell me on anything!
I daren't enter the shop and engage with another Salesperson, Mostly Male, otherwise face her Russian Scorpion tail.
In any case it pays to engage with SA's. The best will put you on their Sales List, giving heads up on upcoming Sales and invitations to Seminars.
 
Jul 14, 2017
Hahahaaaa….purecaramel you made me laugh picturing your Russian SA giving you the business if you strayed to another individual for help! I know I personally wouldn’t respond well to that style of approach. However, well done you for establishing a relationship that is obviously mutually beneficial!
 

JBHoren

I *am* smiling
Apr 25, 2007
I want to hear your thoughts about your most least favorite part about the perfume-buying process?
There are three parts that I find difficult (in workflow sequence):
  1. Deciding to spend the money (regardless of whether it's a sample, a decant, or a full bottle)
  2. Waiting for notification that it's shipped (I make all my purchases on-line)
  3. Waiting for it to arrive (even with tracking numbers, it's a constant source of concern)
In terms of "least favorite," it's #2, followed by #3, then #1. Especially #2 (it's where the "instant gratification takes too long" bug bites me) — doesn't matter if I place an order at 2AM... goddammit, I want that 5ml decant packaged and shipped first thing in the morning! :)
 

PrinceRF

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 3, 2020
When buying in person, it bothers me when sales associates shove a lot of different perfumes onto me to try, whether or not I'm interested in smelling them. I'd like to be left alone to pick up a bottle of anything that stands out to me and sample at my own pace, with a sales associate close enough to be ready if I should have a question.
 

ImaFedec

Basenotes Dependent
Sep 12, 2019
If I buy in stores:
I don't mind a sales assistant offering me help or guidance, but I hate when it seems obligatory. There are stores (especially niche) that don't let you discover for yourself and I feel trapped or even guilty, knowing I will first try before buy (and thus leave the store empty-handed). Obviously, some sale assistant are better than other in this, so it is a mixed experience.

Online:
Entering my bank detail and proceeding to the payment. It is not even the fact that I have put money in something not really essential. It is more about the fact that the search is done and the idea that it was maybe not a good idea (maybe there are other better in that category? Perhaps I could have found cheaper somewhere else? Now what?). This is mainly because I buy 4 bottles a year, at most.
 

CompassRose

Basenotes Junkie
Nov 30, 2012
Testing. For me, most testing ranges from disappointing to actively uncomfortable; no matter how perfumes are described, I can never predict what weird nasty thing they'll do on my skin, and the threat of an allergic and/or migraine reaction is always there. Perfume counters are more or less horrible experiences, breathingwise, and ordering testers online is so! expensive! It always feels like such a waste.

I have, however, really enjoyed the occasions when I've dealt with sales associates determined to pin me into a gender box. Especially if I've gone into wherever it was with a specific goal of buying something they really don't think I should be buying, given their perceptions of my gender. Doesn't happen so much now that I'm old and very visibly GNC (and, probably, people are more conscious of avoiding those kinds of assumptions), but it used to be fairly frequent.
 

ScentSensei

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 21, 2020
Least favorite part is waiting to receive it after ordering it online...the anticipation!
Agreed, since I've only bought online...now that I work I have bottles shipped to my work so they don't sit on my porch for some one to snag. I hate when they get delayed and I have to wait through my days off until my store is open again. That just means another couple of days for the package to get thrown around and potentially lost.
 

ScentSensei

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 21, 2020
If I buy in stores:
I don't mind a sales assistant offering me help or guidance, but I hate when it seems obligatory. There are stores (especially niche) that don't let you discover for yourself and I feel trapped or even guilty, knowing I will first try before buy (and thus leave the store empty-handed). Obviously, some sale assistant are better than other in this, so it is a mixed experience.

Online:
Entering my bank detail and proceeding to the payment. It is not even the fact that I have put money in something not really essential. It is more about the fact that the search is done and the idea that it was maybe not a good idea (maybe there are other better in that category? Perhaps I could have found cheaper somewhere else? Now what?). This is mainly because I buy 4 bottles a year, at most.


My online purchases are researched and curated but not experienced until arrival so the opportunity to try before buying bcomes a good excuse to buy a bottle I don't need. I look forward to a post pandemic trip to a local fragrance counter with the goal of walking out with a purchase and no pretenses as to what it will be. Hopefully the surprise of what I end up bringing home given choices ends up being worth trusting my nose in a mall type environment.
 
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is_this_a_phase

Basenotes Member
Dec 27, 2021
Agreed, since I've only bought online...now that I work I have bottles shipped to my work so they don't sit on my porch for some one to snag. I hate when they get delayed and I have to wait through my days off until my store is open again. That just means another couple of days for the package to get thrown around and potentially lost.
how do you decide on a perfume if you're buying only online?
 

is_this_a_phase

Basenotes Member
Dec 27, 2021
It's interesting to agree with a lot of the comments about SA's at perfume counters. Technically a good SA should barely come across as such; they should be able to engage you in conversation and make you feel like you are making your own decisions as they deftly steer you with leading questions and entertaining information. I'm a little touchy about the topic since I'm essentially doing the same thing, only with interior design(flooring, tile, fabrics, fixtures, furniture, etc...). I have to be very good at building rapport, asking the right questions, and presenting products and ideas individually tailored to the client. Selling isn't simply figuring out what to present a client, it's being able to figure out HOW to present it. Its one thing to present features and benefits, adding the impact of a 'grabber' - using what you know about the person to paint a positive picture of how the product will be impactful, how it's features and benefits will translate into performance.
the problem for me is that i don't know what i want...i'm just getting into it....so i need to sample
 

ScentSensei

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 21, 2020
the problem for me is that i don't know what i want...i'm just getting into it....so i need to sample
I get that. I think relying on buy before you try does mean the fragrances are in a way shaping a person's taste since I can attest that once I invest money blindly into a fragrance I will put some effort into liking and 'understanding' a scent before giving up on it(looking right at ya Zino).
 

silverdragonfly

Basenotes Member
Oct 2, 2006
Being told by sales assistants, or it's implied, that older fragrances are out and the new stuff is in so I should go that route. Being lied to by sales associates who want to make sales. The let down of a blind buy, often online, after reading reviews and it ends up being not all that. An online buy where the scent has not been stored properly and ends up smelling off and I'm stuck with it. That's the worst!
 

Hessian

Basenotes Member
Jul 16, 2021
When buying in person, it bothers me when sales associates shove a lot of different perfumes onto me to try, whether or not I'm interested in smelling them. I'd like to be left alone to pick up a bottle of anything that stands out to me and sample at my own pace, with a sales associate close enough to be ready if I should have a question.
Agreed, it is nice to just be left alone to browse and sniff with the knowledge there is assistance available if needed.

Some places the SAs can be way too forward (I've literally been spritzed without asking on a few occasions at Macy's).

Consistently good experiences at Neiman Marcus, and they have fantastic selection.

These observations could be idiosyncratic to me/my experience obviously. That said, it's obviously not a major complaint, I don't hold it against SAs in the least, I understand it is a part of their job and they don't know I just want to be left alone.
 

Scentologist

Basenotes Institution
Apr 17, 2007
I have been bothered to the point where I couldn't be alone in my thoughts so agree its nice to be left alone until someone is needed, but many counters nowadays in department stores don't even leave the testers or testing cards out. This forces premature sales person assistance. Other than that, I just hope not to have buyers remorse and truly love it. If I had to add one more, I wished the sales associate would gage the shoppers experience and knowledge first. Had a department store SA tell me what I was sniffing is what they call "niche". My intelligence could have been insulted, but I chuckled instead.
 

Adonna

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
May 20, 2010
I love the search
I love the test
I don't mind paying for what I want
I enjoy buying in person or online.
I love the wait, something to look forward to.

I cannot stand shopping in department stores for perfume, due to the sales associates, and the 'gauntlet' style beauty departments. "hey Big Spender' comes to mind...........
You know it's bad when I tell them my name is 'Charity Hope Valentine', I'm being a smart ass and you need to drag me out of there before it gets ugly. --- howzaboutitpalzy?....
a~~
 

baklavaRuzh

Super Member
Sep 3, 2022
I don't like the store experience, unless there's enough time available with someone passionate and knowledgeable about what they are selling. Shopping online is a more pleasant experience than sampling in a drug store or something similar.

Since the endless lockodwns I also feel less tolerant of hanging around in department stores in general.
 

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