Asian Girl Problem #27: Snake-lotion Salesmen

The skincare industry is ruthless. I don’t know if it’s a prerequisite for its salespeople to be uppity and insulting, or if I just have bad luck. The first time I bought any serious powder was in college, at the Clinique counter in a shop next to campus. Instead of educating me, the lady brushed me off and acted as if it was my fault I was inexperienced. But I’m low maintenance and I like their product design, so continued to buy their products for a couple years until I switched to Bare Minerals.

Maybe it’s because I don’t use enough makeup to become a regular BM customer, or because I ask stupid questions like “Do I have to buy the special brush? Is it that different from applying it with my fingers?” but they’ve never given me the time of day either.

I think the beauty counter is the most intimidating place for a woman to approach. It’s not a huge taboo to comment on a woman’s skin or makeup, yet they seem to prey on insecurity. You’re either not wearing enough, too much, or the wrong kind. The only time you might be in the clear is if you are wearing their product, head to toe. Seriously, sometimes they don’t even look at me before diagnosing me with a skin condition. Who are these people?

As I was leaving work the other day, I experienced a new level of salesmanship. This high-end store called Orogold had opened on our street, and at any given time of day, they had a cute little European man standing at the door, looking for women. They would always start the conversation with “Where are you from?” which is just a brilliant technique. It opens conversation, especially with wide-eyed tourists and flatters vain women. After managing to dodge these guys several times that day, I gave in and accepted the gold gift bag he was waving at me. Inside were two lotion samples for their best-selling product.

Not as pretty as Clinique and much more $$$. Here’s a tip: if you’re selling good skin, let your model show her face.

It’s a nice change to talk to a prepubescent boy than an abusive lady, and I’m sure Orogold considers that when hiring. Though it was uncomfortable talking about my (lack of) skin regime with a boy prettier than me, I humored him while took my hand captive and rubbed layers of different product on it. As he kept rubbing, a layer of dirty, flaky crap started coming off my skin. Apparently, this was all the dirt on my body that nothing except this magic lotion could take off. Personally, I’m convinced most of the crap was in the lotion he applied in the first place.

“Did you not shower this morning?” he asked with a chuckle. I would’ve been offended, but his execution was so unbelievable–like someone was forcing him to use that sales tactic, that I just said “I did!” and let him continue to have his way with my hand.

I can only imagine how annoying it will be when I have spots and lines to hide. Thank god for online shopping.

I originally meant to write about skin lightening creams. To be continued!


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