Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I very rarely get a chance to go to my local Nordstrom's perfume counter because I'm usually wrangling a 15-month-old and 7-year-old full time. When I do get a chance, it's with baby in tow or for a few, breathless seconds to myself. I don't often go to buy right away, but to try new releases, smell old favorites, plan my next purchase. I very seldom ask for anything in return. I don't request samples from the SAs, ever. I just like to smell perfume! It's pretty casual.

But the SAs are like sharks there, and that has really turned me off of the whole fragrance counter experience. It's completely awkward and uncomfortable for me to see them power-playing each other for my attention. And when they get it, it's not usually to drop any real knowledge on me about scent, so I end up having to politely wave off whatever they're trying to sell me. (Today was my favorite: "Oh, you like Shalimar? You'd LOVE She-Wood then!" ???)

Anyway, one of the ladies gave me her card a long time ago and I've just happened to purchase things while she was manning the counter. Now, she seems to assume we have some kind of partnership or relationship. And whenever she 'catches' me talking to other SA's in the odd half-hour I get to swing by, she seems frustrated with my disloyalty and gives me this passive-aggressive talking to, about how she was there yesterday, why didn't I come in when she didn't have a meeting? or Jeez, I've been wondering what happened to you. You don't come in here anymore! Or maybe you just come in when I'm not around.

It's completely irritating to me because this is my free time! To do something totally frivolous and fun, when I don't have to be on anyone's schedule. And it's something I can only work in here or there. It's such a cliche, but being a mom is a 24/7 job. I don't get like, a regular break where I can schedule time with this SA. I get stolen hours. I get frantic, last minute rush-throughs. I spend all day considering the every need of two people, I do not feel like being responsible to the woman who sells me perfume. Maybe that's selfish! But that's just it, that's my selfish time. And when someone is trying to mess with it, I get really frustrated and defensive.


This whole rant is totally a oppressed mother rant, isn't it? SIGH. Lame.


  1. I'm almost reassured to hear that somebody else has the same problem with Nordstrom's perfume that I have. Nordstrom has such a reputation for service, but that's emphatically not borne out in the perfume department.

    My solution: Neiman Marcus. If you've got one. You'd think that they'd be more snobby and pushy, but I've always found them to be lovely. Distinctly aware of what I'm wearing - I get a lot more attention in a nice skirt than in grubby jeans - but perfectly nice in any case.

  2. Loved this post. (But if you think Nordstrom's is bad, hang out at the Galeries Lafayette in Paris for a few minutes, where there are more SA's than customers, and seeing as there are always about 100,000 shoppers on hand on any given day, that's saying something.
    I do encounter the occasional really helpful and really knowledgable SA, but generally I've just learned to ignore them all and let them know I'm just not interested in their latest 'recommendations', which are of course 99.9% of the time whatever the latest releases are. They get the drift and I go about my business.
    Love your blog! I do the occasional fragrance post myself; stop by if you get a minute.
    All the best,