Sunday, June 8, 2008

Of mice and perfume

Saturday I was in the mood for sniffing, and I decided to make a quick foray into Sephora and Macy’s. I figured there’d be lots of weekend shoppers to distract the SAs, and I’d be able to sample the testers unmolested. No such luck, of course. The pretty young things at Sephora were like a pack of rabid poodles, cute but scary as they tracked me through the store, offering assistance (with what, I’m not sure) and a free makeover. I realize that the true purpose of this behavior is “loss prevention,” and I can see why that’s a problem given the nature of the shop, but honestly, I’d rather be searched on my way out the door than put up with the make-believe customer service.

Macy’s was even worse. As I walked up to the counter my path was blocked by a motherly woman in her 60s.

“Can I help you?”

“No, thanks. I just want to sample a few things.”

“Oh, we’ve got a new fragrance I’m sure you’d like. It’s called Flowerbomb.”

[For you non-perfume people, Flowerbomb is a) not new; and b) is one of the most god-awful, chemistry-experiment-gone-awry perfumes of the past decade. JMHO, of course.]

I politely declined to sample Flowerbomb. The motherly person faded away, but was quickly replaced by a pretty woman in her 30s with too much makeup on her face and a hair color not found in nature.

“Let me guess—you’re looking for something light.”

“Well, no. I’m kind of a perfume collector. I just want to sniff around and see what’s here.”

Something about that answer clearly rubbed her the wrong way. Her voice took on a definite edge.

“You’re fair, and fair people always want something light.”

“Really? I like a lot of different perfumes, pretty much across the spectrum.”

“Oh.” Sniff. “Well, you’re just different.”

Mee-ow. She turned and departed.

Needless to say, I left the mall empty-handed, and annoyed that I had wasted my time. When I got home, there was a mouse in one of my snazzy, no-kill traps, so I carried him out to the blackberry bramble in the yard to set him free. He was my third capture since I started this campaign of relocation, and like all his predecessors he clung to the door of the trap, grabbing the edge with his little paws, resisting liberation. I finally shook him loose and he disappeared into the thicket.

A little while later I watched one of the neighborhood feral cats ambling across the yard with her kitten, and I wondered if Mr. Mouse would become a meal for them. Highly likely, unless a big black snake gets him first. Is that a better fate than having his spine crushed in a snap trap? Hard to say. A mouse’s lot is not a happy one, any way you look at it.

On the assumption that they are going to wind up as cat food, I think I’ll say a few words to offer all my future trapped varmints to Bast, who is, among other things, the goddess of perfume. Maybe that’ll bring me better luck at the fragrance counter.

Photo of Bast statue from


Perfumeshrine said...

Ah, you have stumbled upon the major block of perfume perusal: the persistent SAs.
I have develloped a technique for bypassing this: you can read it here.

May the goddess of perfume protect you next time! :-)

And PS: what was that silly line about fair people always going for something light? If she had said that something light suited them, I would say that she was going by the dictum of skin chemistry etc etc (also crap, but perpetuated ad infinitum, therefore forgivable). Saying it like that it implied a generalisation about taste and we all know how skewed those are...

chayaruchama said...

Ah, the SA Blight.
I sure hope Bast protects us....

I don't mind ignorance, but TENACIOUS ,perpetual ignorance is hard to condone.

Poor mice, Gracie.
What a conundrum.
[I think I'd take my chances with the black snake...]

Whodoo said...

Wow, Macy's worse than Sephora! I didn't know there was worse than Sephora! I have imagined saying to one of them, "Your persistent interference is the reason most people prefer to shop online."

Whodoo said...

If you want to see some Sephora people go ape-shit, bring your own sample vials as perfumeshrine advises. I almost got arrested, no kidding.

BitterGrace said...

E, I read that post when you first put it up--it's great!--but of course I forgot all that in the heat of battle. The part about taking a basket at Sephora seems especially smart. I'll try to remember next time. And yeah, the fair skin thing was idiotic--especially since she said it in a tone that implied that having light skin was some sort of character failing.

"The SA Blight" What an apt phrase, I. A blight they are--I will never understand why the corporate geniuses don't figure out that an informed sales force would move more product.

R, I so wish I'd had you with me, especially to deal with the harpy at Macy's. Somehow, I feel you would have had a decent comeback. I sure didn't.