I am a MAC makeup fan. Have been since my early 20’s and I guess I will continue to be one as they have my skin colour shade, good products and I am too lazy to change brand.
However, during the last 10 years living in the UAE, being served at a MAC store or counter has been beyond excruciatingly painful.
Talking to friends, acquaintances and even a manager from a major department store, everyone dislikes going to MAC in the UAE. If they can postpone buying their makeup until they fly out of the country they will.
I am an easy customer for the MAC ladies. I buy the same waterproof liquid eyeliner every 2 months and any waterproof mascara which is black and in stock. In addition I will use my 6 empty containers to get a new Odyssey Lipstick every 2 months. They don’t even have to use the till to process the free lipstick. Asking them to give me my free lipstick in exchange for recycling my containers is the most awful thing to ask the MAC ladies . They will tut, scowl and puff around getting that folder out for me to sign.
Occasionally I go off script. When I have been in London or other countries, I have asked the assistants to randomly choose me a new lipstick or eyeshadow colour to be my new favourite. They always choose amazing shades which I use for ages (Odyssey lipstick came into my life when I asked a lady in MAC London to choose a colour for me). I tried this request a few times in the UAE stores – the response would usually be “I don’t know what you like, you should choose the colour”. Yep – [sigh]
Most of you ladies may be reading the above thinking, hey that’s normal here. However I recently saw incompetence of such high proportions that I have had to vent in this blog today.
I have been using this tinted foundation for a few years. It’s light, matches my skin colour and covers the blemishes.
I ran out in July. As I wasn’t leaving the country until mid August, I braced myself and went to the MAC store in Mall of Emirates. The store was empty, there was no one there but me. The MAC lady would not serve me until I went and stood next to her (very closely). I showed her the above picture and gave her my colour. The response was as follows:
MAC – “We don’t have this in stock”.
Me – “Can you check your cupboards just in case”
MAC – [Scowl and tut] – “OK” [rummages in one cupboard]
“No it’s out of stock”
Me – “When will you get more in stock?”
MAC – “I don’t know. We get shipments every day.”
Me – “Can you take my details, order the colour and let me know when it arrives so I can collect it”.
MAC – “No. We don’t know what will arrive”.
Me – [sigh]. “OK thanks bye.”
The same situation happened in FOUR out of FIVE other MAC stores. In the Mercato store, the lady asked me for my details (I didn’t suggest it to her as I had lost the will to live so was surprised by the initiative taken) and told me she would call me as soon as it arrived. She was exceptionally helpful. But I never got a call.
I did complain about the attitude at the Mall of Emirates branch to someone not from MAC. A MAC Manager called a few days later but I was just about to watch a movie. I asked her to call me back. She never did.
Anyway I finally gave up until I went to Terminal 3 Dubai Airport in mid August (so 6 weeks later). At the airport, it may be busy, but I always seem to be served (most probably as I know what I want and I ask, pay and leave). I didn’t have much hope for getting my foundation but thought I would ask.
Me – “Hi do you have this foundation [shows photo]
MAC lady – “It’s been discontinued”
Me – “How long ago?”
MAC lady – “About 3 months ago. There are 2 new alternatives. This one (see below) is the closest to what you had and a similar price”.
Me – “Perfect, I will get that in my colour”
MAC lady – [tests the colour on my hand, finds the foundation and organises for me to pay for it].
Tell me, how did all those other MAC Ladies not know that this item had been discontinued for 1-2 months when I went to see them? Do they not have product updates? Staff meetings? Do they not think it’s weird if one major product (which a lot of my friends use so it can’t be a rare item) has stopped appearing in their store?? Why did it require me to go to the airport to get some clarification on my foundation and get something for me to slap on my face?!!??!
It shouldn’t be an ordeal to get a product. I am a loyal fan (you can see by the number of empty containers I have at home for recycling). But even if i was not a loyal fan all of us should be treated properly as customers. This is a global brand and they must have the same training globally – I would assume.
To put this more into context – when I went back to the UK, I went to the MAC in Selfridges in London. This is one of the most busiest MAC’s I have seen in my travels globally. Usually it is so busy I don’t bother going to the stand and go to Carnaby Street, but I thought as I was there I would brave the crowds. I got served by newbie girl, who needed help from her manager, but who served me quickly. I had smiles from 3 other assistants whilst I was waiting for my products and the lady at the till had a proper conversation with me!! That is 5 assistants at MAC being nice to me. It would be a miracle if even one smiled at me in any of the UAE branches. Plus I got the products I wanted without any attitude and a proper explanation about them.
I have luckily stocked up for a few months to ensure that I do not have to purchase anything from the UAE branches for long time. But I shouldn’t have to do that. I should be able to go into this global brand store and be served properly with knowledgeable assistants who do not give attitude to the customer.
If you have any suggestions on how we can start being treated as customers (paying as well) in their stores, please leave a comment. If you are MAC please please please can you train your staff here to be nice to the customers?
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