Friday, 17 April 2009

Stila: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…

There have been a whole slew of blog posts flying about on the Stila sales, some good, some bad. I’ve heard stories of people queuing up for hours to grab stuff, others who’ve hawked literally entire store supplies with the intent of re-selling them off (with ‘service charge’ to boot!) as well as complaints about the counter staff and how pre-order lists were just chucked to one side when new stocks arrived.

I can attest to a few of the areas I mentioned above, having made several trips to a couple of Stila counters over the past week or so. And before any of you start asking, no, I’m not buying them to sell – the items I bought are either for myself, or to be given away.

Despite the bad experiences I heard about how people’s ‘reserved’ stocks were sold off to the buyers, the SA I left my list with DID keep some stuff for me. Granted, it wasn’t everything on my list, but I’m fine with that since it saved me the hassle of having to fight with others to get my stuff. Half of the items were my friend’s, and these four were mine.

Stila Hydrating Finishing Powder (RM60), Contouring Trio (RM40), 2 Lip Glazes in Brown Sugar (RM45 each)

But before I go any further, let me just say that I’ve experienced BOTH ends of the service spectrum. I had a HORRIBLE experience at the Isetan Gardens Stila counter, where the girl was completely CLUELESS. I had gone there with Paris when we first heard of the sale, and picked up a powder for a friend. What ensued was a total MESS – first, the girl tried to sell me refills (RM40) and a case (RM20) separately, when my friend had bought it at the KLCC outlet for RM40 (full compact).

Better yet, when I went back there to complain and exchange the item, she told me that I had two options – to buy the empty case (and waste RM20? I don’t think so) or “just put the refill into any old compact case lor” (wtf? that's not the point!) Totally not bothered to help, until I insisted that I wanted to change it. Finally after speaking nicely to her for about 10 minutes and not getting anywhere, I told her point blank that I wanted to change it, and please speak to the Isetan cashier about how to make the exchange.

She came back telling me another incredulous thing – I could only change it for ONE item that cost MORE than the original item (RM40). As far as I knew, as long as the cost of the replacement met or exceeded the value of the returned item, it didn’t matter how many items I bought. She insisted that this wasn’t the case, and tried to sell me all the items over RM40 (ie. lipglazes in horrible colours, palettes…while the entire time muttering under her breath why couldn’t I just BUY the damn empty case and be done with it. This woman think money free ah?)

In the end after I questioned her AGAIN about the exchange policy, she replied with an exasperated “if you don’t believe me, go ask the cashier yourself”, to which I hauled her along to the cashier counter. Following conversation with the cashier ensued:

Cashier: “Ya, apa hal?” (What’s the matter?)
Me: “Nak check, untuk exchange barang ni, boleh tukar dengan lebih satu barang asalkan jumlah harga lebih daripada harga barang untuk ditukar?” (Want to check, to exchange this item, I can change with more than one item as long as the total value is more than the item exchanged?)
Cashier: “Ya betul” (Yes that’s right)

Guess who ended up looking sheepish? I didn’t bother talking to the SA after that, and just picked out two items to replace the value of the refill foundation. To be fair, she apologised after that, but with a sour look on her face the entire time. What’s more, she was giving me dirty looks behind my back, rolling her eyes and whispering to the other SA. Needless to say, that was the only two trips I made to the Gardens outlet, and I’ve gone to the 1Utama outlet ever since.

For those of you still trawling the Stila counters for stuff, here are some tips which may be helpful:

1. Check the product expiration date BEFORE you pay – this saves a lot of trouble of having to go back to the counter and exchange, especially if they may not have stocks left by the time you go back.
2. Check the product itself BEFORE leaving the counter – the casing may look fine, but what about the inside? There have been cases of palettes coming with cracked pans, so check to see the item is in good condition before you buy it.
3. Be considerate – there are a lot of people wanting to buy stuff, so wait your turn instead of trying to ‘jump queue’. Want first pick at the stock? Go early.
4. Remember, the SAs are only human – this is one area a lot of people forget. The staff are not being paid extra to deal with the hordes of people, and if you think about it, their jobs may not be secure either. So try to be nice instead of throwing a hissy fit over why the eyeshadow colour you want isn’t in stock, why they didn’t call you when new stock came in, or why they didn't manage to get you EVERYTHING on your reserved list - certain things are beyond their control. Of course, if it really is a valid case such as saying no to exchanges on expired stock or wrong prices, then by all means make your point (but counting from 1-10 before saying anything will help!)
5. Do your research – it’s crowded there, and the SAs will most likely not have the time to stand there and answer your questions about “What does this powder do ah?” There are plenty of price lists floating around online too.

And if it helps, I know the Stila counter at Parkson 1 Utama said that there will be stock of palettes coming in today or tomorrow. Good luck, and have a good weekend ahead!

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At 3:00 pm, April 17, 2009 , Anonymous Paris B said...

*claps* hear hear! Great tips for anyone still wanting more Stila or for late comers :) Glad you had a good shopping experience. I still did not pick up anything else other than that Starlight eyeshadow! LOL I'm so good!

At 6:59 pm, April 17, 2009 , Anonymous Joey said...

I shared my Stila SA experience with Plue as well.
Actually you can make the complaint with Isetan customer service, Isetan will take it seriously. I did so a few years back, because the SA being rude.
The Stila SA will never go far with this kind of attitude. I would say most of the counter SA will treat you like a princess, if you going to buy something, otherwise the will not layan you at all.

At 9:32 pm, April 17, 2009 , Blogger 心。葵 @ plue said...

i was at 1U just now. and cuz i was still angry at stila, i din go there to check my stuff again.

now i am feeling stupid.

ugh. maybe i go again tmr? oh god, the long queue.... :(

At 9:41 pm, April 17, 2009 , Blogger Connie De Alwis said...

I s customer in the midst of all the havoc and human flood... still requesting for makeover *blinks blinks* Like wtf??!!

At 11:07 pm, April 17, 2009 , Blogger Askmewhats said...

I'm glad you were able to get those stuffs..gosh! with all the trouble everyone's going through, I'll pull out my hair and go crazy! LOL I'm glad it's all over..or is it??? LOL

At 10:28 am, April 18, 2009 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if the SA at Isetan Gardens was the same person who served me, she was more interested in making herself up than serving me, didn't even say "hi" back to me when I said "hello". She gave one word replies to my questions and when I asked about brushes, all she said was "all out of stock" without bothering to say that if I wanted anything, I could order. Then at Stila Parkson 1U, ordered a few things from Chuisy, the counter mgr and when I checked with her more than a week ago, she said to wait for them to call. Of course that call never came and never will.

At 10:19 pm, April 19, 2009 , Blogger beetrice said...

parisb: haha...but that's only because you already have a lot of Stila stuff! :D

joey: sorry to hear you had a bad experience - but Isetan can only do so much..

plue: if you do go, good luck! :) let me know how it goes k?

connie: oh yes...and some people are actually advising others to do that too!

askmewhats: it finishes on the 30th, actually...LOL...but I think I've gotten most of what I wanted already! :)

anonymous: I've found that gently reminding them about your stuff is probably a better move than waiting for them to call, but it really depends on who you placed your order with..most of them couldn't be bothered when there are people already there wanting to buy it. :(


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