The Other Side of the Makeup Counter

My daughter has been looking for a summer job and one day she asked me about my past jobs. I’ve had a lot and we’d be here all day if I told you about all of them. However, I will tell you about one in particular. It’s a job that I loved but was treated horribly at. I’m sure you’re probably asking yourself “How can she love a job she was treated so badly at?” I’ll explain all that.

Disclaimer: I will tell you this now… this is my own personal experience and if you’ve ever worked at a makeup counter you may not have gone through this.

I worked as a floater for all of the make up counters at a department store. I won’t mention which department store but just know it’s a big one! My job was to work at whichever counter needed me for the day. So I had no permanent counter. If someone from Clinique called in I filled in for her. If someone from Estee’ Lauder wanted to go on vacation I took her hours. If Lancôme was having a free gift with purchase and they were swamped I was their girl. Hell I even filled in at the fragrance counter.

I loved working with the different brands and helping customers find the right products for them. I remember one night a mom came in with her 13 yr. old daughter to buy her some Chanel lip-gloss. The daughter clearly wasn’t interested. So the mom asked me to tell the little girl that “anyone can go to a drug store and buy lip gloss but this is Chanel. She’s got to know to buy the best!” Well honey she was preaching to the choir! I love Chanel but do I think that you should teach a child to buy a $30 lip-gloss that she’ll probably lose on the playground? I think not.

As I stated earlier I loved working there among the pretty lipsticks and colorful eye shadows. It was a makeup addict’s paradise. But it was hard to enjoy it for too long. You see when you work at a makeup counter you get your base pay and your commission. The commission is really how you make your money.

Everyone started our really nice but I realized quickly that they were only nice if I wasn’t at their counter that day or they needed me to fill in for them. Things turned real ugly when the girls noticed I knew a lot about makeup and customers liked me. I became their competition. Those girls gave new meaning to bitchy and catty! I would be in middle of helping a customer and another sales girl would jump right in trying to persuade the customer to go with them. A customer could come right up to me directly and tell me what product they want and while I was getting it a girl would come behind with a completely different product trying to get the customer to change her mind and go with her. It was absolutely horrible.

At first I was a little irritated and didn’t do much. Then one night I had had enough after I told one girl in particular “I’ve got this go see if someone else needs help.” After she tried to tell my customer in front of me “oh I’ll help you, if you don’t want her to.” Now customers aren’t stupid. They knew every time what was going on so I never had anyone actually leave with another sales girl. But this night after I was done helping my customer. I went up to the girl and basically explained she needed to mind her own damn business and stop trying to take my customers.
And what she said pissed me off so much I had to walk out to cool off. She said “Well I’ve got bills to pay and I actually make commission unlike you. So I need the sales more than you do!”

You get no dumber than that. For some reason she thought just because I was a floater I made no commission from my sales and for what ever reason she must have thought I lived under a bridge and had no bills.

Either way I decided to stay at the job until we made our move to Florida. I was tired of the disrespect so I stopped working other people’s hours for them and only came in when my manager personally asked me to work. I was the store’s only floater for the makeup department at that time so I imagine a lot of people weren’t happy to miss their time off.

I know this was a very long story but I wanted to share my experience with you. As a reminder, be careful how you treat people. No matter if you know anything about them or not. You may need them one day. Oh and the makeup business can get pretty ugly.


  1. Great share, I've seen that behavior first hand and when I did I decided never to purchase makeup products in that fashion. Treating people poorly is unacceptable to me and I try my best not to support that. Great lesson for your daughter.

    1. Thank you Mari. Its such a shame that adults act like that. Sometimes you expect it from children that don't know any better but adults should know how to act. Thanks for reading and commenting,

  2. LOVE THIS! I can totally relate to this story, since I had a very similar experience. Yes the girls are catty and rude most of the time but sometimes the customers are worse. I've had some horrible experiences with customers who make me want to shake them and ask are you for real or are you pretending to be that dumb. But anyways thank you for sharing that and you're completely right, people do need to be nicer and watch how they talk and treat people.

    -Me And My Mini Me

    1. I know "the customer is always right" but rule that involves the word "always" is already wrong. Customers like to use that to their advantage and it's not right to the people in stores or restaurants that have to cater to them. I have had some really horrible things said to me by customers so I know what you mean. As always thanks for the comment.


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