My Saphora Experience

I drug my mom to Saphora yesterday. Saphora is that loud makeup store in JCPenny’s. Or maybe it stands alone where you are, I don’t know.


I don’t know anything about the products that are in Saphora, except for the fact that they’re expensive, and I don’t understand why.

If you’re shopping with my mom, you have to have a reason you’re going to a certain store and it has to be logical. My mom isn’t a shopper. She’s a getin-getout-ter. Staring at pretty things, trying stuff on without the intention of buying it, it’s not her cup of tea.

I told her I was going in to check about this pimple spot treatment thing I heard about while watching YouTube. We stood outside, staring at the outer shelves of Benefit and Tarte makeup, I felt good about myself because I knew a few things about those brands, then stepped inside. And my knowledge hit a dead end.

I stared at the funky nail polish. Then browsed through the brushes. I have decided I need brushes. I keep using my hands or the little sponge things that come with eye shadow and that doesn’t work so well.

But brushes for as cheap as $10 a brush didn’t work very well for me either. I was trying not to wrinkle my nose.

“Can I help you ladies with anything?”

Somehow I had met up with my mom, and a woman with thick straight hair and pronounced eyebrows found us. I was ready to shrug her off – I didn’t like asking questions there – when my mom threw me under the bus.

“Yes, she’s looking for something,” my mom gestured to me, so the woman smiled and refocused her attention in my direction.

“Um. I’m looking for a . .” When it comes to choosing the right word in this case, I struggle. Pimple? Zit? Zit sounded vulgar and gross, “overnight spot treatment for .. blemishes?”

The woman blinked, waiting for me to continue, but that was all I had for her. She hesitated, “well we have a lot of different kinds of those. Were you looking for a specific brand?”

“Um. Well I don’t really know what brand it is. I figured I’d know it when I saw it. You put it on with a q tip and I think it’s orange.”

“The bottle’s orange?”

“No the product.” I knew I was being the customer from hell.

She said she was going to ask the girls in the back. I scanned shelves like crazy for anything that may look familiar so they wouldn’t have to help me. Every time I grabbed a bottle to read the description, I’d knock a different one down in the process. Does this happen to anyone else?

Suddenly three women in black appeared, all discussing which product they thought it was, to the point of ignoring my very presence. One seemed to be more in charge and reached down to pull out a “secret” drawer in the wall and roughly dig through the little boxes until she found the one she wanted, tugged it open, and put the bottle in my hand.

“Is that it? It’s pink, not orange,” she told me.

It wasn’t.

“Um. Oh yeah. That looked like it. . .”

“It’s Kate Spade.”

My mom came beside me, “does Kate Spade sound familiar?”

“Yeah Kate Spade sounds familiar,” I smiled. I was done asking for help finding my imaginary skin product. This was ridiculous.

I pretended to glance over the bottle appreciatively, only to notice it wasn’t an overnight treatment that confirmed this wasn’t what I wanted, but smiled again and thanked them.

My mom took the bottle from me. “This can’t be it. It says to apply it three times a day. You want one that’s only once at night.”

Six pairs of eyes were on me again.

I was forced to say something. “Yeah, it’s supposed to be an overnight spot treatment…”

“For breakouts?” The one in charge asked. Her eyes scanned straight across my face, focusing on the little spots in my complexion. It was obvious since I was standing six inches away from her make-up perfected face.

I shrugged and tried not to look sheepish. “I think I’ll have to look it up online again, so I know exactly what I’m looking for.”

The two new ladies excused themselves, and I was left again with the one with thick straight hair. “Oh did you see it on our site?” She asked me, her interest renewed.

I was trying to get rid of this lady, but she kept asking me questions. I don’t know why. It was obvious I had no idea what I was looking for. I would’ve given up on me a long time ago if I was her.

“Oh no. . I saw it. . .” I was trying to avoid saying this, but it seemed destined. “I saw it in a YouTube video,” I told her.

She told me to maybe look it up on my phone, I said that was a good idea, and she finally left me alone.

This is why I don’t like Saphora. It isn’t smiley, “oh you don’t know what you’re looking for? No worries! Take your time!” It’s insisting attitude followed by nothing, then awkward little judgemental glances before they back away and leave you alone to your stupidity.

I appreciate Walmart a little more. At least they ignore you, so you don’t feel pressured into … anything.

I wandered the skin care section some more. I don’t have really bad skin. But when I heard about a treatment that shrinks pesky zits overnight, I thought that was a very useful thing to have. Especially after last week when I was fighting a monster.

Otherwise, I find the skin care section really boring.

I become overwhelmed very quickly at these kind of stores. I don’t know a lot of the brands. It all becomes a swirl of dirty “tester” pallets and pretty things that are so expensive I’d be afraid to buy them in case I didn’t like them.

And the music is so loud.

I like ULTA a little more. Even though the girls are just as snooty there, even when they don’t know anything (not that I’m a fountain of knowledge, I just know if they keep responding with, “that’s a good question.”). ULTA feels cleaner and you can think. I just wondered if ULTA was better or worse, price wise, to Saphora.

I was using my phone to compare prices, but finally, I realized I actually had a legitimate question.

The lady with the thick straight hair was standing at the counter, but for whatever reason, I approached a different one, with stretched dark eye shadow, and powder pink lips. She seemed nicer. She at least smiled at me and took my question in a good light.

“Do you guys compete with ULTA Beauty?” I asked her. “Price wise?”

I’m not sure if she’s ever been asked this question before. Her answer was a little round-about. She made it sound like the prices are pretty similar, unless one of the stores is having a sale. And she also added that they each sell a variety of different products.

I asked if they sold NYX or It Cosmetics there, she said no. I guess this was why I felt like I didn’t belong there.

My mom, on the other hand, couldn’t believe I asked if ULTA was cheaper. I did, but not in so many words. Hey, I thought that was a good question!

We left, obviously without buying anything.

I just looked it up. Turns out, what I was looking for is called Mario Badescu Drying Lotion.

And no, they don’t sell it at Saphora.



DISCLAIMER: I am in no way trashing Saphora as a whole or people who shop there. I’ll probably shop there too, once I know about products. This has just been my experience with a particular store.

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