If you walk into a restaurant, it shouldn't be too much trouble to ask what the ingredients are in a dish you want to eat. If the waiter doesn't know, ask the chef. But always be as thorough with knowing what you're putting inside of your body as you would know what's going on your body, especially if you're allergic to any fragrances.
Department stores may charge more for a fragrance. Sometimes outlet stores have better deals than other popular discount retail locations. But before you purchase any fragrance, research the top notes, middle notes and base notes in the product if your skin is sensitive. If you're looking for a perfume and even the manufacturer's website doesn't list the notes on the fragrance, use at your own risk. (For the animal friendly, it's generally a good idea to find out what the fragrances were tested on, too, to make sure you're purchasing cruelty-free perfume.)
However, sometimes outlet stores and department stores sell products that they really don't have a clue about nor any interest in finding out. One recent incident of that was a shopping experience at Perfume Outlet in Lincolnwood Town Center mall in Lincolnwood, Ill. The perfume rep had no problem racing with customers to snatch up test bottles, whipping out spray sheets and spraying skin like a pro. Coffee bottles were toted around like salt on a table.
But a simple request about what were the notes in the perfume was met with, "What are notes? We don't have notes."
After explaining to the rep that fragrances have top notes, middle notes and base notes, her response was, "We don't do all that. You come in. You spray it. You like the way it smells. You buy it."
And definitely don't bother to call later and ask the same question. The manager and the reps both refused to even glance at the box to see if the notes were included.
And many customers may think this is no big deal, and later on wonder why their skin is full of rashes. On top of the horrible customer service and the (surprising) astonishment when I wrote down the names of the fragrances and chose to purchase them online instead, in retrospect it's easy to believe that in an outlet store full of perfumes and colognes that it's probably not a priority to become familiar with each fragrance. But when perfume representatives don't know or care about the display fragrances that have tester bottles on a main counter with for sale signs on them, run out the door.
Not only is this a sign that refunds are probably not common, but it'll be that much more difficult to trace the source of any skin issues from the fragrances. If you buy a fragrance solely from the smell without knowing the brand name, the notes or even much about the store, at least know the return policy.
And if all else fails and this outlet perfume factory is that appealing, read everything you can about the perfume before buying it. Come prepared. So even if the perfume rep thinks a "note" is a piece of paper at least you know what you're putting on your skin.
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