Some of you might not know this, but in a former life I was a cosmetics clone. I wore a red skirt and blazer, and worked on the Clarins counter in House of Fraser, Debenhams and Boots.
People are surprised by this information. I would like to think I’m not your normal cosmetics clone, and people are often incredulous that I coped with the monotony of day in day out beauty products. My first boyfriend used to leave me notes when he went to work saying:
“See you later Cosmetic-bot. Have fun colouring in all those wrinkly faces… just another day at the office! (Remember.. no amount of foundation will hide a lady’s stubble) X”
They used to make me laugh, although I always pretended to be mock affronted at the mocking of my serious occupation.
I actually lasted a few years (mainly because I got into the management side fairly quickly and therefore had to do less wrinkly face colouring in and more ordering and targets etc and it paid pretty well) but when I see shows like Michael Macintyre’s stand up, I always find it far funnier than anyone else, because it’s true.
He does this skit about when he goes into the cosmetics department and gets swooped on by the Clarins girls, asking him “what’s your skincare routine?” Hilarious. At cosmetics-bot training camp, you are taught to attack men with vigour, and not ask closed questions. “Do you use cream on your face?” is a no no, as most men will utter “NO!” and run off to the nearest emergency exit. By smiling sweetly and engaging your best open question, you force them to engage with you. And if you flutter your eyelashes in the right way, normally end up making them part with their hard earned cash by purchasing a product that will stay in the back of their cupboard for eternity. I wasn’t very good at forcing men to buy things, simply because I know a few. When they said “what’s the point? I’d never use it?” I think yeah you’re right really. It will just fill up space in your cupboard and your girlfriend will whinge she can’t fit her bath salts in without the door not shutting.
I used to get a free allowance of products, and therefore first boyfriend was forced to use them. When I first met him he was filling in the time between college roofing for his uncle, so he wasn’t the wash your face with anything other than soap and a brillo pad type. By the end of the relationship he was using the entire men’s range, although the moisturiser was being used on his hands. Ah well!
Things that used to annoy me (and reasons why my mind was not right for the job. It did not comply)
- For some reason, the law was tights (some sort of corporal punishment for white legged women) or fake tan. Fake tan and I have never been friends, so tights were the lesser of two evils. Waistband like a boa constrictor or patchy fake tan legs like a giraffe? You decide.
- Lipstick. I am not a lipstick girl. Lip balm, lip gloss (at a push) but not lipstick. It either a) makes me look ridiculous, b) goes all over my face, or c) gets on my teeth and I don’t realise.
- Sense of humour not allowed. In cosmetics departments, they do all sorts of colours of lipstick. I used to wear a different one each day. Coral? Plum? Harlot red? I got pulled aside once for ‘making a mockery’. I assume he meant of my face, but I was simply road showing all the hideous coloured lipsticks on offer! And making my day more amusing.
We used to get forced to stand in front of the counter and hand out fliers to the poor people making their way through the fragrant department on their way to buy more pants or bed linen. When I say fragrant, you could literally slice the air as it was so thick with a plethora of fruity tones and cloying perfumes. The amount of times I’d come home smelling like a whore house and have to take myself straight to bed with a headache, I have lost count of.
So next time you watch a comedian making a joke at the expense of the cosmetics bots, all perfectly coiffed and manicured, think of me, the world’s worst clone EVER.
Have you ever had a job that people are surprised by?
Don’t forget to enter the fancy dress competition! There is a week left and I’ve seen some AMAZING costumes, but the more the merrier!
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