Lipstick Stains and Orange Faces

8 Nov

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!

If you want regular snippets of my mind then please follow on Facebook and Twitter 🙂


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28 Responses to “Lipstick Stains and Orange Faces”

  1. underwhelmer November 8, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Kudos on the post. I feel like I’ve pierced the veil on what goes on in department stores. 🙂
    I always remembered walking through the cosmetics department and being incapacitated by the cloying perfume smell. To this day, I don’t understand how anyone could stand that for 40+ hours a week.
    Oh, and to answer your question, I was a cook at Hooters (real classy, I know) for 3 years in college.

  2. jules November 8, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    people are still surprised that I did beauty therapy at college!!!
    well, I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the age of 18!!!!

    Jules
    http://andsuddenlyisee.wordpress.com
    http://wordshakermag.wordpress.com

  3. Barb November 8, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    I had trouble finding you, but glad I finally did. Thanks for the post, but probably not in the way you were expecting. I’m one of the people who slink by the cosmetics counters thinking all the perfectly-skinned people are praying, “Let her keep moving…there’s nothing we could do for her.” Now I’ll be able to saunter by with a Saloon-girl smirk to my eyes, thinking….”you hate your jobs, too. Hooray…let’s all go get a beer.”

  4. Tilly Bud November 8, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    I sold carpet cleaning. I was so bad, they took me off salary and on to commission. I earned £6.50 one week.

  5. LittleMissVix November 8, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    Hehe I can’t really picture you there but at least you’d be honest, hate it when they say you look fab and you clearly don’t!

  6. jsedney November 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    I was a flower delivery girl for a good year in high school. My car definitely got damaged from 1) falling vases and 2) car accidents with stationary objects. I was fun to make people’s day though!

  7. Marvin the Martian November 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    I’m glad you survived that job!

    “Cosmetics-bot” was not a nice thing for a boyfriend to call you. Teasing is just another form of abuse, I have learned.

  8. nicole November 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    this post reminded me of the classic miss piggy and joan rivers @ the cosmetic counter scene! hilarious!

    my first job was the drive-thru girl at wendy’s old fashioned hamburgers. given my pretentiousness, it surprises the hell out of everyone! 🙂 x

  9. Sam Drury November 8, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Nice blog tinkerama, i feel like a woman all of a sudden – even cracked a bit of shania twain on.

    i like reading your posts ; )

    • tinkerbelle86 November 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

      no day is complete without a bit of Shania!

  10. prenin November 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Funny as always Tinks – I’ve had a string of shitty jobs mostly involving moving heavy items and getting VERY dirty, but my love was programming which I did for around 10 years…

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin.

  11. lifeintheboomerlane November 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    I’m happy to read this, since I usually attach myself to the walls of the store, so as to avoid the middle aisles where there cosmetic girls will grab me by my unpainted lips and suck me into their lair. Good to know they are suffering almost as much as I am. Re surprising job: I was an art class model part time in high school. Depending on who I am speaking to, I mght or might not reveal that it was a portrait class, not a nude nodel class.

  12. susielindau November 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Remember the photo of the pink upper lip and the purple lower lip? I am still waiting for that trend!
    Funny post!

  13. silverstardust November 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    And many make-up graduates think it’s a job come true! Ha, I didn’t even get that far 😀

    Nicely written.

  14. mud2pump November 8, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    Let’s have a world’s worst cosmetics bot-off. I totally remember the open-ended questions!! One time I was demoing a no-rinse face cleanser on a man with a cotton swab and the cotton got ALL over his face because of his scruffy beard!! Oooops, this girl didn’t think about that! How are guys supposed to use cotton swabs on their faces?

  15. Dine With Pat November 8, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Great post! Back in the days before it was totally computerized, I was a health insurance claims processor, and probably the worst ever. I would reimburse people for noncovered treatment if I felt the company should have covered it. Now that I think about it, I was like Occupy Big Insurance before its time! These days, people are surprised when they learn that I’m a restaurant critic. I’m pretty surprised, too, that I get paid to eat!! Thanks, Tink, (if I can call you that), for liking my Fakesgiving post.

  16. Lucius Somesuch November 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    Hmm. . . I would’ve thought they’d be thrilled to have a “bot” gamely braving all the mad shades for display. A living advert!

    There’s something intriguing about a girl in lavender lipstick . . .

  17. Jim Brickett November 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    I love the images and the insight is cool. Your writing draws me in.

  18. barkinginthedark November 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    how about getting spritzed by the perfume spritzer-bots? not a fan. continue…

  19. Shonnie November 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    No .. not really, my dad had an unusal one. he was an undertaker’s assistant … doesn’t that make you think of Dracula’s assistant?? Oh … well … it does me. 🙂

  20. youngamericanwisdom.com November 9, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    My first job out of college was for Jenny Craig weight loss programs. 😦
    I always avoid the make-up counter girls. I cringe seeing them pimp themselves out there. I’m glad you survived. How did you ever deal with the constant smell of perfume?

  21. therealsharon November 10, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    I also hate lipstick and prefer lip gloss or balm instead! 🙂

  22. Megan November 11, 2011 at 1:51 am #

    Soooooo not a lipstick gal. Have never found a color I wear well, so I don’t! Tinted gloss, now that’s a whole other story. LOVE it and couldn’t live with out it. In fact it’d be one of 5 things I’d take with me if I had to go to a deserted island.

  23. fortyoneplease November 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    For a short period of time, I worked as a clown! I had a fat suit and a huge head with red curls and a tiny hat on top. I could see through the mouth of it… Not my strongest career moment. But it definitely raises an eyebrow or two every time when mentioned!

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