The Inside Job

In-house beauty and fashion sales. What an event to be a part of. In my time, I’ve organised quite a few and yet each time, they amaze me. Let me draw you an image of what it’s like…

You walk into the office. Every woman you see is immaculately ‘put together’, whether she is going for the prim and proper look, bohemian style or in-your-face trends, the process of her morning decision is evident. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the guys (who you can smell a mile away as they drown in after shave). An email is sent out stating that there will be a sale from the beauty and fashion cupboards to raise money for charity, with all items ranging in price from 50p to £100. The time is given and suddenly, the heat is on. The room which is normally filled with the tap tap tapping of key boards is oddly quiet and you can feel everyone’s eyes on you as you choose what your department is willing to part with.

As the time draws closer, a line grows outside of wherever you have decided to set up and those waiting moan and groan about the people (normally Editors) who get the first pick of the bunch. Ten minutes to go until the doors are open or the rope is taken away (yes, it is so intense that we have to rope off the area)  and the women who once looked immaculately dressed have wiped their makeup off, their shoes are on the floor… some have even started to unbutton their blouses, ready to fight their way to a bargain. The poor guys have their girlfriends screaming down the phone as they jot the names of products and brands nervously on a piece of scrap paper.

Sometimes I feel like I should have one of those starter guns.

The women are in position and BANG, they’re off. No longer friends, no longer colleagues, everyone is pushing past everyone else. Someone eagerly awaits another to realise they are too big for those J Brand jeans. Eyeshadows are dropped on the floor and crushed, lipsticks are smeared over a million hands and nail varnish is all over the table. I can never decide whether it’s more like a jungle or play school and I’m sure I constantly look puzzled as I watch them scramble.

But the beauty of it (pardon the pun) comes when it’s time to pay. It always go something like this…

“Hi, that will be £2 for the Kerastase shampoo and  £1 for the Dior moisturizer”

“Really? £2 for shampoo?! I can buy cheaper shampoo at my local supermarket. I thought the shampoos were meant to be 50p”

“Yeah… but that’s the new Kerastase shampoo that’s not on the market yet and it’s normally £30”

“Well I don’t need to pay £30 for shampoo. I wont take that one”

– and she walks away, having convinced herself that she was actually paying £30 for the shampoo, not £2 for a great £30 bottle of shampoo. Ugh. Frustrating.

Some people walk away with a goody bag full of Chanel, Dior, Aveda, Givenchy, Philip Kingsley, Perricone MD, La Prairie and Clinique and might have had to pay £2 for each product which inevitably leads to their complaint that they went over their £5 budget. It’s absolutely hilarious and thrilling to watch.

There is one specific memory that I will cherish that involved the new Fendi Chameleon. The price was somehow bartered down from £120 to £80… keep in mind that in store it’s £1,500+. What a legend she was. Would it be weird to invite her along to all of my shopping trips???

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