How much assistance do you need when buying a lipstick? A tale of a marketing tactic FAIL

By Nancy Collisson

Girlie shopping in Dubai for many consists primarily of running gauntlets of displays guarded by ubiquitous pods of cartoonishly fair-and-lovelied, red-lipped, false-eyelashed, missilesqued Filipinas home in on targets to uniformly whine Hello Madaaaam! Can I help youuuu? Is there something special you’re looking forrrr?

Sephora, Paris Gallery, Carrefour cosmetics section, LaSenza, Victoria’s Secret, etcetera. You’re all guilty.

The tolerant among us feign gratitude: No thanks, ladies. I’m good. The wiser order online.

One wonders whether compulsion, coercion or commission drives these obsequious, sycophantic, and therefore highly execrable salespeople to employ this girlilla marketing tactic.

They must imagine that deciding between raspberry heat or tangerine sex lip gloss is more complicated than pondering whether to get a brain tumor removed upon the advice of a team of oncologists – because nobody gets as much advice from a team of cancer specialists as they’ll get about the weighty selection of a brand of 29-dirham nail polish from a gaggle of Filipinas in Dubai. 

Nope, I respond, I guess I’ll tough this out by myself, ladies.

In other words, GET LOST!

Musketeers in the business of pushing perfume ought consider the stinky situation they put shoppers in, as well.

They’re the ones who orchestrate the Unwelcoming Committee of five who stand as an impenetrable floral force field insisting we extend our wrists to receive their sacred spritz before we’re given entry unto an overwhelming wonderland of scents arranged in glass shelf upon glass shelf lined with bottles cleverly designed to compete for our visual attention in shapes like bustiers or lips or even household cleanser.

While happily conjuring the expression of delight on my mother’s face upon opening a parcel containing the darling bottle of L’Air du Temps that I cradle in my hands, imagining her twisting open its tiny cap of a crystalline bird in flight, do I really seem like I just might want to have my precious thoughts crudely interrupted by Bambi or Aurora whining Madaaaam! Poisonnnn?


And then panties and bras. Yes! I must need help there! Bambi and Mariquet surely know how I’d like to set off my torso with a bum wrap or glamorous contraption of elastic, lace, and wire. Yes, Team Filipina surely know better than I the degree of lift I will get wearing this, how useful I will find something magenta and black like this, thongs rather than bikinis like these because, well, there Ethel and Cecelia are, at every tiny bit station, beside me to guide me, announcing Madaaaam! Buy three, get one free!


Two stacks of baskets, one gray, one black, at the store entry. Gray means: Just looking, so NO thank you!; black means: Help!

Shopping is supposed to be the coolest way to spend time in the hottest city on earth. Let’s make it the least irritating.


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