Shop Talk

SHOP TALK: A different kind of retail therapy

My (very well-used) Dior Forever Foundation.

Last Thursday, after attending the most fabulous ParTea with Jeanne Beker, I couldn’t quite make myself go back to the office. It was an almost-warm afternoon, which seems to bring out all the stylish people this time of year. Plus, I was in desperate need of a special type of retail therapy — one that I can only find at the Rideau Centre.

Now, I wash my hair with whatever is convenient, cheap, and cruelty-free. Maybe it’s because I read Douglas Coupland’s Shampoo Planet as a teen, but I have always regarded body/hair/skin products with a high level of skepticism. The promises, the long ingredient lists, the fact that pricey potions seem to, at best, fill up precious bathroom space, make me want to just walk away from it all.

But I’m coming around. There have been a couple moments over the last year or so that have made me resent beautification products less — and in order to re-visit these moments and stock up on a few favourite items, I had to make a beeline for the Rideau Centre.

Vitamin E moisture cream. Photo courtesy

First up, The Body Shop. I haven’t been since the Glebe location closed, which meant no Vitamin E cream for almost a year. I just found the gals who worked in that Glebe store so charming, laid-back, and approachable. (I even trusted them with my wedding day makeup.)

So off to the store in the Rideau Centre, where I promptly received a 50% off coupon as part of their Earth Day celebrations. Nice! Things only got better. I bumped into the gal that did my wedding makeup, who now works at the Rideau Centre location. (I know, it shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. The Rideau Centre has such a different vibe that I guess I thought of it as an alternate universe.)

Next up was The Bay — specifically, the Dior counter. About a year ago I met another pleasant salesperson there, a gal who gave me a pretty makeover and invited me back whenever I needed a pick me up. Perhaps above all, she got me to fork over $50+ for foundation. But she was so nice! She honestly exuded a friendliness I did not experience at the other counters.

Sure enough, I met another friendly, hard-working salesperson during my recent Dior visit. I wasn’t browsing 30 seconds before she was by my side. Not only did she hook me up with a new foundation compact, but she convinced me to attend the Ladies First event on Thursday. I still don’t totally understand the concept of these events, but I left feeling satisfied, excited, and shine-free.

My new Dior foundation!

In sum, being friendly works, and if you don’t like approaching people with offers of assistance, you probably shouldn’t be in retail. In return, even the most frugal of shoppers will occasionally make huge mental leaps and open their wallets wider than ever. Call it the mysterious power of retail therapy.

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.