Only problem with L’Oréal’s Visible Lift makeup? It doesn’t come out of the bottle.
I recently read an article in the National Post entitled, “How silently enraged consumers are hurting Canada’s businesses.” Hollie Shaw, the author of the article, points out that despite the fact that Canadians spend a lot of time online and therefore presumably understand the power of online communication, we seem to be loath to use the power of digital media to complain when we have bad experiences with retailers and service providers. She presumes it’s because we are too polite.
It is true that until Justin Trudeau came along, the international image of the Canadian has been almost exclusively associated with people saying “Sorry.” I can think of worse postures with which to be associated, but despite my Canadianness, it is not in my nature to keep my mouth shut when I’m pissed off about something (hence the title of this blog). But since Ms. Shaw has convinced me that it is actually helpful to manufacturers and retailers to get negative feedback on their products so that they can make improvements, today I am aiming my verbal artillery at a situation that has been driving me crazy for some time now. This is it: When you buy a bottle of L’Oréal’s “Visible Lift Age-Defying Makeup,” the dispenser stops pumping out the product when the bottle’s still at least half full. I have tried to explain this to l’Oréal directly, but it seems they don’t really give a damn.
Since I liked the actual product in this bottle, I have bought it more than once, thinking that the problem might have been a fluke. In fact, I’ve bought it more than twice. Call me a slow learner if you will, but I’m a sucker for the term “age defying.” However, I have finally learned my lesson. Each time I have purchased this product, the dispenser has stopped pumping anything out when there is still lots left in the bottle. This is because the makeup is so thick that it sticks to the inside of the bottle and does not settle to the bottom. Since the sucking end of the tube that is attached to the pump is at the bottom of the bottle, it stops working as soon as it has emptied out the area immediately around it. So after using about 1/3 of the content, you have to buy another bottle. This is a very clever packaging ploy on the part of L’Oréal, even if they aren’t doing it intentionally.
I once tried to wrench the top off the bottle with a pair of pliers (it’s not a twist top) and add moisturizer, but it didn’t mix in properly and did not address the basic problem.
So, being a militant make-up user as well as a militant writer, I complained. First I complained to Shoppers Drug Mart where I bought the product, but they said they could not do anything about it and I would need to contact L’Oréal directly. (I’d been hoping they’d stop stocking it, but that was clearly a no go.) Then I contacted L’Oréal by email, explaining my problem in much the same way as I have here to you. In an email that might well have been written by a robot (see screen cap), they responded with an apology (and they’re not even Canadian! Are they?) and sent me a gift certificate for $20 to cover the cost of one bottle of the makeup.
Reimbursement is not what I wanted. What I wanted was for them to pay attention to what I was saying, to stop ripping off unsuspecting customers, and to fix the problem. I am not using the coupon because I consider it hush money, and I will not be hushed. Besides, why would I want another L’Oréal product after this experience? If I had wanted my money back, I’d have wanted actual money so that I could buy a Cover Girl product whose packagers have actually addressed and resolved the same kind of problem.
There. Now I’ve done my civic duty and performed a great service for L’Oréal Paris while I was at it. Thank you, Hollie Shaw. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.