Do I look like a shoplifter?! A pharmacy in Dundrum Town Centre certainly thought so.
I'm not sure what it was about my grey Bugaboo with a hand woven Moroccan market style basket on the side that screamed thief.
I even had my Mum with me. I'm confident that she is not a pilferer from pharmacies either. She's impeccably coiffed and usually found in a silk scarf, scarlet lipstick and a cloud of Chanel No.5. We had bags of shopping from other shops with us. Nonetheless, we had the mortifying experience of being very obviously stalked by the uniformed security guard, a particularly sturdy looking man who was was hard to miss.
I was dithering over gradual tans, reading the ingredients and the application advice etc. only to find myself literally in his shadow. He wasn't even being subtle. He stared at us so long that we didn't know where to look. Beyond embarrassing. I walked toward the back of the shop to pay and he actually followed me! He only retreated when he saw me speaking to a sales assistant.
That was strike one.
When I got hold of a sales assistant, I asked if my preferred holiday suncream (one of the all day one application formulations) could be used on babies under two. "No" she snapped "and you can't have babies in the sun!" A bit taken aback at her tone, I responded that "I'm hardly going to have her out sunbathing" and I explained we're going on holidays and I wanted a high protection lotion in case she gets some sun accidentally.
She told me that children's factor 50 suncream wasn't good enough and that I had to get one suitable for infants, so I took her advice (although an actual pharmacist later refuted this claim). She led me to the wrong part of the shop then looked confused when we couldn't find kids' suncream. Eventually I saw it in another aisle and led her to it. At this stage I just wanted to leave. I shouldn't have bought the stuff but I was tired and about to head home and it would have looked weird to just walk out after committing so much time in the shop.
THEN, as if the service couldn't be any more unpleasant, she told me that being in hot weather and wearing suncream makes babies grubby and sweaty so they need a good wipe each night.
EXCUSE ME?! As opposed to what...letting my child sleep in her own filth? She's lucky my Mum didn't hear that part to be honest. I just bit my tongue and left.
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me
I popped in again the next week (I know, I know but I passed it on the way to the car and my eyes were streaming from allergies) to ask about hayfever and related nasal congestion. Mum had recommended an antihistamine so I wandered over to the pharmacist's counter to ask.
They couldn't have been less interested. I was shown a couple of different types and when I tried to read the back of the packets to understand the differences (because there was no fear of the staff explaining it to me!) they looked surprised and irritated. I also had an 11 month old with me and although we have recently stopped breastfeeding, they really should have checked whether this was the case as the decongestant drug isn't suitable for breastfeeding mothers and not everyone would know that.
So I'm done with them. Blacklisted.
Let me know if I'm being over-sensitive? Is it just new mum hormones making me react so badly to the service there?
They say (whoever they are) that you'll tell between 8 - 20 people about a bad customer experience but only 2-3 about a positive one.
So let me rectify that and compare my experience in this pharmacy with a recent visit to Roches Pharmacy in Rathmines. I passed this chemist when I took a circuitous route on my walk to Rathmines last week (code for getting lost...) and I was lured in by the Shiseido display in the window. I'd been looking for their retinol facemasks and eye patches for a while.
I couldn't find them so I asked a sales assistant. She helped me and when she couldn't see them she asked a colleague who went and searched for them, proving successful. We chatted about the relative merits of the full face mask versus the eye patch and she waited patiently while I silently debated spending €67 on them! Then she pointed out that Shiseido had a promotion and that one more purchase of any product would get me the gift bag. I'm usually wary of these "gifts" so I asked what's in it and she opened it up, showing me every product. She also threw in an extra sample of the retinol eye patch. So I stocked up on Shiseido facial sun cream too.
I was able to potter around the shop, examine lots of products and not feel like I was under surveillance. I'd also add that they have an impressive range of products including L'Occitane and NeoStrata, GlamGlow and others not even stocked by larger chains.
Anyway, rant over! The lovely customer service in Roches made up for the crap service in the other pharmacy in Dundrum Town Centre (not Boots btw) and as a happy aside, I'm loving the Shiseido eye patches! Evidenced by my smug selfie above...wrinkles be gone!
Not an ad btw - just appreciation of a good service especially when compared to a shockingly poor one.