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A long time ago, I had this idea of becoming a make-up artist.  I wasn’t sure how to go about it, so I took a job at a department store in the makeup department.

I had no idea that working at the department store, meant that you would have to deal with the makeup line representative, and have to follow department store guidelines. My goal, was to work at the MAC counter.  Having never worked in retail, I wasn’t sure how to react to the 4ft 9, 65-year-old supervisor. She was a white-haired, top-heavy lady, who teetered on 5 inch heals. Her accent was so thick it was hard to comprehend what language was coming out of her, she wore suits that were so tight, and completely buttoned up to her neck, that she looked like a pigeon stuffed into a robins outfit.

Canadian stores are not known for customer service, in fact, it is a rare treat to be greeted, and have someone be helpful. I am guessing growing up abroad made me different, because the customers in front of me, always received my full attention, and I always had repeat customers and long lineups. My supervisor absolutely detested me.

The supervisor, crazy lady, yelled at me one morning. I was wearing a purple sweater (god forbid) with black pants, and I wasn’t wearing much makeup. I was helping a customer, and crazy lady screamed across the makeup department floor, have you ever yelled over music, tiles and all mirror and glass, doesn’t sound particularly friendly. What was only unrecognizable English, the whole department store stood still, all eyes were on me, no one could see crazy lady, only hear her voice and the sound of her heels, apparently, I was to wear all black and was sent to the MAC counter to get made up properly.

I love MAC, but I have always found the all black and crazy makeup, harsh and intimidating. So, off I went, sat down and had crazy goth gal put makeup on me. I came back and took off my purple sweater, and didn’t bother looking in the mirror. There was a lovely lady wandering around looking for help, so I offered mine. The woman, was actually a man crossed dressed. I realized that everyone else in the department was uncomfortable, and decided not to make eye contact (complete B.S but completely normal in this part on Canada). I helped as best as I could, nothing like testing foundations on a 9 O’Clock shadow. Crazy lady came running over, took one look at the woman I was helping, and said “enough, you have more important people to look after.” and “you look better, but you will never work at the MAC counter”. I was pretending in my head that I was giving her a good slap in the back of the head, but I just stood there trying to contain my anger.

Turned back to my customer, and told her to ignore, and mentioned that I was forced to get my makeup done at the MAC counter. There was a pained look, and she said “oh, that explains your look, it doesn’t match your personality at all.”

I quickly looked in the mirror, my eyelids were so black that I looked like I had been drugged, tattooed and left to die in the cold. I am naturally pale, and have very blue eyes, between the black makeup and the black outfit, I looked exactly like the goth MAC girl. I laughed, and said I would be washing it off during my break.

The supervisor came back, and said “we don’t serve people like that”. I was absolutely horrified by crazy lady. I noticed that the store manager was watching, and I looked back and said “what, we don’t serve people who spend over $500?” (me and my snarky come backs have gotten me into a lot of trouble.  She looked at me and her voice became sharp, but I couldn’t understand a word she said. She fired me, I tried walking away, but the store manager intervened, so I was re-hired.  This would be repeated 5x in 3 months.

I never did work for MAC, I did put makeup on brides, bridesmaids and graduates. But, I didn’t last that long. I kept going to University and well, you know the rest.

Travel Lady