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Free = Frenzy (Observation)

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Yesterday marked another “holiday” called National Lipstick Day. While some makeup companies offered online deals for minis or samples, MAC shared on social media the opportunity to get a free full-sized lipstick at one of their stores or a participating location that sold MAC cosmetics. What was the catch? According to Instagram and Facebook, there was no catch – no buy one get one or spend a certain threshold to get one. Simply show up and get your free lipstick while supplies last.

Curious, I woke up early and got in line at my local mall to score a free lipstick, as I like MAC’s consistency and colors for lipstick. (Not to mention they are one of the brands that doesn’t dry my lips out when I wear it.) Unsurprisingly, there was already a line that formed by the time I arrived around 9:06 AM (store opens at 10 AM). Many were starting to panic or bail by the time they saw the line but I came prepared with a book in tow to pass the time. In between reading passages of A Dance with Dragons, I checked social media to see what others were saying about this “amazing” giveaway.

Oddly, it seemed the giveaway was a little inconsistent worldwide: Australia was promised a selection of the brand’s top colors like Velvet Teddy and Ruby Woo. UK was told they needed to spend 50£ on MAC products in order to receive a free lipstick. Meanwhile some US fans had called ahead and shared online that their stores were only giving away the colors in MAC’s Colour Rocker collection, which are mostly neon or strong colors that could be limited in use or wear. In addition, many users took to Twitter to complain that they waited hours in line only to be told the free lipsticks were out, as there was only a select quantity available. Others expressed disappointment over receiving last pick of the shades remaining, such as the bright blue lipstick which many joked was Smurf blue.

Around 9:40 AM, a MAC representative came around the line to pass out tickets to mark everyone’s place in line. Rules were you needed to trade in your ticket to choose a lipstick. Simple yet effective – cut down the chances of any last minute stragglers trying to sneak into the line with their friends who came earlier. Once the store opened, I heard many of the girls leaving saying that they were among the last few who could actually choose their shade – they eventually moved to putting all of the colors in a basket, shuffling them around, and you’d have to pick one out blindly. Cue many pointing out that the offer stated you could choose your shade of lipstick. Well, you were still choosing a color but maybe not the one you wanted.

At the 2 hour mark, I made it to the front of the store and traded in my ticket. The girl ahead of me asked for something more neutral and the MAC clerk was kind enough to pull one for her. She passed me the same color before moving onto the girls behind me. All while she was holding the basket of lipsticks, the MAC clerk was giving people who didn’t get a ticket for the free lipsticks a sample of their Prep + Prime Lip Balm. Not too bad for those who got in the line too late to get a ticket – they at least got something.

From there, everyone who got a free lipstick needed to go to the register to scan out their lipstick for inventory purposes. Some color trading took place in the line – the girl ahead of me swapped for a brown lipstick when the original owner eyed the former’s taupe shade. Unfortunately some people like the girl behind me, got stuck with the colors they didn’t want like the medium blue lipstick.

While I was pleasantly surprised with my shade, I walked away from the experience with these thoughts about the giveaway. Free is a good way to draw in loyal and new customers to your brand. However, planning is necessary in order to execute the giveaway successfully with little disappointment. I feel that the brand could have selected their top sellers and thrown in a few quirkier colors for fun worldwide, instead of setting different rules for different countries. Some of the locations should have set aside more units for the giveaway – my location said they had 400 units to giveaway while others only had 30. The use of tickets to mark one’s place in line was smart as it prevented anyone from trying to cut the line. I understand they tried to expedite the line by doing a random drawing of your color but it would have be more efficient if they continued to allow people to pick their shade instead. This would reduce the amount of disappointed customers who ended up with a color they’ll never use or wear and prevent the chances of turning away potential or loyal customers who had a negative experience.

Did anyone else brave the lines for a shot at a free lipstick?

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What’s in a Box?

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Who has heard of Influenster? What in the world is it all about? An acquaintance introduced me to the site after she shared reviews of some samples or test products she received to try and review. Interestingly, most of the products she tested and tried were full sized samples. Curious, I joined to see what the deal was.

Influenster is a social media site that collaborates with companies to have people like you and me try and test out their products in exchange for honest reviews about the products. It serves mainly as a database for anyone to search for reviews on almost anything and everything under the sun. You’re encouraged to link your social media accounts to build a presence on Influenster and increase chances of earning a VoxBox, or specially curated box of samples from various vendors to sample and review. Every product in the box has challenges or tasks that one must complete in order to earn badges for their profile or to gain more experience points tied to their account. In turn, this helps bolster your account’s credibility and increases your chances of earning another VoxBox in the future.

Trying out products for free in exchange for sharing candid opinions? Sounds like fun to me! I answered a few questions about one potential VoxBox (these come as surveys which vet which individuals will receive the VoxBoxes) and received an e-mail from Insfluenster saying I was chosen to receive the Daisy VoxBox to review.

The VoxBoxes ship via USPS and typically arrive within a week from the date you are selected. You need to select the option to ‘Check in’ your box once it’s received on your account. All of the items in the VoxBox pictured above were complimentary.

The Daisy VoxBox seems to focus on healthy pursuits, hence the SkinnyPop sample, coconut-based Live Clean Shampoo and Conditioner, Yes to Charcoal face mask, Nature’s Bounty Probiotic Gummies, sample of Always Pads, and coupons for Dannon’s Light and Fit Greek Yogurt. So far I’ve only tried out the gummies but the rest of the box seems pretty interesting!

Interested in joining up and offering your opinion? Check out their site at my link here.

You’re Worth Living For

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Who knew that one novel introduced to me via one of my English professors would become one of my favorite books? With a title like The Elegance of the Hedgehog, it certainly sounds amusing and like something worth looking at. But why bother reading when we’re surrounded by technology and the newest ‘it’ device? Well I’d advise you pick up this book, sit back, and enjoy reading about a woman and a young girl stuck in a bourgeois society in Paris, France.

Renee is a middle-aged concierge of a middle class apartments complex who appears on the surface to be the average, soap opera watching stereotype that the tenants assume she is. Behind closed doors, she is intellectual and avid about philosophy and art but chooses to hide the truth as a guard. 12 year old Paloma is tired of being surrounded by her rich, presumptuous family and plans to commit suicide on her 13th birthday unless she finds something that is so beautiful in this world that convinces her to live. Their secrets begin to unravel when a new tenant from Japan moves in and befriends both them. 

Before you start saying, Oh this is only going to have drama and too many rich snobs I loathe, think again. The novel includes various character backgrounds from the middle class, to the poor, to the hopeless goners, to the brightest of minds. Barbery provides plenty of touching, interesting, and comical moments throughout her book that should satisfy a variety of readers.

Intrigued? Pick up a copy and see for yourself!