A Tiny Haul From The Face Shop + A Rant About TFS’s Sample Policy and Customer Service

The Face Shop is currently running several offers this Great Singapore Sale (GSS) and one of them is this bundle of a Baked Triple Color + a Lovely ME:EX Blusher for S$31.90. I’m preparing a beauty parcel for a dear friend and thought that either item would be something nice to include in the package, so I happily purchased a set at the Toa Payoh TFS store.

The store allowed me to choose my own shades, so I picked Baked Triple Color in 03 Silver Gray (a shimmery trio of pewter, grey and white) and Lovely ME:EX Blusher in PK103 (a shimmery cool pink).

While I am satisfied with the products, I am quite put off by the recent sample policy of the brand, which was exacerbated by the somewhat unpleasant attitude of the sales assistant who attended to me. When I enquired about samples (I thought it’d be great to have a couple in my package), she said that the store does not offer any because of the ‘high discount rate this GSS’.

This does not make sense to me because samples aren’t products that we pay for; they’re meant for customers to try and hopefully bring them back to the store. Why should the storewide 20% discount affect the dispensing of samples? She went on to explain that the store gives them as free gifts – I was internally rolling my eyes at this point, since I would never equate the tiny sachets that the store used to give out as credible freebies – and the company took them all back (makes them sound petty, doesn’t it?). Aren’t samples meant for customers to try, to see if the product suits; I asked her. She retorted that they (the company) would say try the testers then. I responded that some products have to be used over time and that it was poor customer service not to take that into consideration.

Her remark about the testers was utterly rude. She may have fobbed the response onto the company but her tone wasn’t pleasant and it was clear she was affronted by my requests for samples. While I understand that there are greedy people who ask for samples freely and others who ask for them without planning to purchase anything thereafter, her attitude bothered me. This won’t stop me from asking for samples in the future but I might think twice about purchasing from this particular TFS SA.

I’m quite surprised by this turn of sample policy – after all, other Korean brands in Singapore such as Nature Republic and Etude House are generously offering samples to customers and passers-by (incidentally, the products at these establishments have lower price points than The Face Shop). I think TFS should review its policy or at the very least, explain it less brusquely.

Image source: The Face Shop Korea


  • stella says:

    poor customer service; what else is new in singapore. to the extent that i don’t even re-patronise a place if i’m not happy with the service; after all, there’s online shopping, changi transit DFS, and holidays overseas for much more competitive prices. granted, there are some shops i’m a regular at due to the great service, but sadly, service is much to be desired in general in singapore, looks like this starts right at the top at some places.

    5 years ago i was in beijing, the service was bad–2 years ago, i was in beijing, service has surpassed that in singapore. ditto hong kong which horror service stories abounded just, what, 10 years ago? last time i was in hk, service was good even at the small shops. singapore’s service is so not catching up with the big fish, says so much about us.

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi Stella,

      I understand how you feel. Bad customer service can really dampen a shopping experience. Like you, I’ve received stellar service at several places but it is a fact that SG isn’t know for great cs, sadly.

      Re: Fancl – you’re right! The SA who attended to me when I last bought something was friendly and professional, plus she was happy to give me samples of the sunscreen simply because I mentioned it. :)

  • stella says:

    just to add on about samples–it’s only to TFS’ detriment that they think samples are some godgiven gifts to customers; obviously most people prefer to test skincare products for some time before committing. that’s why i like Fancl, they are extremely generous with samples and the sales staff are polite to a fault. give me a break, if you can’t even cover the cost of samples with your thick profit margin (why else would they be in the beauty business) and jacked up export prices, maybe it’s time to go back to the balance sheets

    excuse me for ranting but i’ve had so enough of bad customer service in supposedly service-oriented industries.

  • Paris B says:

    Left to me, I’d have put back my purchases and gone elsewhere. Poor customer service has no place in this day and age.

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi PB,

      She was only frosty after I’d asked for the samples! :P She was actually quite reserved albeit not very smiley while I was browsing.

  • FarahDean says:

    TFS SAs are not the greatest around. They are mostly pushy & curt UNLESS you start loading the basket. They then become sugary sweet. They are also flaky for most part. Must be their trainers or the mgt itself who probably sets targets for all their staff & it’s a meet or die thing.

  • Sam says:

    I think Etude House is so much friendlier in terms of service and samples and quality of product. Vote with your feet :)

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi Sam,

      Etude House does have good cs – the girls in pink tend to be helpful re: product recommendations. :)

  • AtelierGal says:

    Oh Mag! I have shopped at Skinfood & TFS and NEVER have I ever receive any samples. Even though I’ve read other bloggers talking about getting them when they first set up shop.

    TFS customer service is getting worst, esp the one at Wisma. These days these don’t even bother to put one bottle of nail polish into a carrier,, instead they just paste a TFS sticker on the handle and “shoo” you away, with no smile nor thank you!

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi Joyce!

      I’ve been lucky to receive samples from these establishments in the past but I’m guessing they’re aren’t forthcoming any more with their sample sachets/bottles. Pasting a sticker on the nail polish bottle you bought?! That’s horrific. I mean it’s good they aren’t wasting plastic etc but surely a bag is the right thing to give to a customer, especially for a breakable bottle?

  • FarahDean says:

    Mag, I went to pick up some hydrogel masks today & I found out they are franchised. No wonder they are flaky?

  • Angie Twe says:

    My mom and I have been a loyal customer to The Face Shop. We get back to the outlet for about once in 3 months. I did notice that they are getting impatient with us asking for samples and free things esp this year.
    But, maybe you can try visiting TFS outlet at Causeway point cuz thats the only better customer service (I think) than other TFS outlets.
    I tried the one at Bugis and I was pissed off so I went over to SkinFood instead.

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi Angie,

      I’m sorry to read that you’ve experienced less than ideal customer service from TFS too. Thanks for the rec though! I’ll definitely keep it in mind. :)

  • zache says:

    Thats really weird that she said the TFS company took it back. Sound like a big lie. A korean friend of mine said most korean beauty store will offer you samples even if you din ask. It’s a form of business technique. You should contact the incharge, so this girl will not work in TFS anymore and spoil TFS reputation.

    • makeupmag says:

      Hi Zache,

      Most Korean brands in Korea, I suppose. However, that practice is not diligently practised at beauty stores here.

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