Midnight Pub

Love Song to Beauty Supply Clerks


Always quick to a compliment, regardless of your own hunger to change, a beauty supply clerk can make even a sweats and sneaks day feel glamorous. Your skin is gorgeous. Did you do your nails yourself? That hairstyle is perfect on you.

Even once you tell them what problem you're looking to solve, they're quick to tell you that it doesn't need fixing. Looking to bleach your hair? Oh but your natural color is so pretty! Looking to clear up some issue with your skin? It's just barely noticeable, really.

They know the right answers, can guide you to a product that's both cheap and effective. They'll tell you which luxury brands just aren't worth it, and what'll work better than your usual routine.

At the checkout, they'll chat with you as you browse the bits and bobs by the register. Rarely in a rush, customers come in slow here and usually for just a few items, they're in no hurry. They're not looking to upsell you, unlike shops purely for makeup or skincare. They're chatting purely to be friendly, no ulterior motives.

Occasionally, they chide a father coming in to decode his young daughter's hair needs. "Your wife normally does it, huh? And you do what? Watch tv? Show me a picture of your daughter let's see what we're working with." Still, they point him in the direction of inexpensive and effective items, a clear explanation of how to use them, along with clips and ties in the girl's favorite color.

Once, I expressed a private fondness for shimmery, cooling, peel-off masks and was pointed in the direction of a dozen options for just that and was told the rose gold one had little flecks of glitter in the mix.

When I went looking for black nail polish, but professed my inexperience, I was pointed toward good paints to practice with before switching to a more professional brand.

When their advice goes as planned, they're delighted. I once went back in not long after a success and was met by a bouncing saleswoman, telling me how perfect the color was on me and how great an idea it had all been. Thanking her was no use. It was my idea. She just helped execute it.

These are people who get it. They understand both the need for affirmation and the need to transform. They don't have to be kind. God knows in a retail position, such behavior is hard to maintain on the best of days. Still, somehow, they're always the most helpful, nice, and understanding people I meet in such jobs.

And for that, I truly love them.