What in the World?!? Free Makeup and “My People”

I enjoy a good deal. The only thing I enjoy more is a great deal. That being said, I learned the value from my parents. These same parents called me Tuesday night to tell me that they had been to several department stores after dinner to stand in line and claim their one free product per customer (albeit at multiple department stores and at multiple shopping malls). Seriously, they were downright giddy.

The makeup giveaway is part of a class-action lawsuit. The settlement included a mass distribution of high-end cosmetics to customers. No proof of purchase necessary. Just sign your name on a piece of a paper and decide if you want the cream, perfume, mascara, etc.

I figured I would stop by the mall the next morning and get my free makeup if the wait wasn’t long. The wait was short, but what I couldn’t help but notice was the demographics. I would have to guess that 85% were Asian/Asian American (the remaining 15% was mostly Latinos and Europeans based on the conversations going on). I have never seen that many Asians/Asian Americans at that mall in the four years we’ve lived here. Many of them were couples, just like my mom and dad, each getting their free sample.

Initially I did an internal giggle, called up my sister (who happened to be at Macy’s), and told her to pick up some free makeup.

But the line at the second department store was a bit more uncomfortable. There were two lines snaking through the cosmetics and jewelry departments, and one of the women staffing the giveaway table started addressing us in a tone I have often used when my children were younger. She spoke loudly (ok, so there were a lot of people there so I’ll give her that) and deliberately (though when I got closer she chattered much faster with her coworkers).

“Now remember, you can only have one item. Just one. No two. You can only come once. You can’t come tomorrow. It’s not fair. See, we’re having you write your names. We have to collect the names so we’ll have your names. We’ll know you came back.”

Again, I know there are bigger fish to fry. I’m not trying to fry any fish here. It was just one of those uncomfortable moments where I found myself wondering if this woman would have said the same things in the same tone had the crowd not been 85% Asian/Asian American and 15% Latino and Europeans. I found myself wanting my free moisturizer but a bit embarrassed for an unknown reason that I was in the company of “my people”. So what if I came back? On my honor I took my one sample, but seriously did she think she was going to be the voice of conscience or implying something by stressing the fact that they were taking down names?

I should have signed my name Jane Austen or Amy Tan or Michelle Obama. 😉

For those of you wondering about the free makeup, here’s the info. It’s until supplies last so run. My mom and her friends have been working the phones so who knows if there is anything left out here.

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