Exciting Benefit Contest

Remember the Benefit Incident, and the pathetic correspondence that ensued between me and Patricia, the company’s US Customer Care Manager?

Well, I wrote back to Patricia, turning on the ol’ Sister Wolf charm:

Good evening Patricia,

Your reply makes no sense. After patiently waiting for 8 days, I am dismayed by your inability to provide any response to my concerns. How can the regional manager help me by discussing anything with “the beauty adviser.”   Which beauty adviser are you referring to? I didn’t even identify the store where this happened!

Patricia, here is the plan. You will want to convey to me Benefit’s ACTUAL POLICY regarding its sales techniques and whether it is considered acceptable to physically accost a potential customer.

That way, my readers may be assured that it is safe to approach a Benefit cosmetics counter.

Finally, you may want to offer me some of your products, with an emphasis on red lipsticks, to compensate me for my considerable distress at the hands of your assaultive sales representative.

I am prepared to follow up with your superiors if necessary.

Sincerely disappointed,


Patricia phoned me the very next morning. She explained that the Benefit sales associates are supposed to direct traffic to their counter, but not to slop the product on without asking. She assured me that they want the cosmetics shopping experience to be almost like a party. I made some idiotic and reckless analogy that I won’t repeat, and we said goodby after Patricia promised to pop some red lipstick in the mail for me.

Isn’t that nice?

The lipsticks have arrived: Flirt Alert, and Frenched. One is a clear soft red, and the other a deep cranberry color. I have judged them to be somehow inferior, so I want to pass them on to you, the faithful reader! I will even pay for shipping in the US. We can haggle over shipping if you live somewhere else.

To enter the contest to own these brand new, unused but   somehow inferior lipsticks, just explain in your comment why you want them.   The best explanation wins!

** For a look at the best customer complaint letter ever written in the history of the world, go here.

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46 Responses to Exciting Benefit Contest

  1. That best ever customer complaint letter had me crying with laughter – how hilarious. I still can’t stop so I will pass on the inferior red lipstick as it will forever be associated with the porn film title!!

  2. Vivienne says:

    Loves it, another reminder to buy everything online. I’m a librarian so overzealous, overmade make up people make me scuttle out of the shop and back to my laptop.
    As for the lippie, I should have them because I’ve been wanting to write REDRUM on my mirrored wardrobe doors for ages but have been unable to bring myself to sacrifice the good stuff. Just the job for an inferior red lipstick!

  3. BethUK says:

    Nice one! I love a good angry letter – even better now you have lipstick out of it. This isn’t a reqeust for either though (their inferiority has not inspired me to pay for shipping to the UK).

  4. Samantha says:

    I Love the curt aggro letter including your ‘plan’ to set her straight. ha! love. I’ve had to do it before and it stays with you til it’s resolved to your liking.
    I laugh as I write this cause it’s sounds so corny but it’s true: I want the lipsticks not for me but for a dear friend who is a self proclaimed diehard red lipstick girl. (I love color but I’m currently going neutral) She has consistently avoided the neutral shades & glosses always opting for a bold, over the top red. I checked out both colors and although you found them inferior I actually believe she’d Love those inferior shades. So I’m asking for them on her behalf. Does altruism score any points here? 😉 Thanks!

  5. Sheri says:

    I haven’t paid for a lipstick in 20 years — have managed to limp through my adult life happily using whatever I get for free when Clinique or Lancome have a “gift-with-purchase” offer. I think this would be an interesting way to continue my tradition-now-philosophy of only using lipstick that I didn’t pay for.

    p.s. I believe either color would go swimmingly with my olive skin tones.

  6. attilathehoney says:

    I want the red lipstick because I look damn good in red lipstick.

    Also because when I worked at a cosmetics counter I never once assaulted anyone, even if they deserved it.

  7. Adrien says:

    I’m pretty sure I need those red lipsticks because I’m tired of being asked if I have consumption. NO, I do not have consumption, I just forgot to put on lipgloss again this morning and even if I’d remembered it would’ve slid off my face in about ten minutes anyway and you’d be AGAIN asking me after my health. Perhaps what I need is some really inferior red lips that say, “BACK OFF. I HAVE MONO.”

  8. I want red lipstick because I can add it to my shrine to you, Sister. It also contains a print of a Frida Kahlo painting, some sand and a pair of the most hideous shoes I could buy with a fiver.

  9. patni says:

    Here is why i deserve it.
    I have been unemployed for nearly two years. The last job interview i was gifted, was for picking feces up off the ground at a doggy daycare. They wanted me to say i was comfortable handling feces. Well. I am not.
    My father is right now in his words, being “filleted” having open heart surgery.
    My brother is in a custody battle with a crazy evil ex wife for custody of his children. My best friend committed suicide three years ago.
    Due to construction under my window i have not had a proper nights sleep since march.
    I can’t remember when i last got laid, daytime tv has lost its glamor for me and even if i was a person that could wipe it out with drink. I can’t afford to.
    Luckily i live in a state that affords health care to the impecunious, so i can fill myself with anti depressants and struggle on.
    I am kind of fucking sick of saying o i am fine and putting a bright face on it.
    I am a chanel lipstick girl. red red red. i will stray for kryolan. But not quite right red might sum it all up right now.
    ps. I do not have consumption.

  10. Lin says:

    Can’t say me, because red lipstick has always looked awful on me.
    I say give it to patnie. Her ex-situ Barbie doll art deserves some patronage.

  11. Alicia says:

    I’m only here to ask what happened with Up In Your Brown-gate 2010…

  12. AWESOME. Once I became a bitchy lawyer (as opposed to a doormat civilian who was raised to be “nice”) I came to appreciate the efficiency that comes from great opening lines like “your reply makes no sense.” BLAM – no need to beat around the bush.

  13. Aja says:

    I say Patni owns it. Good on you for following up with them!

  14. ha! i live in the UK so i don’t need to be entered in the contest, but just wanted to say that makeup shopping gives me way too much anxiety to be compared to a party

  15. tobilynne says:

    Hmm, well, I think you should probably just send them to Patni (my official vote), but here’s why I need shitty red lipstick: I have spent the past 30 or so years vehemently opposed to lipstick of all kinds as I think it tastes awful and it’s cakey on my lips. But about a year ago, I had to dress up for a party, and I did my hair and makeup sort of 20’s style – including bright red lipstick. I was completely thrown by the compliments I got on it (and continue to get, now that I wear it more often) – I’m more of a plain, midwest-blend-into-the-crowd kind of girl, and it made me feel genuinely pretty for the first time. Though I still think it’s cakey and tastes like shit.

  16. Alicia says:

    *excuse me* I meant Up In Your Brown-gate 2007…

  17. Jacqui says:

    Your nephew just made my entire month. Fantastically frank response letters must be a family trait. Up in the Brown. What a majestic title. The whole ordeal is worth it…he now officially has the best penned (or typed, really) letter in the long, sad history of customer service complaints. Mazel tovs all around. And congrats on the sub par lipstick!

  18. Janie says:

    i have light skin, and consequently have been told constantly that i can get away with wearing red lipstick.

    naturally, i took this advice wholeheartedly and set off on a mission to find my perfect shade of red. thankfully, i saved my wallet a whole bunch of misery by first trying on (what seemed to be) every red lipstick in the world; instead of buying them and having to deal with the disappointment of returns or losing money when i realized that red lipstick just straight up did not look good on me.

    you can imagine how heart broken i was to find out that my skin tone did not in fact mean that i could wear red lipstick. and, that all the comments i had received telling me otherwise only amounted in my disappointment over desperately wanting to find (and wear) my perfect shade of red, but never getting the opportunity to.

    happy ending alert!

    if there is one thing working retail ever afforded me, it was the opportunity to meet a beautiful brown skinned woman who looked amazing in red lipstick. of course i enviously complimented her and then spilled my life’s (unfruitful) red lipstick story onto the counter while ringing her up. i expected her to shrug and confirm my findings that not everyone is able- or meant- to wear red lipstick. however, to my surprise, she instead offered me the best tip ever! the tip: add brown to the red to keep it from looking too harsh. and… drum roll please… IT WORKED!!!

    thus, to sum up this painfully long story:

    i think i deserve this lipstick because i have gone so many painful years (26 to be exact) without being able to partake in the simple joy of wearing red lipstick. i do own one shade and wearing it still takes my breath away. oh won’t you add to my joy and increase my red lipstick collection? my lips, my wallet, and i would greatly appreciate it.

    thanks for this opportunity.

  19. Joy D. says:

    Red lips?!! I live in red lips and as a student I am more prone to buying food than lipstick although I have an NYC brand on my vanity. Plus, what is inferior to Sis is semi-perfect for Joy D.

  20. TheShoeGirl says:

    Well I can’t say that I deserve to WIN it because I can afford to buy it, BUT! BUT! I would like to win it because I like winning things and I like you and because after your story, I will never purchase anything from Benefit, so this would be my only shot at ever owning a red lipstick from said brand.

    Also, may I add that my new year’s resolution is to wear more red lipstick? I just went to MAC to buy Ruby Woo, my new favorite despite it’s dryness.
    I want to become a red lipstick connoisseur and I want you to help me on my mission.

    Fuck ya..

  21. kt says:

    At least we know Pat C is real, and I’m glad that you were finally able to get some kind of pro active response! Too bad about the crappy quality of the lipstick though. Btw, I finally discovered a solution to my own red lipstick dilemma. I’ve combined the Make Up For Ever and NARS, so that I can get the moisture from MUFE but the color from NARS. So far, so good. I’d still like to try the NARS crayon you suggested. I wish I wore lipstick enough to justify buying more!

  22. Andra says:

    I don’t wear lipstick as my top lip seems to have disappeared (I swear I used to have one) but if all this shit is going on in Patni’s life she needs all the help she can get.
    Send ’em thataway for mine.

  23. kirsten says:

    ummm i’ll do a post in which i imitate the most irritating bloggers of our time (think: sea of shoes, et al) while wearing the red lipstick. you may all ridicule me.
    i know, i’m a saint

  24. kath says:

    Ha this whole scenerio is hilarious from start to finish!
    I should have lipsticks as I have a fairly plump pout..As far as my Higher maths will take me:
    Luscious lips x surface area/ heavy drunken make up applications = less inferior lipstick left in the world to irk you!

  25. kate says:

    i deserve the lipstick because:
    1. i have no money to buy my own.
    2. i don’t have any red lipstick of my own.
    3. i look great in red lipstick because my lips are full and heart shaped. when my lips are red people take less notice of my potato nose, scanty eyebrows and freckles.
    4. when i receive compliments on my pretty red lips (and i will, i will) i’ll reply with “thanks. so have you ever seen this movie ‘up in your brown?'”

  26. WendyB says:

    I am the goddess of red lipstick. That is all.

  27. Nikki says:

    My vote is split. One for Patni… the prettier of the two. Mail with a chocolate treat & a card with hearts & hugs cybersigned by the GIM room.

    Drop the other in your handbag, don your best blonde Ru Paul bouffant wig, visit Benefit counter incognito daily ’til you corner the bossy bravado-filled Benefit bandit (she did a smash & grab on you, so she is indeed a brigand), Sumo wrestler pounce with lipstick flailing… banshee yell optional, but it would make the moment more memorable, for her. I realize that may sound as if I’m suggesting brute force. I am not. “It’s called a gifted makeover, Ms. Benefit. You’re welcome.” Leave the stick & run for the hills towards the pantyhose counter.

    Disclaimer: Take none of my advice. I’ve been in migraine mania for a week & once the mouth frothing starts, the sarcasm increases. If you do, however, I’ll see you in January with a brand new getaway-mobile. I’m searching for a long red Cher wig now… I have no reason to be incognito but I don’t like anyone to play Charlie’s Angels without me. Please don’t wear any of the chunky shoes you showcase. You won’t run fast enough & we’ll have to flee with me dragging you by your Ru Paul weave. Thank you.

  28. Bevitron says:

    No red lipstick here, inferior or otherwise – I just wanted to say that letter of your nephew’s is the most brilliant & wildly amusing thing I’ve read in ages. Loved, loved, loved it.

    Up In Your Brown sounds like a great name for one of Benefit’s more mahogany-hued reds.

  29. Rory G. says:

    Red lipstick makes me day better. Everytime I look in the mirror when my lips are painted the famous color, I feel empowered, strong and beautiful.

  30. Emily Bleak says:

    I was going to say that Flirt Alert would probably look good on my lips as well as doing double-duty by being a lovely shade for writing “WORM” on my lover’s chest, but that’s really just gross and creepy, therefore you should give them to Patni.

  31. Sister Wolf says:

    Patni, it’s looking good for you. But I worry that the inferiority of the lipstick may actually make you more depressed!

    RedheadFashionista – Ah, so YOU’RE the one with my vaginal sand?!

    tobilynne – I will help you. No need for cakey lips! Plus, you are beautiful with or without.

    nikki – Don’t worry, I can’t walk in heels. Two inches is my limit.

  32. dust says:

    It feels like Patni deserves better than inferior red lipstick, but Benefit will have to do the job.
    My superior red lipsticks are repelling men in most unexpected ways, Sister, I’m still waiting for The One who is brave enough to kiss it.

  33. Nicole says:

    If I had those lipsticks I would re-enact the scene from “Wild At Heart” where Marietta Fortune goes bat-shit crazy while channeling the fashion influence of the film, Mom of Shoes, and Dynasty. I would consider putting it on YouTube under an assumed name as well.

  34. erika says:

    The perfect shade of red by Benefit is Misbehavin – Ya

    Bummer that they rectified this by only sending you inferior reds. They should have at least sent you there entire catalog of reds and let you make the call on it’s perfection. Don’t they know you, lady of the raven hair, are the perfect model for their lipstick ?

    What’s your deal Benefit ? You need better service, stat.

  35. Dru says:

    Janie- I’m glad you found your perfect red. For years, the makeup counter liars told me that true red lipstick doesn’t suit dark skin (my kind of dark skin, in a predominantly brown-skinned country). I didn’t find out till three years ago that this was Not True.

    Sister- like Erika, I think Benefit should have offered you a choice of reds instead of foisting two random shades on you. At least they’re free. And yeah, I think Patni should get at least one.

  36. patni says:

    hmmm.. i had meant to write a tragic walking up the hill both ways clearly untrue sob story, and for some reason the truth came out and it is a little embarrassing.
    HOWEVER… although chanel warms places in my heart nothing else can reach, any thing red and sticky makes me happy. Call me Dexter. Actually don’t. call me flirt alert.
    I think the true winner should be an Alaskan reader who will take them and scrawl CUNT on sarah palin’s car. or something. I would go bare lipped for at a year to see that.
    and.. i think barbie may need to take a vacation up int the brown.

  37. Brunehilda says:

    I want the lipstick so I can wear it.

  38. sally onion says:

    i’m trying to seduce a painfully hip boy-thing with wavy lemon hair and massive girlish sunglasses. to connect on an intimate level with someone who wears such cleverly slim jeans, red lips go a long long way. is it more efficient to have a winning personality and be able to discuss aristotelian ethics in an intelligent manner, or to just have a bedazzling, sex-kitteny, cherry-stained, man-eating, wax-melting blood-dripping fantastic-chasm-opening mind-corrupting platonic-form-challenging ideal-shattering crimson dollop of a mouth?

  39. Stella says:

    While I love red lipstick I think it would make my year if Patni won.

  40. Aimee says:

    If Patni doesn’t get the red lipstick, she is going to have to resort to bribing small children and/or puppies to shoplift it with ice cream.

    Think of the innocence lost.

    And the ice cream that YOU, Sister Wolf, could have saved.

  41. eric ersatz says:

    give that stuff over to patni.
    for real.

  42. Jessica says:

    I think Patni deserves to win!

  43. Wrathalie says:

    Give Patni that lipstick. I will provide my services as a female semi pro wrestler/body guard for a whole hour when and if you visit Brooklyn if you do.

  44. Sister Wolf says:

    sally onion – I am sad to say, it is the latter. I love the word “dollop” though.

    Patni – It looks like you’re the one, like it or not! Send me your address (to sisterwolf666@gmail.com) CONGRATULATIONS!

  45. patni says:

    they like me, they really like me er.. i would like to thank the academy, not that is not right…. but hot damn! I am a winner.

  46. Sister Wolf says:

    The lipsticks are on their way to patni, who will be sorry when she sees how inferior they are. xoxo

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