Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Heaven at Hearst: Beauty Sales

Budgeting moolah isn’t exactly my jam.

I tend to take the approach I once saw Jessica Simpson live out in an episode of MTV’s “The Newlyweds” (no shame). The Chicken-of-the-Sea gal almost blindly plucked a sweater off the rack and whisked it to the checkout. She turned to her shoppin’ sister and admitted she ignores price tags -- if she likes it, she buys it.

See, that’s definitely cool for someone who has a couple million to her name (OK, or even an income), celebrity and a 98-degrees-hubby (RIP to that). So when I utilize that mantra and carry it to the cash register, it doesn’t end up too well for my pocketbook, bank account nor dignity. Most of the time, I end up dropping $50 at a drugstore on beauty products -- not exactly ideal for a college kid in the city.

But I found a loophole, y’all.

Since my internship with Good Housekeeping is nuzzled in the Hearst Tower, we’re in pretty chic company (Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Seventeen, Elle …). The freebies those names score in this skyscraper are pretty unreal. Whether it be leftover products from photo shoots or “gifts” sent by PR companies, there’s more stuff than these labels know what to do with.

So about twice a year, some publications host what they call a “beauty sale.” They lay out all the items they want to get rid of and sell them to fellow Hearst-ers for dirt cheap. (I’m talkin’ $1 for $90 perfume here.) And how guilty can you feel for such sweet snags when you know the money is being donated to charity? Rockin’ idea.

On a slow day at my ‘ship, my supervisor sent us interns an email inviting us to Redbook’s beauty sale. Obviously, I was on that in approximately 7 seconds.

We all stood in front of the doors on Redbook’s floor for its scheduled 2 p.m. opening. The mag had filled one of its conference rooms top to bottom with swag, from baskets on the floor to containers on tables overflowing with goodies. Finally, a Redbook rep opened the door and let 15 women in.

“You have 10 minutes," she said. "Once you grab something and take it out of the room, you have to pay for it.”

Oh, snap. She isn't playing.

We were the next bunch to go in, and I was slowly sinking myself into a panic that the women before us would clean house and some freaking tampons were all that would be left.

The 10 minutes we spent waiting felt like an hour, but we were finally let in. The Redbook ranger started her stopwatch and we were off. It was like a miniature Black Friday (minus patrons in pajamas).

I started sifting through boxes like a raccoon in a garbage can (again, no shame). I scored a bag full of items for a grand total of … $11 (perfume, shampoo, conditioner, hair cream, bronzer, eyeliner, etc.).

Moral of the story: I figured out how to stash some extra cash now that I have my beauty supplies for summer. Take that, Walgreens! You robbing little nugget!

OK, who am I kidding? I’m still going shopping ... a lot. But does at least feeling like I’m saving my money count for anything?


Allison Banko
Good Housekeeping
University of Florida

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