My Sogo guru

If you’re ever in need of a makeover, I highly recommend heading to Sogo (Zhongxiao-Fuxing, the big green building). First stop? Go see Allan, manager of the Dior counter, on 1F. Not only is he adorable, he’s very knowledgeable about the latest in skin care and cosmetics. Despite the store being mobbed by shoppers taking advantage of Sogo’s annual sale, he took the time to listen to what I wanted and then suggested colors/products and actually showed me how to create several different looks. Who wouldn’t love that? And, if that wasn’t enough, he was willing to walk me around the floor, introduced me to the manager of a high-end and act as my translator. When I asked who I could talk to about complimenting his excellent customer service, he blushed, saying it was just part of his job. Of course, my purchases were elegantly wrapped. And at one counter, I was given a bottle of water; I felt like I was flying first-class.

NOTE: make sure you shop the Sogo accessed from the MRT.  If they don’t know who Allan is at the Dior counter, you’re at the wrong Sogo. Head outside and across the street and look for a GREEN building with the Sogo logo.

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Watson’s

Junk mail is not an unknown concept in Taiwan.

Everyday when I get home, I check my mailbox for something other than a Chunghwa bill but all I find is junk mail. Most of it is colorful and looks interesting; sometimes I can tell by the pictures what is being advertised. (Written Chinese still looks like a foreign language to me!)

Last week a multi-page flyer arrived, with the recognizable white-lettering-on-aqua-banner logo of Watson’s on every page. Watson’s  are like 7-11: everywhere! There are two in 1/4 mile from my Lane 39 down to Xinyi. They sell cosmetics and personal items. Like CVS without the pharmacy.

SALE!” the flyer proclaimed in bold letters. Now that I can understand! I flip through it, matching the pictures to the numbers next the “yuan” (money) symbol and find ads for products that:

  • “whiten” the skin
  • help you lose weight
  • promote good health (herbal supplements and drinks)
  • help you enhance your beauty (cosmetics in a dazzling array of colors and packaging).

How’s a girl to know what to purchase? So I look for the prices. Strangely there are numbers that couldn’t possibly be the price for, say, a well-known high-end brand of face cream (85 = 2.50USD). At first I think the item is 85% off – wow, what a bargain! Then, I realize that that 85 actually means 15% off (so the item is 85% of its original price). Why not just say 15% off? Now that I’ve figured that system out, the  numbers next to the yuan symbol start making more sense. I can do the math, then divide by 30 to get the price in US dollars.

As I’m checking out, having purchased Naruko “Night Repairing Dew” (made with narcissus, smells wonderful, and at 80NT, it’s a bargain) and some blueberry tea bags in glass jar (Made in Germany) for 90NT, another bargain, I notice people using what looks a “frequent shopper” card. When it’s my turn to pay, I point to the poster for the card and am handed a beautiful silver packet containing said card and several informative brochures in Chinese, along with a package of cosmetic samples (for “sensitive Asian skin” which, let’s face it, does NOT describe me or my skin). It was a nice gesture though. I’m made to understand that I need to go online to register the card. Of course the entire site is in Chinese and even trying Google’s Chrome browser to translate isn’t helpful. Ah well, guess that explains why no sales associate ever offered  me a card…

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…