Confessions of an out of control returner

I just paid my husband to go and take back my loot. He said the girl at the counter didn’t look too happy. I was so glad I wasn’t there. I’m done buying stuff I might have to return. The next eyeliner will be Stila liquid and the next shadow either MAc or Tarte cream shadow. The next foundation will be Tarte TM, and the next blush Tarte cheek stain. The next gloss will be Nuance lipgloss. The next mascara will be Tarte Gifted. Because I cannot stomach one more disappointing product or return.

By the way, total back in my beauty budget: $48.90.

I wrote the above a week ago and I notice two things: there’s a lot of Tarte, and I’ve already changed my mind about some of the products. For example, I had never heard of Inglot. Thanks to my wonderful blogging community, now I have.

Also Nate is obviously not so hard up for money so as to be the reason he made the return for me. He was more likely just trying a fix things for me once more, as he always does. I really need to do more stuff for him. When I sit down and start writing about how many things he actually bails me out on, it fills me with guilt.

But this is not supposed to be about Nate. (Again).

It’s supposed to be about my Obsessive Compulsive Behavior. (I was green with envy when I heard the name Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics because that is exactly what my skincare and beauty product company should be called. If I had one. Which I hope to some day.

I obsess about budget, health, color, performance, and returning.

My throat literally almost constricts like an allergic reaction when I am walking toward the checkout with a product I know I can’t return. Coincidentally, that is the same feeling I have when I actually have to make a return. I hate it. I’ve done it so often I’ve developed an allergic reaction to it. And depending on the reaction I get when I make a return, I will stay out of that store for a long time afterwards (if I feel the person at the checkout was upset or rude), or I will make sure I shop there if their demeanor lives up to their policy.

Speaking of policies, in desperate situations, they have not stopped me. Yes, I have cried at the Target counter begging them to take back a lip pencil that dried out my lips. I try to use words that make it sound like the product was defective without stretching the truth. “I have sensitive skin and this made me break out.” And yes, I have figured out which Targets within a 15 mile radius of my house are lenient with their return policy.

Am I proud of this? No. It is the inevitable outcome of being both an obsessive compulsive beauty product lover and a girl on a tight budget.

My recent return and seeing my beauty budget go up by $48.90 really got me thinking. I was really happy. Much happier to have the money than the products. So I really started thinking about budget products. The problem with most budget products is that they are not worth in happiness units what they cost. You buy them thinking you are not spending much, so it’s a bargain. But after 4 such purchases you would gladly take your money back and say goodbye to the budget products. And then I started thinking of the products that make me truly happy as cosmetics go. The reason my Real Techniques brushes and Nuance lip gloss make me so very happy isn’t because they were inexpensive, it’s because they were inexpensive AND truly high quality products. It’s because they give back so much more in happiness units than they cost. In these two cases, the price was not high, making the distance between what you gave up and what you got back quite long. When you give up hard earned money, it should give more in return than you pay, or you should not give it up. Paying with cash helps you see this more clearly. Add up all the little purchases you’re going to make and hold on to the cash in one hand and imagine holding the products in the other or vice versa if you’ve already bought the product. You might end up thinking, “I’d rather have the cash.”

In the case of one of my other favorite product, Tarte Tinted Moisturizer, the price is a little higher. It definitely could not be considered a bargain price. But when you add up all the factors, that it is both a skincare product and a cosmetic, that it is a considerably large amount of product, that it replaces several products at once, that it is skin clearing and anti-aging, skin brightening and scar-healing, the price begins to make more sense. You could buy several cheaper products and end up spending  more money and not getting the same payoff.

So if you want to buy that one expensive product that you know will help heal your skin, make you look beautiful, last a long time and give you confidence then it could be worth the price. And if it does all that and is also not hard on your budget? Even better. And that’s why I blog. To help myself and everybody reading this find the products that really work, that are really worth it, and that are made with ingredients that enrich your skin’s and overall health instead of robbing from it.

12 thoughts on “Confessions of an out of control returner

  1. Great post Marisa, its nice to get to know you a little better.

    I’m probably the opposite and should write a post about buying product in excess that I don’t need. I buy things that I am happy I can return…but almost never make a return, even if I am wishy washy with the product. There have been a few times where I try something out, don’t like it and think “I’m going to take this back”, but then never make it to the store before the allotted time runs out. Honestly though, when I have those experiences they are usually with lower end products, so I don’t ever get too worked up when it was something inexpensive that I end up being stuck with.

    I should probably be more prudent about returning products that I don’t plan on using given their effect on me (whether it be drying out my lips, or whatever). Thanks for the food for thought!


    1. Thanks Shannon! I love feedback on my posts and find this response very interesting. Sometimes I think i should lighten up. I know at one time I had a very small budget and this had created a fear of running out money and being without some major necessity. Even now my budget is quite modest and I make it work in part by returning things I don’t love. And by using swap!


  2. Great post! Last weekend I went to MAC for two things. MAC Diva lipstick and MAC Night Moth lip pencil. I ended up with those two plus two things for my eye brows. I had switched my eyebrow pencil regimen to a eye shadow, giving me more product for my money, and the girl had talked me into getting a dark brown paint pot to “define” my brows a little more. Although she did my brows really nice, after buying the paint pot, I felt guilty. I knew I wouldn’t be able to pull the same brows as she had created. So I took my receipt and nervously walked up to the counter. Both the manager and another sales associate looked like they hated me, but I didn’t care, I was getting $15.48 back for a small thing of paint pot….barely even an ounce of product in it too! I felt bad, but returning made me feel so much happier, because I knew I wasn’t going to use that paint pot no matter how many times I tried talking myself into what I could possibly use it for besides my eyebrows! Thanks for your wonderful post!!


    1. Hi Jessika, Thanks for the comment! I have to admit I felt trepidation when I published it – it just sounded so silly and obsessive and personal – I’m glad people can relate to something in it. 🙂


  3. We have practically NO return policy here, so I’m quite discerning about what I buy. So, thanks for blogging! That’s partly the reason why I blog, too. 🙂


    1. Hi Carina,
      Where do you live? I visited your blog again but couldn’t quite figure it out – probably missing something major. Yikes! No return policy would kill me! But it would probably also cure me – I’m addicted to it I think. I would make more careful decisions for sure!


      1. I live in the Philippines! 🙂 Aw, I think it’s great to be able to try stuff out, though but I can see how I could get addicted to that as well!


  4. In Thailand (or SEA for that matter) the return policy is not common. I have not actually heard of returning cosmetics or skin care products here, really. It will be good if we are able to. I guess we take a lot of risks here and somehow we are used to it. If a product doesn’t work for me I will pass it on to somebody else. Nowadays there are so many beauty blogs that review products and these blogs really help us (those without return policies) make a wiser decision and save us loads of money. 😀


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