You know, I was always under the impression (as most people are), that cosmetics counter people are pushy because they make commission on the products they sell. Okay, I'm here to set the record straight. Yes, we are pushy. However, my personal commission (working at a big department store) is...drum roll...3%. Yes, that means that in order to make $3, I have to sell you $100 worth of cosmetics! Furthermore, that number never changes. If you've worked there 10 days or 10 years, it is always 3% (for your own cosmetics line, 2% for a competitor's line). The real reason we are pushy is that we get yelled at and threatened if we don't meet certain minimum sales requirements every day. These goals are set by the parent company, not the department store (though the store will come down on you too- they don't want to get scolded if you don't meet your goal). Nobody in your store at 10pm on a Friday? Too bad, your sales goal is still down. It must be your fault. The other interesting thing is that the current year's goal must ALWAYS be greater than last year's goal. This is not really too surprising. After all, your business has to grow. However, growth cannot continue forever and the economy is not quite as...happy...as it once was. Basically, the pressure to sell cosmetics is similar to the pressure for selling cars, without the big payoff commissions.
I got a letter from Estee Lauder. I was thrilled- I thought it was my $50 gratis (I sold 20 fragrances (more quick math- that's probably about $1000 in sales) and filled up a punch card, "winning" $50 in product). Nope. It was a letter from EL headquarters reminding me that the Holiday season was coming up and I should work harder (just in case I was stupid and didn't notice, while working at a MALL, that the holiday decorations are going up WAY too early). The rewards just aren't there.
Also, there are the few people out there who are just super enthusiastic about the product they are selling and REALLY want you to buy it so that you are a healthier, happier, more complete human being. Fortunately, I am not one of those people (though I have worked with enough of them to know how to identify them in a store).