*side eye*

Posted by on Friday, November 12, 2010

Hey everyone. Can you tell by my tone that this isn't going to be a happy post, lol? I sound so depressing. Sorry.

Disclaimer, because I know there's going to be SOME illiterate fool out there who rages at me for this.
 - I love Sleek (product wise, anyway) and I like the way they interact with consumers on social networking sites.
- I'm not accusing anyone of racism. This is not a "pity me I'm black" post.
- I'm not ungrateful for the sale.
- This is all just. my. opinion, and what I've observed. If you don't like it, reply in an informed way please or just cry moar.

I assume almost everyone, UK resident or not, knows or knew of the Sleek 50% sale that began at 12:00pm today.
Not going to lie, I was pretty excited for it. I'd saved my job money for a bit and woke up early to leave instructions on the computer for my Mum to order the products for me (as I'd obviously be away at school and I didn't want to wait the three and a half hours until I returned as Sleek have some pretty hardcore stans who'd buy up all the good stock) and basically went through school in a happy daze despite the fact that we had double Maths. Yes, double Maths, I kid you not. I'd usually just sleep through that lesson but this time I pretended to pay some sort of attention. Well I tried anyway, so sue me.

But I get home and Mum starts talking about the website crashing, people can't find the code and other apocolyptic goings-on on the internet. At first I was pretty sceptical of that, but I went to the computer myself at about, I don't know, half three? And I'm still here at half eleven, typing this up.
The Sleek website has been on and off all day, painfully slow, and when you do (eventually) managed to fill your cart up, you go to the checkout and everything from your cart is emptied. If you leave the computer, the products that you want/are most desirable (for example, their recently released Bad Girl/Good Girl palettes) will sell out quicker than it takes to watch Usain Bolt do the 100 metre sprint. The website went down for about an hour (in total) so that the server capacity could be increased and of course angry consumers took to the Facebook page and Sleek's Twitter to report a glitch of multiple orders, trouble paying, emptying carts, general chaos and just raging really.

The whole thing was to celebrate 20,000 "likes" or "fans" on Facebook. It was mentioned as a goal a while back and the staff said they'd hold this sale to celeberate that occasion, and it just so happens that a makeup fan with a good memory reminded them of this and they held the sale. Now, I can't blame Sleek for having good quality products. Hell, I'm a huge Sleek fan and love their products. How couldn't I? I'm black living in a majority white country and most of the makeup is either a) not my colour/tone (drugstore foundation shades dark enough are always patronisingly named "Cocoa" or "Chocolate" and come with like no choice of undertones or anything. I suppose very pale people on the other end of the spectrum have the same problem. We can suffer together lol or b) expensive. This is a blog aimed at students, lol. Students generally don't have the money to spend on MAC or Chanel foundations just to get a match, and nor should they have to. The nearest MAC store is far, far away from where I live and I wouldn't know where to buy Chanel. :P
Where was I? Oh yeah. So the website crashed and burned terribly, and everyone was understandably upset. While some complaints were being addressed by the staff (who must have been really stressed by all of this, I do feel for them) others went under the radar. I guess the point of this post is that the sale just didn't seem well thought out, at all. It's been reported that over a million people tried to access the Sleek website today. Over a million! Did Sleek not see this coming? Did they not anticipate the need for more server space?
Sleek generously added a "10 for £10" deal on their eyeshadow dusts and said they would add Pro makeup brushes to the line up. I believe the eyeshadow dusts only actually appeared on the website at about seven or so o clock? The sale commenced at 12. I think people are still waiting for the pro brush set to be available on the website. The paying system is quite frankly messed up, it keeps showing error messages but yet deducts money from your bank site and some international buyers found that it did not accept their local credit card and there was no option for PayPal which is pretty much universal, so found they could not participate.

 No offence to the lovely men and women of Sleek but the sale just struck me and many other consumers as rushed and hurried. It was announced last week, but on Wednesday a list was put up of all the products that would be out of stock - many of them extremely popular, such as the Pout Polishes, palettes, foundation testers and concealers etc. If it had been better thought out, in my view, then Sleek could have got plenty of stock in of those products and then people would not have felt the need to stay online for so long, futher tying up the website (I admit to being guilty of this) in the fear that the remaining products would be sold out (not unfounded, Bad Girl was sold out and then kindly restocked by Sleek who had some backups for press events and all the Pout Polishes that were still in stock that I'd wanted were sold out, foundation testers, concealers and Contour Kits all went) and possibly stemming some of the frustration that customers were feeling on the Facebook page. After the initial wave had passed, many of the international buyers could actually access the site and make their purchases which seemed to annoy the UK customers a bit as products then began to sell out without UK customers even getting an opportunity to get them. Not to mention that a lot of people, international and domestic alike, had been up very early for the sale. One user had the sale start at seven am in her time zone and was understandably frustrated when so many hours later nothing had been achieved. All of this just basically pissed people off and stressed out the staff. Sleek, we love you, but please think out things like this a bit more. ELF, for example (though a bigger company) regularly holds little "free shipping" or "30% off of x line" deals on their Facebook page and don't have anywhere /near/ this kind of meltdown. Someone suggested staggered time slots like Next do, perhaps you'd want to look into that?

Anyway. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to order - eventually. Anyone else ordered (or has any horror stories)?

I apologise for the sheer incoherency of this rant. I can write better, swear!


  1. Dude that sucks, and your rant is 100% appropriate. Right down to how impossible it is to find makeup for darker (and paler) skin tones. I feel especially bad for the girl who woke up at 7am to buy something, only to realize that she could have kept on sleeping because the site didn't work at all.
    I feel bad for Sleek too though, because they probably just didn't anticipate all the attention and were caught unawares. Next time should almost certainly be much better, because now they know the real size of their fanbase.

    Anywho, I'm glad you finally got to order!

  2. I think you were very fair and gave a balanced account whilst conveying your frustration.

    So many problems. An IT nightmare. Just not set up for these availability/capacity issues. They should learn from this. I'm sure they will.

    Business-wise they could appease customers to a certain extent by offering some sweeteners like free P&P for an extended period or popping some gifts in the completed orders. Hey, I'm sure they know all this.

    RBL (not that I've ever bought their stuff - WAAAAY too expensive) recently had a big sale and they sent out emails warning people there may be problems and how to avoid them. They're another company with good relationships with customers.

    Honestly, bit of a trial and tribulation for you but it's OK now and you got more consumer-journalism practice! Sleek will improve, I'm sure.

  3. ChaosButterfly: Thanks for understanding. I've just realised how tl;dr this rant is, lol :P It's an essay!
    I felt bad for her too. Especially as she then had to wait hours and hours just to access the site. I'm sure there were more in that predicament that we didn't hear about. I agree with all of your comment actually :P

    Jaljen: Thank you :P And it's true, it's a lesson for all involved really. Thanks for the RBL example, perhaps Sleek need to take some of that and adapt it to their circumstances. And I suppose that's the upside of the whole thing! I get to look vaguely professional on this thing, lol :P Anyway, thank you both for your contributions!


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