There are so many classic perfumes I haven’t tried yet and niche lines’ recent creations I plan to try (as soon as I lift my self-imposed moratorium on buying samples*) that usually I keep an eye only on counted upcoming new releases from brands I like. But there was a whole new line the launch of which I waited for the last six-seven months. I do not want to name names so let’s call this company Undina’s Great Expectations (UGE).
When I got an e-mail from UGE about the launch of the line and an online store I immediately went to the site hoping to find samples. Not only there were no Request a Free Sample as some new brands do in the beginning but I didn’t find even an option to buy samples. I was a little disappointed but wasn’t ready to give up.
I sent a letter to the contact e-mail in which I explained how much I waited for that launch and asked if I could buy samples of new perfumes since UGE wasn’t available in the U.S. I did mention my blog but I didn’t try to play that angle.
Four days later I got a reply (I used green to mark places I changed):
Many thanks for your email we are delighted that you would like to try the new UGE fragrances.
Unfortunately we do not have samples of the fragrances, however as you are such a fan I could pop some spritzed scent strips in the post to you which will hopefully give you an idea of the X different fragrances. If you would like me to do this please do give me your address and I will send these out tomorrow.
We hope to be able to ship orders to the US as from MMDD so please do check the website then, or pop me an email to confirm.
I was prepared to many different outcomes. I expected they might ask for a nominal price, offer me free samples, ignore my request altogether or respond politely that they had no samples to offer at this time. I didn’t expect that offer. For a while I was stunned. I still don’t know what it was. A tongue-in-cheek “go away”? But why? I wasn’t a freeloader with a bogus story, I sincerely offered to pay (mostly because after reading some of Andy’s and Laurie’s thoughts on samples I realized how hard it might be for small companies without a huge marketing budget). Or was it a genuine attempt to help? But really, can a person in any way related to the perfume marketing be that naïve? How did she envision that? X envelopes with X scent strips? One envelope with all X together?
I chose to believe it was an offer in good faith. I wrote her back, thanked for the response and declined the offer citing doubts that those blotters would survive a transatlantic trip.
But I still can’t believe it. Sprayed blotters in the mail? Really? And I had such great expectations…
* I decided to stop buying samples until I have just a month-testing-worth number of untested samples (free samples from stores or swaps do not count).