1. You’ll never really plan on going there. But you figure you might as well just browse. Why not? It’s something to do to kill time, an interactive playground of samples, like Gamestop for your face.
2. And then you realize you’ve been ensnared into a vortex of black and white and glossy all over.
3. But you swear you’re not going to buy anything this time. You’re just going to browse.
4. Debate how to best surreptitiously redo your entire look by using the “try me!” samples without incurring the suspicion of the beauty gurus whose foundation is always airbrushed to perfection.
5. No, but really. How is their contouring just always so perfect? What is this sorcery?
6. Mix different foundations on the back of your hand until you finally blend a shade that is the exact shade of your skin tone, only to realize that in order to recreate this at home, you’d have to spend $176.21 on five different tubes of what is essentially liquid skin.
7. Seriously question exactly how many other people have used that one mascara sample tube, how many germs are in there, and if it’s worth using a one-time-use wand because you know a lot of people haven’t, and the formula has been tainted by the common-use brush.
8. Watch as that one woman just blithely throws an untold amount of product into that handy little basket. Because there is rich, and then there is shopping-spree-at-Sephora rich.
9. Play a game in which you try to mentally place the drugstore equivalent so that you can buy something for about half the price at your local CVS.
10. Get suckered into pretty packaging. Because the prettier the display case, the better the product, right? Maybe?
11. Paint your nails all sorts of mismatched colors, because at first you were going for the accent finger, but then you had to try that Dior color, and then…
12. Smudge a still-wet nail the minute you try to swipe an eyeliner pencil across the back of your hand to test it out.
13. Spritz a perfume you think you like on your wrist, only to find one you like much more five seconds later. Know in your heart of hearts that mixing the two would just be a disaster.
14. Have a crisis in which you swear you’re going to go au natural and embrace your skin. No more makeup, rebel against the horrifically impossible standard of beauty, just you and your skin in all its pristine glory!
15. Wait. Basic face moisturizer costs how much?!
16. Notice that the hovering beauty gurus begin to hover a little too much. They suspect you. They know you’re not going to buy anything. They’ve detected a sample thief. Quickly grab a Marc Jacobs mascara and make a beeline to the checkout register.
17. Justify this decision to yourself. It’s mascara! You can wear it every day! It’s a basic, and plus, it’s not like you’re buying a Marc Jacobs handbag. Really, this is a bargain.
18. Resist the urge to pick up the little add-ons that are just calling to you as you wait in line. Sure, they’re tiny and cute and travel-sized and convenient, but they’re still about $25 a pop.
19. Mentally decide which free gift with purchase you’re going to score… only to realize that you don’t have enough points. You never have enough points.
20. Resign yourself to the fact that Sephora is quite possibly the Chuck-E-Cheese prize counter of the grown up world. Everything you can afford, you don’t want, and everything your heart truly desires is astronomically out of your price range.
21. Try to talk the cashier — again, the perfect contouring; always with the perfect contouring — into giving you the birthday gift you should have nabbed three months ago.
22. … how did you just… I mean… it was one tiny little tube and you just spent $28? On one thing?
23. (But hey, you’re now that many points closer to the free gift of your dreams.)