You get what you pay for in perfumes at Chemist Warehouse.

This week I bought a bottle of Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew Eau de Parfum in David Jones. I sprayed it on and smiled. This perfume was exactly as I remembered Youth Dew to be.

Quite a different result from the one a fortnight earlier when I bought a bottle of Youth Dew in Chemist Warehouse, a discount pharmacy with many stores. They are especially noted for selling perfumes at incredibly discounted prices of up to 85% off big brand fragrances.

The perfume I bought from them had little fragrance and was nothing like the Youth Dew that I had always loved.

This was not the first time that I had been disappointed with a perfume from Chemist Warehouse and thought it was about time that I questioned the quality of their product. So I decided to return the perfume to the Chemist Warehouse store which had sold it to me.

Little did I expect to have so much trouble returning a product! The salesgirl told me she had no authority to refund my money and so the manager was called. He assured me that the perfume was genuine; that his company was the biggest perfume retailer in Australia and that it sources its supplies directly from Estee Lauder.

I asked him if it could be old stock etc. and he said “definitely not” and that he would phone Estee Lauder directly for some confirmation if I was prepared to wait.

I told him to go ahead.

He returned after a while and repeated the mantra. By now, I remained unconvinced and so he finally agreed that he would refund the money.

It was quite an uncomfortable experience which left a bad taste in my mouth and a niggling suspicion.

Following my subsequent purchase of Youth Dew from David Jones my suspicions became stronger.

My next step was to phone the Head Office of Estee Lauder in Sydney and ask them if they supplied Chemist Warehouse.

Unsurprisingly, they said “No” and that Chemist Warehouses’ suppliers are resellers of recycled stock or remainder. This means that the stock could be old or fake, or, if you are very lucky, still good.

But according to Estee Lauder, Chemist Warehouse are not an authorised retailer for them and therefore the perfumes sold there cannot be guaranteed to be genuine.

In my opinion, it is not only the customer who may become a victim of such unethical practice but Estee Lauder and other reputable perfume manufacturers who would be unfairly blamed for producing inferior products.

So if you shop at Chemist Warehouse for your perfumes it’s a lottery. You may get a bargain or you may get a dud. Good luck but caveat emptor!

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Phillip Hughes: What happened?

Tina Turner sang “We don’t need another hero” but events this past fortnight tell us she was wrong.

Society needs heroes, real or imaginary because we need someone to look up to, to venerate, to worship. It’s what makes our lives have some meaning.

And we will latch onto any event or any person who can provide us with an idol. If that idol meets with an untimely death then we will feel a common grief and the entire tragedy becomes some kind of cathartic expression.

We witnessed this kind of behaviour when Princess Diana was killed in a car accident. There was an outbreak of mass hysteria which even the Queen could not understand. Hence her initial lack of response.

It appears to me that the accidental death of cricketer Phillip Hughes and the reaction of the public are evidence that we enjoy a good cry. It brings us together and we feel better for it.

There is no question that Phillip was a popular and talented cricketer who died far too soon.

But the reaction of the public which was fuelled by the media was way over the top. It is frightening to think how we can all be manipulated by constant images of grown men crying. This was the media milking the accident for all it was worth and I felt uncomfortable with it.

I feel particularly sad for the bowler whose bouncing delivery caused the accident. How can he possibly cope with this outpouring of grief? How can he live a normal life after this event? Won’t he be tormented by guilt for the rest of his life?

We should get some perspective on the subject, but that is impossible when we are at the mercy of a rapacious sensation-seeking media.

We should offer our condolences to Phillip Hughes’ family and hope that he can rest in peace.