As a woman of color, I've rocked MAC since I bought my very first foundation.
So when I heard the brand was giving away free lipsticks to celebrate National Lipstick Day, I was READY.
Although MAC (and numerous publications) claimed there was no catch at all — just free lipsticks! Hooray for everyone! — when the day of the giveaway arrived, thousands of people, myself included, suddenly realized that we'd been scammed.
Just 30 minutes after the store had opened, there was already a LONG line at the MAC counter I went to in Downtown Brooklyn.
I thought, "Oh, well the line is long but MAC probably has a lot of lipsticks to give away, right?" WRONG.
I waited in line for 45 minutes. But as soon as I reached the doors of the store, MAC employees told me that they'd run out of free lipsticks!
And all I could do is laugh. After less than an hour and a half, the store was COMPLETELY out of free lipsticks? One makeup artist felt so bad, she gave me a concealer sample.
I couldn't fathom such a major makeup brand being out of stock so quickly, especially in a beauty hub like New York City.
However, after speaking with several MAC counters and stores, I learned that most were grossly understocked with the giveaway shades. One counter only had 11.
Many MAC reps encouraged me to go to standalone stores rather than counters, since (supposedly) they'd have more in stock. So I called all the MAC stores in my area, and this is what I was told:
The MAC store in Union Square didn't receive a new shipment of the up-for-grabs lipsticks, and simply gave away whatever they had left in stock.
The MAC counter at Macy's in Herald Square had the largest quantity of giveaway lipsticks, which the employee estimated at about 500, but quickly sold out of those, too.
The MAC store in Grand Central only had 84, but didn't even get the chance to give them all away since the lines became so disruptive.
There was only one counter on Fifth Avenue that I spoke with that seemed to have things together: According to the employees I spoke with, they started with a quantity in the hundreds, but only had 40 left as of noon.
I've always been a major fan of the brand, and have religiously bought its products since I started wearing makeup. However, this giveaway made me question my MAC Girl status.
When I first started wearing makeup, MAC was THE ONLY brand that I was allowed to wear. My mother and many Black women in my family trust its products to complement our skin tones. And as a woman of color, it's always been an uphill battle to find a brand that has both the quality and consistency that works for me. However, spending a Saturday morning in line with hundreds of other furious MAC-lovers made me want to move on to another brand. Possibly for good.
I love National Lipstick Day as much, if not more, than the next girl rocking Ruby Woo— but taking advantage of your loyal customers is definitely not the way to go. Next time MAC advertises free lipstick, I'll avoid the scam and just stay home.