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Sephora Would Like 20 Minutes of Your Time

Photo: Denise Taylor/Getty Images

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At 6:11 p.m. EST last night, Sephora sent through a survey about its Beauty Insider program to select members. The email warned recipients that the questionnaire would take 20 minutes, then offered 100 rewards points for their troubles. 20 minutes?? But 100 points!

It wasn't even sent to me, but to my colleague Tiffany, who describes herself as "lower level Beauty Insider, like the people who just discovered what essences are" as well as a woman who "has to run right now; can someone fill this out for me?" As we say in the business, anything for P O I N T S, whether they be mine or someone else's. I volunteered.

The survey, which reaches participants' inboxes twice a year  at most according to the fine print, involves questions about what, how often, and where you buy your products, plus a few different versions of "would you watch hot, Sephora-produced YouTube content?" I'd link to the survey here, but you must be chosen to take it. Check your promo tab.

Not to brag, but it only took me 11 minutes and two seconds. I am probably a Beauty Insider savant and am certainly a reckless supporter of gratuitous internet content. But completing the survey in almost half the prescribed amount of time it takes to get enough points for a travel-sized sea salt spray or something is doable for chosen laypeople as well; there are just a few curve balls you should be prepared for. The first one is math. Percentages, specifically:

When you replenish a product ( i.e. run out of a product, then go buy a new/another one), about what percentage of the time would you say you end up buying...

— % The exact same brand/product/color

— % The same brand, but different formulation (e.g. liquid instead of powder)

— %The same brand and product, but different color

— % A totally different brand/product

My recommendation is that you don't think too hard about this one. I could have shaved 30 seconds off my Personal Record (PR) if I didn't spend it adding all these numbers up to a hundred and then cross-checking my work with a calculator because I didn't want the survey machine to think it was dealing with a dummy who doesn't know her basic addition from her elbow. Nothing is judging you! Especially not machines! We're at least 63 years out from that particular AI future!


Where do you typically tend to go first to replenish your beauty products?

1. I check first to see if anywhere has a discount or cheaper price
2. I check first to see if anywhere has a promotion (e.g. with purchase)
3. Whatever store happens to be the most convenient when I think about it
4. Whenever I can earn the most points in their loyalty program
5. Where I bought the product last time
6. Other (please specify)
I chose three pretty much immediately, but then this survey question led to more questions, like, "am I always just taking the fastest, most convenient route to satiating my wants? What about my needs? What am I missing by privileging efficiency over everything else? Is this any way to go through life?" Introspection will cost you another three to 45 minutes. Barrel through.

This brings us to the real doozy:

Which of the following best describes how you feel regarding time?

1. I never have enough of it; I feel like I'm always pressed for time
2. I'm usually pressed for it, but occasionally have some spare time now and again
3. Occasionally I'm pressed for it, but usually feel pretty good about the amount of time I have on my hands for everything
4. I have plenty of it; I feel like I can get everything done I need to do and still have some time to spare

This question is a reminder that you're taking a survey to get some points for a free mini tube of Nars lip crayon instead of chasing your dreams. It's reminder of your unrelenting busy-person lifestyle. Did you choose this path? Did it choose you? Is this all there is? Let me refer you to the wikiHow page (with pictures!) for dealing with an existential crisis because if you let yourself go down this road, you're never going to get those points in a convenient amount of time.

The rest is pretty straight forward, so with these tips, you're looking at a cool eight minutes of survey taking (probably a little longer than the time it took to skim this). Remember, just keep your eyes on the prize (100 points) and away from the darkening void!