Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Moral Issues - Part 1

I think I’ve learned just about all I’m going to learn from my mistakes in 2005. In any case, it is nearly the end of January, so as of today, my thoughts are firmly planted in the year of The World Cup.

That said, in keeping with the theme of themes, this week I will pose some important and enigmatic moral questions of our time. I hope to get some input.

Issue #1: Moral Duty With Respect to Hair Products


Being a novice hair dyer but looking for a change, I purchased the $30 hair dye and highlight kit by L’Oreal.

The kit was called “French Éclair” and the pouty-lipped beauty on the box promised hair that would scream sophistication, fun, and cream-filled pastries.

The base colour was to be an intense chocolate brown and the highlights would be golden.

D and I drank a few beers* and then set to work on my hair.

About one hour later, I rinsed the highlight goop from my hair to reveal a head of fluorescent-orange hair. I was Ronald McDonald.

I salvaged whatever brown base dye was still left in the bottle and slapped it all over my head in an effort to tame the orange highlights. It kind of worked and the result was a head of uniformly auburn hair.

Upset by the trauma of clown hair, and incensed that I had purchased the most expensive dye known to woman, only to have it ruin my hair, I demanded my money back from Shoppers Drug Mart.

After many calls back and forth with the lovely Makeup Expert:

Her: I’m not sure we can give you your money back, since you already opened the product and used it.
Me: Yes, but that’s the point, it didn’t work
Her: Yes, but you used it. I’m only authorized to take back unopened products.
Me: Look, what would you do if someone bought a chocolate bar and when the customer took a bite it was rotten and moldy?
Her: I would refund the money.
Me: So then?
Her: [blank stare]

I did get my money refunded in the end. But here is where the moral dilemma comes in.

It is now just over a week later, and I now really like my hair.

[* I am certain that the beer had nothing to do with what ensued. The instructions were read thoroughly.]

Moral Question:

Do I now have a moral obligation to return the money since I am, in fact, satisfied with the product outcome?

My thoughts:


While I may be happy with the outcome, this was not the outcome that was bargained for. I still do not have what was promised to me: i.e. golden highlights.

I don’t think that refunds on hair dye should be made on purely subjective factors like “do I like it” or “does it make me look sexy.”

The fact that I like my now auburn hair is irrelevant.

In the realm of hair dye, the only relevant basis upon which to refund or not refund hair dye is how closely, from an objective perspective, does the dye do what is promised.

Here, L’Oreal failed to deliver what was promised and so I deserve a refund. I do not need to give the money back.

Please feel free to agree or disagree.


Blogger Lisa said...

Well, according to dad, we should stick it to Shoppers Drugmart, who are as evil as Wallmart. That being said, he would say keep the money. Me, I think you should meet the moral dilemma in the middle. Reinvest the money back into the company, by buying yourself $30 of candy only from Shoppers Drugmart. Then, give half of it to poor street children. Then you are robin hood. Problem solved.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep the money. It's not what the box promised nor is it what you expected so the fact that you're happy with it now is irrelevant. Besides that, you had to go through the hassle of getting your money refunded.
Does your hair now scream sophistication and fun? Is your life now overflowing with cream-filled pastries? The former is possible but the latter is unlikely so the kit was misleading you. Keep the money. Cream-filled pastries are things to be taken seriously.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To defend Loreal, they do recommend you do a strand test before using the entire product (though the main purpose is to test for allergic/adverse reactions). They also have a disclaimer on the box saying that the results may vary depending on your original hair colour, whether or not your hair has been treated, and the general condition and type of hair you have. It's always a gamble with these things. That's why it only costs $30 as opposed to $100 at the salon. At the salon at least they will redo it for you if you are not happy with the results. I would not have returned it. I would have sent a letter to the company instead explaining the situation, and then sat back and waited for them to send a million free samples and coupons.
-Loreal Representative

11:49 AM  
Blogger seiren said...

keep the money and put it towards a trip with me to london's fabulous side street salon where the results of highlighting are sophisticated, fun, sexy and always what you expected. they dont promise pastries but they do provide all-you-can-drink delightful capuccinos while you're there... thats gotta be worth the $140

12:04 PM  
Blogger Nadine said...

No, my life most certainly is not overflowing with cream-filled pastries! With respect to the L'Oreal rep, I agree that one is supposed to do a strand test first. But even if I had done a strand test and my strand turned orange, I think I would still be entitled to a refund - it would nonetheless be a failed product.

Mmm. I'm tempted by the cappuccinos!

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loreal Rep here again... if you had done a strand test and returned the product, then by all means I would have encouraged you to keep the money. It's the fact that you used the entire product and then returned it that makes me feel it is not ethical for you to keep the money.

8:19 PM  
Blogger tre said...

i agree with the l'oreal rep.

it's like buying a can of paint and painting it on your wall and then realizing that it's turning out not quite as nicely as you'd expected it to - maybe because you're painting over brown and the old colour is showing through (even after 2 coats). or maybe the lighting is different in your place as opposed to the magazine pictures you got the idea from. print pictures also tend to distort true colouring. but then you learn to live with it. paint stores don't offer refunds on used cans of paint (or anything tinted and paid for, for that matter), the same should be the case for hair dye.

i don't think comparing a botched dye job to a moldy chocolate bar is quite fair, however, props to you for managing to get a refund. in future i would consider the following cliches:

1. buyer beware
2. you get what you pay for
3. hindsight is 20/20
4. the best laid plans...

... yadda yadda yadda. cheers!

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nadine? where are you? i log on to disappointment yet again.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Nadine said...

Thanks very much for checking in -I'm still here, just busy and currently away from Toronto. Things should settle down next weekend and I hope to get back to blogging - I'm missing it!

6:40 PM  

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