A Happy Peach

Things that make my heart smile…

Problem Solving the Limited Edition Issue…


For the most part I think companies create limited edition products for various reasons:

  • To create a buzz by making it seem precious and scarce.
  • They aren’t sure they want to add it to their permanent line so they produce a limited quantity to test market.
  • There may in fact be a scarce quantity of raw materials for that particular product.
  • They are aware of a limited consumer interest and want to be able to maintain that sections interest so they manufacture a small production run for those customers.
  • As well as various production, distribution, marketing, etc issues (including but not limited to costs involved).

But that leaves us the consumer with the following quandary:

If I want to purchase an item that is limited edition and out of stock online what can I do?

Well that depends on the manufacturer. While one option is eBay, there is always a calculated risks one takes. The other option is to do a bit more digging/research, because chances are the product you’ve been looking for is out there right now waiting for you. Here’s my list of stalking moves:

  1. The first thing to do is check your local department store, just give them a buzz and see if they may have it in stock. Sometimes that happens (I saw Estée Lauder’s Silver Leaf Eye Creme still on the floor). If they do have them hold it for you.
  2. Another option is to find it at a discount store, like Cosmetics Company Stores. I believe The Company Store is actually an Estée Lauder outlet. Not only may you find your dream product, but you can get it on sale. These stores are normally at outlet malls, so look for them there. I would call before trekking out to an outlet store, just to make sure you don’t waste a trip.
  3. I don’t know if other companies do this, but  EstéeLauder’s headquarters will help you source the product through their Gone but not forgotten program. Meaning you call  the cooperate offices at 800-216-7173 and they will locate Estée Lauder or MAC products for you, if it still exists. There are some rules, they say it is limited to six items which you can purchase, and that they will only search for items in their main line (however I had a friend who got a seasonal product found and sent to her). You will also have to be patient as it will take a while, after you leave your request, for the representatives to go through an exhaustive list of options. However, when they find it they ship it to you. You will have to pay a nominal shipping fee, but sometimes that’s the price you pay. This is also only available in the U.S.

I wonder if other brands offer this service….hmmm….

2 thoughts on “Problem Solving the Limited Edition Issue…

  1. Hmmmm…yeah, the eternal conundrum: why “limited”? Just the word itself sounds exclusionary, which is both something to be reviled and desired, wouldn’t you say? We all want to belong to something that only few can, yet hate being singled out. Personally, I believe that cosmetics companies use the “limited” moniker for one reason only: to generate an extreme and exaggerated interest in a product for sales purposes. If you fail to get something that’s being touted as limited, it will be lesson learned: the next time a limited edition anything rolls around, you will be practically frothing at the mouth to be the first in line, regardless of whether or not you really want the item or if it even suits you. On the plus side, the more higher end cosmetic companies that do indulge in this behaviour, tend to put out a product of substance and with superior ingredients, not to mention either in a unique shade or finish, which in part justifies it being limited; after all, why go through the exercise of tracking a coveted item down if every 2nd person will own it as well? I figure that if I’m paying a premium price for a limited item, I deserve to not have to share it with half the population (…that reeks of material justification, doesn’t it? lol!!) But I’ve been frustrated with this whole “limited” thing to – I just remind myself that for every “the one” that got away, there will always be another, newer, better and more exciting! Of course, that doesn’t take into account some past items I missed out on that are now such classics……darn! Now I’ve gone a stirred myself up all over again!!! Thanks for letting me ramble, D!

    • I love your rambles, because I feel the exact same way. It’s a bit comforting to know that someone else shares my beliefs. I come from a business background and part of our marketing course is learning to create exclusivity as a branding tactic, yes they teach this to us. It’s human nature to want to be special, we all want to have nice things that make us feel good. Part of that feeling stems from how special something is, it’s a value that we determine and a lot of times not based in logic rather in feelings and sentiment. One way to do that is to limit the quantity available, once limited there becomes a manufactured scarcity. Now that’s what makes it very gross, that it is unnatural but one that is contrived. This sort of exclusionary tactic can backfire if customers realize and resent the tactic. Think of Feline from MAC, it’s almost a running gag, they trot that thing out almost every year. It’s just a black eyeliner, yes it’s sooty and easy to apply, but guess what it leaves me looking like a disheveled clown with it’s over anxious smudging. I think MAC has done so many collections each year, that it’s lost some of it’s fervor. I am not as interested as I was before, I still peek, but I don’t feel that excitement, and the way some of the collections seem to linger I may not be the only one.
      I do see a quality difference in so many brands. Like Estee Lauder’s products have such better quality than MAC, and for the price point it should. But they’re both owned by the same company. MAC of course was always about pigmentation as it is an artist line, but guess what your mass consumer is the general public. That whole BB Cream online just annoys me, it sold out the same day and is only sold online. It was an Asian only product, but now they brought it here. And now it’s out of stock but ships soon. All of these caveats are so frustrating. I don’t even get to try it on before I buy and you only have one shade. What is that? OK, now I’m fired up. I just wish they would show some interest in how we feel. I wish that companies would distribute products in a way that met the needs of their consumer rather than manipulating them. Think about it a supplier would never do this sort of thing to a manufacturer, they would lose that customer. But because we as beauty buyers are individuals they have succeeded in toying with us for years. Maybe we need some sort of beauty committee, something that can help us convey our point and stop them from controlling us. Oh wow, I really got into it, didn’t I?

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