Voxy’s Black Friday CCO Adventure

By Voxy  

My local CCO at 11:59 pm, mere seconds before the rush

My local CCO at 11:59 pm, mere seconds before the rush

Ahhh, Black Friday. The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd. The pushing, the shoving, the pistol duels over parking spaces… what’s not to love? Too bad it only comes once a year.

I’m not normally a Black-Friday-Early-Riser-Get-To-The-Mall-Before-4am-Or-All-The-Good-Things-Will-Be-Gone-GONE-I-TELL-YOU kind of person. I don’t camp out before movie premieres or new Apple launches. (I did go to the Apple store at the ungodly hour of 6:15 am, 45 minutes before it opened, on the day the iPhone 3GS came out, at which point I discovered that there were 74 other people who were even less godly than me and who had been there for hours.)

So when I heard that the outlet mall near-ish to me was set to open at 12:01 am on Black Friday, scant hours after the mass consumption of turkey and stuffing, I rolled my eyes and said, “Those crazy people! Who would go there at midnight?” And then, I had a nap (see above re: mass consumption) and woke up around 8:30 pm and thought, “What the heck? Maybe I’ll go, just for a lark.”

The only real reason I was going was that there is a CCO (Cosmetics Company Outlet) store in this particular outlet center, and I’d never been to one. CCOs are owned by Estee Lauder and sell cosmetic and fragrance products from a range of Estee Lauder lines, including MAC, Clinque, and Bobbi Brown — and if you’re a Prescriptives fan despondent over the imminent death of the line, you will probably be able to find Prescriptives products at CCOs for some time to come. While you’re unlikely to find products from the most recent seasonal or holiday collections, you will probably find some classic collection items as well as palettes, kits, and limited edition products from prior seasons or holidays. (Remember that the “12M” or “24M” you see on product labels refers to the length of time the product is in good condition after opening, not after purchase. Last year’s lipsticks and blushes are still perfectly good, if you’re buying them new.) They won’t have a complete product list of any single line, so it’s a bit hit-or-miss. They get shipments in about once a month and it’s hard to predict what will be in them.

But the best thing is that prices are about 30% below retail! (And because it was Black Friday Madness, I got an extra 10% off on top of that. Insanity has its rewards.)

Was it a zoo? Absolutely. I got to the outlets at about 11:20, and as I was on the interstate approaching the exit for the outlets, I could already see this enormous line of red taillights ahead of me. Once again, I was completely outclassed by people who were far more interested in shopping than I. They had police directing traffic at the various intersections, which was nice, and they waved you right past parking lots that were full, so you didn’t waste time or patience trolling for a space when there weren’t any, but it still took over 20 minutes to find a lot with spaces available. But I went because a) I was awake, b) I was feeling adventurous, and c) I wanted to be able to look at MAC products without having to go to a MAC store or counter, where you can’t really browse and have to ask the sales associate to see most products, requiring that you go in with loins girded against sales pressure. CCOs are like Sephoras or ULTAs, in which the products are accessible and testers are available. In some cases (lipstick, lip gloss), they only have testers out, and you take the tester to the counter and they get you an unopened box of the actual product.

So, what did I come home with? (In online cosmetics parlance, this is referred to as “hauling,” as in “Look what I hauled from the CCO!” I am not a Neanderthal. I do not “haul.” I “purchase.” I occasionally “score.” But I do not “haul.”)


bb lip 1Bobbi Brown lipstick in (believe it or not) “Ruby.” It’s not the bright rich red I think of when I think of rubies, but it’s a lovely darker wearable burgundy shade. I wanted to try the darker lip that is popular this fall. Swatches to follow in a review post.


mac lipbalm 1MAC Tendertone lip balms (SPF 12) in Sweet and Nice (left) and Deep Sigh. Reviews to follow.


mac lipglassMAC Lipglass highly pigmented lip gloss in Cult of Cherry.


mac purple 3MAC Richmetal Highligher in Dark Influence. Haven’t used this yet.


… and a little MAC brush (194) for applying concealer in hard-to-reach areas. MAC brushes are beloved by many makeup aficionados, though they are certainly not the only options on the market and in fact you can get brushes of almost-as-good quality that do basically the same things by going to your local craft or art supply store and buying artist paintbrushes.

It was good to be able to test the products, and the discount certainly didn’t hurt. The sales associates were friendly and calm (laudable for Black Friday madness), and it was a pleasant experience overall, although next time I’ll go when it isn’t a major National Shopping Event and will be less crowdy. To see if there is a CCO near you, check the list here.

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One Comment

  1. avatar Inthelab
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh I love CCO, even when it’s not Black Friday. My favorite purchase: a rhinestone rocking horse compact holding solid perfume (White Linen) for $30.

    At some outlet malls, there’s also a Lancome/L’Oreal/Biotherm/forgot-what-else store = 2 hauls in 1 trip.


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