Last weekend, I went to the Mac/Estée Lauder Warehouse Sale in Markham, Ontario (10801 McCowan Rd, Markham, ON L3P 3J3). The sale takes place 4 times a year (March, June, September and December) and tickets are fairly hard to come by unless you work somewhere that’s associated with Mac or Estée Lauder. To be honest, I had never heard of the sale until my sister asked me if I was interested in going.
My sister got us the tickets from her work, she was able to get tickets for the Saturday and the sale went from 9am-6pm. In the days leading up to the sale, I was watching a lot of hauls and tips/tricks on YouTube. Most ladies that I watched videos of were going on Friday or Sunday. Friday is the best day because once things are sold out, that’s it. So Friday is the best day to go if you want to see the whole selection of products they offer. Sunday is the best day for deals because things are reduced even more and if you’re on a budget, it allows you to control how much you get because there is a smaller selection. One YouTuber suggested that it’s better to go around 9:30 because then all of the early birds/eager beavers have gotten into the sale.
The tickets are per person: One ticket = one person can enter. Some people in the line behind us thought one ticket could be for multiple people. There are three different coloured tickets- one per each day of the sale (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). No one under 16 is allowed inside the sale. The limit per person was $800 (before taxes). This doesn’t include top of the line skincare and fragrances because you pay for those separately.
The products available at the sale are mostly discontinued or limited edition/holiday sets. Go in with a general idea of what you want/need, i.e. I need a black felt tip eyeliner, I want an Estée Lauder or MAC lipstick. Don’t look up lipstick/lip gloss shades of products beforehand because chances are you won’t find the ones you want. If you want to get powder or liquid foundation, know your shade beforehand (there’s no guarantee that they will have it, but at least you will know which shade you are). The foundation brands they had were: Clinique, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Smashbox and Estee Lauder.
Building 1– Powder makeup, blush, eye makeup (shadows, mascara), $4 bins, fragrances, various gift sets, skincare
Building 2– lipstick, lip gloss, fragrances, brushes, various gift sets, skincare
Building 3– more skincare, nail polish, high-end fragrances and skincare, Bobbi Brown and Tom Ford cosmetics, check out and sorting table
Along the walls, they have the fragrances and kits that are in boxes that you can grab yourself. Each of the products are in individual bags and sealed with a price tag on the product. In the middle of the rooms, they have swatch tables and an area where you ‘order’ your products. The products are taped to the table and you can swatch them yourself or just look at the swatch on the piece of paper. Below is a picture of what they look like: they have the product brand in the top left corner, the shade and in the top right is a number that you need to write down to ‘order’ your product. Once you’re done writing down the things you want, they have different sections to line up to get your product(s) from the associates. Make sure you write down the number because they won’t know what the product is if you just write down the brand and product name. There were different sections, i.e. you get your face powder/blush in one section, eyeshadows in another area and the palettes/kits in another. Make sure you stay in the area and write down numbers that pertain to the area or have different pieces of paper for each.
Behind the tables where you ‘order’ your products, they have boxes of the products labelled with the number and you give them your piece of paper and they grab the products for you. Then, they bag and seal them and write down how many items you got and how much they cost, i.e. if you bought 4 products worth $10, they will write ‘4×10.’ You are not allowed to open the bags unless you’re at a sorting table. Make sure your bags are sealed properly after they hand it to you because when you go to check out, they will not accept it if the bag is open. This is to prevent people from adding products into the bags. The product tables have tissue boxes and baskets of scrap paper to write down the numbers of the products, but the baskets were empty until we got to the next building. So here’s a few things to bring to the sale:
- small notepad or scraps of paper
- tissues or makeup wipes
- bring a bottle of water and maybe a granola bar (we were worried security would take any liquids from us, but they didn’t make us open our bags for them, they just had officers at the entrance and in the last building)
- $20 cash for the charity bag
Thoughts: I would definitely go again, but not any time soon since I spent so much money. I don’t know if it was a one-off thing or if they have the tickets available at my sister’s work throughout the year…I guess we’ll see in December if they have them. I think in terms of deals, the best ones were cosmetics and fragrances. The sale has been going on for a few years now, so it’s very organized. The only complaint is that maybe they should have more people collecting things for you because the line moves fairly slowly when you’re picking up your products. Some of the skincare products seemed quite expensive and would eat up a big chunk of your $800 limit. I also prefer products from The Face Shop anyway, so makeup and fragrances were more worth it for me. I’m sure the Bumble & Bumble products were fairly good deals if you’re into it, but some products were still $30. I tend not to spend a whole lot on hair products (I mostly buy from Shoppers Drug Mart or Rexall). If there’s specific Clinique products that you like, you will probably find it. They had a lot of 2-packs that were really good deals. I’m a little frustrated because I paid for the eyeshadow quad and nail lacquer and then we got it for free, but how was I supposed to know.
Things I will do if I go again:
- eat breakfast before going, I only ate a quick snack so I got pretty hungry once 12pm came around
- write down the numbers in order so you get your products faster (if your numbers are all out of order, it takes longer for the associate to find them). This makes their life easier and your wait time shorter
- take pictures of the products I wrote down on my piece of paper (I bought a lot of similar coloured lipsticks and I went a little overboard in the lipstick/lip gloss section…you’ll see in my Haul) OR try to swatch multiple lipsticks at a time (since they are taped to the table, it’s hard to get a good swatch, either you swipe your hand across the lipsticks or use your finger)
- use my phone to look up prices of products (most things were more than 50% off, but some products like the MAC eyeshadow palettes were only about $15 off)
- the way they have the buildings organized, I think I might actually go to the last building first to get the higher end products and then work my way back to the first building. Also, the higher end products are pretty good deals so there’s a higher chance of them being sold out once you get there
- If I see anyone leaving the sale, maybe I will ask them what’s in the charity bag and free gift so that I don’t purchase the same thing
UPDATE: I went to the sale again in December and went on the Friday morning to see what it’s like on the first day. It was surprisingly busy for a Friday. The doors opened at 10am and I got there at 11:20 and waited to get in for an hour. Once inside, the lines for the luxury skincare went from building 3, into the hallway and part way into building 2. My mom lined up for a product I wanted and she moved about 10 spots up after an hour or so. Since I only wanted one product, I told her to just forget it because she wasn’t even close and there’s no knowing if they will still have it when she got there. So if you go on Friday, expect a really long line for the luxury skincare. As usual, the lipstick line was also long, but all the other lines were fairly short. I was at the sale from 12:30-3pm and probably a third of that time was spent waiting in line and the rest was spent browsing the sale.
Here are my thoughts on which day is the best depending on what you want to get (this is if you are going in the morning):
Friday- foundations, concealers, perfume sets
Saturday- not as busy as Friday because it’s the second day of the sale and not as busy as Sunday because the deals aren’t as good. Selection is pretty good.
Sunday- less selection (so if you want to limit yourself, this is the best day to go because there is less to choose from), but I’ve heard the deals are better
Thanks for reading! Have you ever been to the warehouse sale?