My Hunt For MAC Stereo Rose MSF

July 8, 2010
I rarely write about bad shopping experiences, but finding the re-released version of MAC Stereo Rose was such a hassle I am making a pact with myself not to do this again. At the end of the day, I have my new Stereo Rose, but sometimes the ends do not justify the means. As a customer I am frustrated. Frustrated with poor inventory management, over-sold pre-sales and the limited-edition-factor of these “hot today, forgotten tomorrow” items.
The most helpful part of this post will be a comparison of the original 2005 Stereo Rose to the new re-released version of the 2010 Stereo Rose. I will save my rantings for the end. Here they are photographed together, side by side (per Lakshmi’s request).

The new 2010 version is very similar to the original 2005 version but not quite the same. The difference is subtle. This is what I see in comparing the two:

  • Original 2005: slightly lighter in the compact, more pink on the skin
  • New 2010: slightly darker in the compact, more orangey-peach on the skin

I prefer the original version. When applied with a light hand it just glows. The new one is very similar – I know some of you won’t be able to tell the difference from the photos. It’s just slightly different in the undertone. It’s more peachy-orange, still lovely, but not different enough to justify owning both. (Update: the new one I just bought is being re-gifted to a friend who was also searching for this.)

A disclaimer for what you read below: this is my own personal experience and opinion. I do not expect anything to be done about this, it’s just an expression of what I feel as a customer.

I arrived at Nordstrom today to pick up my pre-sale items from In The Groove (Stereo Rose MSF, Soften The Mood Trio and Happy Together Blush) and was shocked to find out that they did not have my Stereo Rose. Shocked because I had done my pre-sale with my sales associate a week before the release date. As we were on the phone she said, “tell me what you want and I will grab them as you list them because I know if I don’t grab them now, someone will take them.” She ended our phone conversation by telling me she had “grabbed and bagged” all my items and that they were “safe” for me to pick up on Thursday.

Yet when I arrived today I was told many of the pre-sales were not fulfilled because of something that “happened” and they were not sure what had occurred. Not the fault of my sales associate though. I saw on the handwritten pre-sale slip in big letters, “DO NOT TOUCH,” bless her heart. I heard that someone went through all the pre-sales and removed the Stereo Roses but it was kept a bit hushed and nobody could confirm.

They called the MAC Store for me and they luckily still had some. They did say over the phone, “we can only hold it if you literally run up here right away.” So run I did. When I got to the MAC store, I went to the cashier and said “I have Stereo Rose on hold, Nordstrom just called seconds ago.” I received a shocked look followed by, “What? We don’t hold the new collection items anymore for anyone …” but she saw the box with my name on it to her right and said, “Oh, HERE it is, good thing a manager didn’t see this.” I did thank her for making an exception. I explained my situation with my pre-sale and she said, “you know, you are the 4th customer who has come here and said that is what happened to them too.”

So at the end of the day I have my new Stereo Rose. Why I went through the extra effort to call ahead of time to do a pre-sale and run to 2 different stores to get it – I have no idea. Makeup just not worth this kind of “tracking down”. Chances are MAC will re-release this again. It won’t stop me from shopping at Nordstrom and MAC. I value Nordstrom for their excellent customer service. Especially the women I shop with personally. I know this wasn’t necessarily their fault. But the fact that it did occur is bothersome.

I realize the limited edition factor creates buzz and attention, but I feel bad for those women who couldn’t get this. I don’t know the reasoning behind why Nordstrom counters were sent such a limited supply. It could be for a variety of factors, economic downturn/struggles, loss of profit from unsold inventory (hence decreasing the supply) or something entirely different. I just heard they only received 6 pieces of Stereo Rose which I think is poor inventory management/forecasting.

If you are desperate to find one, I recommend checking out MAC stores, Macy’s and Bloomingdales as they might have more inventory than online distributors.

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  • Gorgeous pictures!! I am excited to use this much coveted item!! The texture seems very soft and not at all chunky.. do you think MAC's Superdupernatural Mineralize blush would be a good dupe for it? Thanks for this post! πŸ™‚

  • LS

    this is pretty frustrating and stupid. i had similar experience before but making a customer run over to another store is just not acceptable. at least you got your stuff.

  • That is so annoying! I'm glad you got one in the end- how more annoying would it be if you didn't get your hands on one?! I do agree with you, the original one is better. I actually decided to skip on Stereo Rose because it wasn't "pink" enough for me. I told my sister to get one because I know it'll suit her skintone better. If they repromoted the 2005 version, I'd be all over that! I'm glad you came out of that in one piece haha, now you can relax πŸ™‚ xx

  • Great comparison! I never understood the hype for Stereo Rose :/ It's terrible and disappointing that you would have to experience that, especially with a presale item!

  • I completely sympathise with your frustration on the ridiculous situation with limited edition products. I live in Korea and the problem is even worse here as we so few MAC counters and they don't send enough stock for the country. Our releases are always several weeks behind the states. In the mean time all the information about the new products is circulating the web and by the time the new products drop on counter, they've all been reserved and paid for by eager make-up collectors. Forget swatching testers in-store or trying before you buy. It's simply not possible any more. I could go into a longer rant about why companies do this and the reasons for this mad frenzy every season (the internet and we rabid make-up collectors are to blame too) but I'll just end up writing an essay! What situations like this do though is push me towards the quieter high end counters like Estee Lauder, Lancome and Dior. I get great quality products, service and at a reasonable pace without the push and pull going on at MAC.

  • What a hassle! I had a similar experience with Marine Life from To The Beach…I bought it pre-sale at my Nordstrom only to be called the next day and told it wasn't available. My Nordstrom and Macy's SAs told me then that all the counters only get 6 of everything in a new collection though??

    Sorry you had to deal with this irritation. I had a somewhat sour taste in my life from my experience and avoided In The Groove because of that. πŸ™

  • I love this color!! I am definitely on a hunt of it now! I actually was really interested in it before the collection came out, but I'm not sure how shimmery it is. But I think I will give it a try! Thanks for the review Sabrina!(You have the same name as my cousin, BTW^0^)

  • Dia

    "Makeup just not worth this kind of 'tracking down'. Chances are MAC will re-release this again." I totally agree with those two statements. When I was told a few days ago that Stereo Rose was already pre-saled out at my Nordies, I decided to skip the whole collection. I don't want to take a day to track down a mere blush just to see if it'd look good on my complexion or not. (Been there, done that! ;-)) I'm surprised that you'd have such a poor experience with Nordstrom. Hopefully the culprit or problem will be found so that your next presale is trouble free.
    I was really curious to see how this SR compared with the original. Thanks for the pictures and commentary!!

  • Thanks for the pics, I wondered how the new would compare to the old. I like the old one more too.

    I wasn't going to give into the hype but my sister ended up asking if I could find one for her so I went on the hunt, luckily I only had to go to 2 stores to find it.

    Sorry to hear about your experience, it makes one wary about how reliable pre-sale is for coveted items.

  • Anonymous

    My Macy's only got three. I didn't both checking Nordstrom or any other stores. Why release a product with such little inventory? what's the point?

  • m

    The same thing happened with me today with Nordstrom and a MAC store. It was extremely frustrating. I did end up buying it in the end but they really do need to do a better job forecasting sales.

  • From what I understand from an employee, some other MA's have gone through bags like yours to sell them to their customers. It's caused a lot of problems at Nordstrom when someone does this to their workmate.
    Thanks for the comparison photos, it makes me feel better about not getting this MSF.

  • Choka

    I had a similar problem with Nordstrom and Marine Life. I bought it online as soon as it hit and 3 weeks later still hadn't gotten it. When I called they told me that it had sold out in a couple of days and somehow my order got misplaced and I wouldn't be getting it. I was pretty unhappy since I didn't even try to get in in store since I thought I had already bought it.

    This time I just decided I could live without the hassle^_^

  • omg i so want this msf. At first i was just on the hunt for By candlelight but now that i see so many gorgeous swatches, it makes me want it too!!!

  • The same experience happened to me with the "To the Beach" collection. The sales assistant put away two of the "Sea Horse" blush for us and when we got to the MAC counter at 6:00 they were sold out including ours that had been put away. The sales assistant was horrified and phoned every store in Toronto and found them in a town about an hour north of Toronto. She had them shipped to our homes at their expense. Very good customer service. The biggest joke was that after one or two swatches with a brush the gold was gone off the sea horse and it didn't take much more to render it just an ordinary pan of (very) pink blush. I have been wearing MAC since the line started here in Toronto and I do love their products but I feel the aggressive marketing and extreme hype around the LEs is a bit much. I didn't even go near their new launch. Of course they can make more product but the "buzz" of the search just generates more sales. A far superior product for my money this summer was the Peony collection by L'Occitane. Each product has a peony etched into the bronzer/illuminator/shadow and they stay. They are gorgeous quality products, well pigmented, beautifully fragrenced and no hype.
    You can read about these on our blog. Thanks for your post!!

  • I find that if you just swatch from the pink/coral parts you get more of a pinky swatch, whereas with the bronze you get more orangey coral. I don't have the original though, so I can't say if the new one is different.

  • Thanks so much for posting the side by side, it actually makes me think that the 2010 version isn't worth all the hype. I mean they are both pretty, but the original is GORGEOUS. Love that extra pink factor. The 2010 version should be called Stereo Peach. LOL I had no luck getting my hands on Stereo Rose today, I might keep trying, but refuse to go to eBay.

  • Wow, what a hassle! Beautiful pictures though. Thank you for comparing the old and new Stereo Rose. I'm debating whether or not I really need this one. Probably not, as I do have quite a few blushes.

  • Thank you for sharing your experience. I cannot say for sure, but I would not be surprised if someone removes it so that he or she can later sell some overpriced pieces on eBay. I mean is not that interesting that even ages since the original collection release you can still find iconic pieces being sold there? And I am not talking about a person who is selling one item, but those who are selling three or more same.

  • thanks for the comparison! i was able to grab one and i have my own little story about it:
    i also feel bad for the girls who didn't get one, i know exactly how they feel because often i didn't get what was on my wishlist and especially now that there was such a fuss about this product i feel like mac could have produced way more! in the end, i think it's a great product, but not the greates product i have ever seen!

  • i work at nordstrom and have good friends at the mac counter… please write a comment card regarding this to nordstrom. and anyone else on here that has had the same experience! the problem is nordstrom releases these collections online the day before the collections hit the stores and the online people come and take the in-store product to fulfill the orders. basically, the mac associates get screwed because they have little to nothing from the collection to actually set out on the day of the release. it's not fair to them or the customer!! i went to check out the collection yesterday and they were already sold out of the majority of the lipsticks, the petticoat msf and one of the blushes! it's maddening. on behalf of nordstrom i apologize!!

  • I'm glad you got it in the end! Seems like an awful hassle though!! I see the slight difference between them alright, it's minuscule but I see it! I prefer the original aswell =)

  • Thank you for this comparison. I was not as interested in MAC at the time that it was first released and have been curious to see some good photos of the original. Based on your swatches, the original does look prettier! I phoned in my order at Nordstrom to pick up tomorrow, and even though I pre-paid I'm worried it might not be there…I know what you mean about poor customer service. I can definitely understand your frustration!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Lina,

    I have been reading plenty of similar stories and think even less of MAC than before. With Nordie's terrific CS, I find it hard to believe they had much/if any control of the stock, although certainly SAs involved in this mess need a talking-to. Going through items set aside for a customer is bad enough, but going through PAID items is horrible. I am not sure if your "pre-sale" meant payment upfront, but if it did (like other stories I have read) that means THEFT. Complain with the store in writing and send a copy to MAC. This is just disgusting.

    As for the stock issue, to me it is clear that MAC is trying to build demand. WHO sends 3 blushes (or six blushes, as I have read from other accounts) to a counter for (yet another) collection which was released with great fanfare? I think it is a cheap, unfair, and disrespectful ploy and can only hope customers will boycott this ridiculous brand.



  • Eta

    What a horrible experience over a luxury product! I'm glad to read you at least got what you wanted, though I did not think a re-release meant an actual change to the product's shade. I've read on local forums that people are not happy with the current Stereo Rose for how warm it is.

    When it comes to contradicting statements from SAs, I'm facing similar issues with the Chanel LE. Boo Europe… boo SAs sometimes.

  • Anonymous

    Hi there, you are speaking from my heart!
    It really is bothersome for MAC to have such "limited editions"… and I am from Germany!! I mean sure they have some excellent make up, but not worth all that trouble to get one's hand on them.

    Good thing you were sucessful today.^^)

    Greetings and please excuse the poor English.

  • Anonymous

    Wow! Very unprofessional of Nordies SAs to do this to you. Since MAC SAs don't work on commission, I am puzzled as to why they would do this at all (I mean take an item out of a pre-sale bag to sell it to someone else).

    I don't buy into any of the makeup hype any more. Color me cynical, but a single makeup item does not make THAT much of a difference to anyone's appearance.

  • I totally agree that these retail issues are ridiculous. I also think it comes off shady because basically makeup companies are banking on the fact that people are buying the hype. Not everyone may want all the limited edition items like the Marine Life or Stereo Rose had there been a bountiful supply and less anticipation. People were hyping up these products on blogs, personal websites and forums stating how they MUST have this and got it on pre-sale, etc. Then others join the craze and soon everyone MUST have this item the second, if not before, it hits the shelves. I think companies contribute to the craze by carrying only a limited supply, pre-sales, holding policies and so forth. They can be useful in some ways but as you know, they are risky too.

  • This happened to me when it came to the Marine Life MSF. I do not understand why their is such a small supply for an extremely HIGH demand. Yes, it is on the part of the forecasting analysis of their Operations team. I only say this as a person that works in the Supply Chain department of a major Consumer Brand Group company. Stuff like this really pisses me off because my company would never do this with a client. I dont' know if if the fault lies with Nordstrom or MAC (ESTEE LAUDER) but this seems to always happen when it comes to a major launch. Luckiy I was able to snag a Stereo Rose at Macy's so easily – a sign that I should just start preordering with them.

    Also, side note – I did ONE preorder with Nordstrom (for By Candelight) and they had a problem with my debit card. They processed it an extra 2 x causing my account to now be overdrawn and I have an overdraft fee. Yeah Nordstrom is not my favorite place right now!! why couldn't they call me first instead of trying to process it over and over again???

    Also, I think I like the original Stereo Rose better. But I'm learning to like this new color.

  • Anonymous

    I heard from mac stores that they only got 12 and this is mac pro stores. I spent an hr calling and trying to find stereo rose on the 7th all of the stores told me its sold out due to preorders only 2 stores said its first come first serve basis on the 8th. thats pretty sad

  • The 2005 version looks much better to me. πŸ™‚ And to be honest, I don't get all this hype about Stereo Rose or any other makeup item. Some things are just too much and there has to be a limit…

  • Anonymous

    I had gotten one on pre-sale too and when i went to go get it they had sold it to someone else. They tried calling different MAC stores around the area but everyone else had sold out. So I didn't get a Stereo Rose πŸ™ and I refuse to get it on ebay.

  • Thank you for the pictures. I do not own the orginal Stereo Rose. But I identify with your problem. I called a Pro Store and 2 MAC Counters to hunt Stereo Rose down. The last counter had ONE left and only because the person who put it on hold didn't show up to pick it up, did I get it. Now, I realize that person was disappointed, but they should have known this was a hot item.
    So in at the end of the day, I got mine too, but only because of someone elses misfortune.

  • Too add to my comment (sorry to hog), I work for Macy's. We can access our entire database of MU from our registers. Let it be know the really HUGE stores (Herald Square, Tysons Corner, etc.) got HUGE supplies. Herald Square had 42 of them when I checked. So basically it depended on demand for the product and the volume of sales a counter does.