Macy’s Doesn’t Want You Stockpiling Lip Gloss, Cuts You Off At Six

“Your activity on our site indicates that you are trying to circumvent our restrictions by submitting multiple orders,” said the letter that Macy’s sent to reader Janet. What was she doing? Buying up loss leaders to resell? Taking advantage of a pricing error for her own profit? No…her crime was placing two separate orders for lip gloss from their website.

The confusion began when she bought a particular product, an Estee Lauder lip gloss at her local store, and couldn’t find more. When she saw that the Macy’s web site had it, she stocked up. Macy’s was not pleased. By exchanging her money for their merchandise, she incurred their wrath. Kinda. She explains:

When Estee Lauder no longer had the product available directly from their website, she turned to Macy’s.

So I found [the color] online at Macy’s. I bought four in the first order. Then I got to thinking, maybe I should get more just in case I can’t find it again, not in any way realizing that I was “circumventing a policy.” If there is a true policy, why did it allow me to order at all?

Here’s the letter that she received from Macy’s:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your recent interest in ordering from the website. Regretfully, we are not able to process your order. Our records show the number of cosmetic products you were attempting to purchase exceeded the maximum allowed.

As stated on our website, “Quantities of certain items may be restricted for orders placed online at” Complete details of this policy can be found in the Orders section on our Featured Help Topics under the Customer Service tab. In addition, products offering a free gift with purchase are limited to one per customer and while supplies last.

Your activity on our site indicates that you are trying to circumvent our restrictions by submitting multiple orders. This makes it difficult for us to maintain a mutually satisfactory relationship, and we recommend you pursue other resources should you wish to make these types of purchases.

Best regards,

Macy’s Customer Service

Indeed, there is a written policy on this subject on the Macy’s site. They limit customers to six of any one beauty item, but don’t explain why:

Certain items may be restricted from ordering large quantities on policy limits purchases to no more than six (6) units of any single item to a single customer in:

Men’s cologne
Men’s grooming

The actual reason for this has to do with resellers. Since people don’t normally buy lip gloss in bulk, the policies are there to prevent diversion. That’s to say, they don’t want Janet turning around and selling the makeup to a wholesaler who will sell it at a markup somewhere that is not an authorized Estee Lauder vendor.

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