By and  on June 10, 1994

LOS ANGELES

I must say that when it comes to perfume, I am a creature of habit.

Chanel's Cristalle has been the only fragrance bottle to sit atop my dresser for the last three years, and shopping for a new scent does not entice me. But even with this frame of mind, I set out on quest for a summer perfume.

After entering the cosmetics section of Robinson's-May in the Westside Pavilion, I was shocked by all the smiling faces and gregarious greetings I was receiving. Personally, this store had always been a self-service venture for me.

I was immediately handed a pamphlet advertising Elizabeth Arden's Sunflowers. Knowing three people who have the fragrance, I was quite familiar with it and had already decided it was not for me. The smiles continued when I reached the main fragrance counter.

"Can we help you find anything?" asked a saleswoman.

I began telling her that I was looking for something new for summer.

Immediately, she took me to the display of Gale Hayman's Delicious. She handed me the bottle and I sprayed it on my wrist. It was a bit too strong and musky for my taste.

"I don't care for it," I said. "Do you have anything not so strong?"

"How about Givenchy's Amarige?" a nearby salesman offered.

I smelled the butterfly card that he handed me, discreetly getting rid of the Delicious card. I had never heard of the scent, and I kind of liked it. It had a woody, floral aroma.

Seeing my interest, he asked if he could massage some into my hands. I let him.

"Sure, why not?" I replied.

"Everyone I know who wears this gets a ton of compliments," he said, massaging my hand.

The store was offering a gift this week and you could get the scent plus an assortment of other goodies for $65, he said, which is usually the price of the fragrance alone.

I then asked him about Escada's new scent.

"I'm sorry, we don't have that one, but you can get it at Nordstrom's," he said.

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