Workers Got a Stale Cookie After Company Makes $10 Billion in Sales

By: Alyssa Miller | Published: Feb 03, 2024

Making $10 billion in sales is a pretty big accomplishment for any company. Sephora, a makeup company with chains across the United States, hit this milestone in 2023. As a token of appreciation for the store workers’ role in achieving the company goal, the stores received deliveries of stale cookies.

The sprinkled individual treats have a “Thank You” sticker attached to the plastic wrapping, but the treat doesn’t feel very sweet.

Sephora’s “Infamous Cookie”

Sephora store employees were treated last week with cookies that came wrapped in a label saying: “We did it! $10 billion.” This was the company celebrating hitting record-setting profits. The company set records for Black Friday in stores and a new bests for online traffic and warehouse fulfillment.

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Sephora store front from the sidewalk

Source: Mike Mozart/Flickr

“Inside this box, you will find a sweet treat to enjoy with your team,” the card continued. “We thank you for making it our greatest year ever. Cheers.”

Sephora Didn’t Want People to Know About This Treat 

The bottom of the card was less friendly. “The content of this card is confidential and should not be shared externally as it is a violation of our company policies.” However, it did not stop the internet from ripping the present apart.

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A Sephora storefront with large glass windows

Source: Marco Verch

Reddit users are referring to the present as “infamous cookies.” Others poke fun at the cookies, rating the pre-packaged goods a 4 out of 10 on taste.

Sephora Employees Didn’t Appreciate the Gift

The treats didn’t go over well with Sephora’s employees. Business Insider reports that two workers, who requested to remain anonymous, felt that a letter and cookie to say thanks was not enough.

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Actress Serayah McNeill shops during the grand opening of Sephora on November 20, 2015 in San Francisco

Source: Kimberly White/Getty Images

“They are always coaching us to meet our goals and expectations, and, of course, everyone goes above and beyond for the company and all they give us is a stale cookie and a letter thanking us,” said one former employee.

Some Employees Feel Like They Are Not Being Heard by Corporate

Another employee told Business Insider, “When we got the cookies, we were like, ‘Wait what?’” The employees felt that the company wasn’t listening to the employees’ requests.

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The Sephora store front in Las Vegas

Source: Michael Gray/Flickr

“It’s obvious they’re not listening to us,” he said. “These are people who don’t know how this actually works and how important we are to the operation.”

Sephora's Response to the Workers

Sephora responded to these workers’ criticisms in a statement to Business Insider, saying that the company “had a great year thanks to our extraordinary team members who helped create and build our incredible beauty community.”

A red, white, and black Sephora storefront

Source: Bargain Moose/Flickr

However, the record year does not promise that employees will get a raise to help with the rising cost of living across the U.S.

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Sephora Promises Perks to Some Workers 

“We are proud of all our employees across our stores, distribution centers, and corporate offices who contributed to this shared success in North America,” the company said.

Sephora storefront in a shopping mall

Source: Michael Saechang/Flickr

“As the leading prestige beauty retailer, it’s a success like this that allows us to continue to offer highly competitive benefits and pay, performance bonuses, education, brand perks, training products, gratis, and substantial product discounts to our employees.”

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Corporate Gifts Are a Common Practice 

Sephora hasn’t confirmed whether employees received additional compensation for hitting the milestone.

A collection of pink wrapped gifts

Source: Pixaby/Pexels

Corporate gifts like these are not uncommon. While most people would prefer a small raise, the practice of corporate gifting is a practice that attempts to foster positive relationships and connections with the team.

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A Stale Cookie Won’t Work

Rather than give workers a water bottle, some companies send snacks that can improve moods and keep employees, which leads to an increase in productivity. Offering tasty treats isn’t just a delicious perk, it’s a budget-friendly way to tell your employees they are valued.

A Sephora store front in a shopping mall

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The minimal planning that goes into sending a thank you cookie is a hassle-free way for a company to show gratitude to its employees.

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Lackluster Gifts Don’t Cut It at the Workplace

The times are demanding a shift in how we recognize people’s efforts. They crave rewards that go beyond fleeting sugary treats and speak to their deeper desires. A lackluster gift can harm the employees’ morale, according to Snappy CEO and co-founder Hani Goldstein (via CNBC).

Four wrapped presents stacked ontop of each other with flowers next to it

Source: Pixaby/Pexels

“In my opinion, implementing this process in the wrong way, and giving people items or experiences that they are not interested in, is a missed opportunity to engage with your team members,” Goldstein tells CNBC Make It.

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A Better Gift Increase Productivity

Instead of throwing money at perks that might backfire and damage team spirit, most workers are hungry for initiatives that truly build a strong workplace culture. Let’s ditch the wasteful tactics and focus on genuine ways to foster a positive and connected work environment.

Source: Sephora

According to a Glassdoor survey, 56% of workers rank a strong workplace culture as more important than salary. Workplace culture has a massive impact on an employee’s time. If they feel satisfied with their workplace, then productivity increases.

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Try a Different Gift That Won’t Cost That Much

Next time you want to send a cookie to employees, don’t. People actively crave recognition for their hard work and yearn to feel valued. There are so many better ways to do that without breaking the bank.

Three pizzas on a wooden chop block with a brick oven with a flame in the background

Source: Narda Yescas/Pexels

Small tokens of appreciation that bond the team and foster a positive work environment go a long way, a lot further than a stale cookie.

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