Some department stores are giving away $175 million worth of free cosmetics as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement.
When free cosmetics are involved, word among women spreads fast.
Donna Harrell was one of hundreds of North Texas woman who heard the news that stores such as Dillard's, Macy's, Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue are giving away free cosmetics.
"My girlfriend from Atlanta called me," Harrell said. "Her mother had called her, and so she called me."
The lawsuit alleges cosmetics manufacturers fixed prices between 1994 and 2003. As part of the settlement, stores are giving away one free product worth $25 to consumers. The items include perfumes, body lotions and makeup from high-end manufacturers such as Lancome, Christian Dior, Clarins and Guerlain.
"I got some COCO Chanel body lotion and my favorite Lancome mascara," one shopper said.
It wasn't hard to find the free products. Stores were ready for the influx of customers. At Nordstom at the Dallas Galleria, the line went out the door as women waited for their free product. Customers signed a waiver saying they'd received their free product and then chose the one they wanted. Even when lines were long, the entire process took less than five minutes.
"I think a lot of us got tied up watching the Inauguration activities, but as soon as she called and it was over, I got dressed and ran out," said Harrell, who went home with a full-sized Ralph Lauren body lotion.
The giveaway ends Jan. 27 or until supplies last. You can see a list of the stores and the products they are giving away at http://www.cosmeticssettlement.com.