Whoever planned the promotion (PR? Marketing?) should have had a pretty good idea of the implications of this type of event — that's what professionals are paid to know. The minute there was a spike of signups on the VIP program, which was required, someone should have raised a flag. Lines should have been anticipated, issues with customer volume should have been addressed up front — just so many wrongs with this whole promotion.
And if the shopping centers weren't prepared, that's also something that should have been thought of way in advance. Instead of a promotion that could have been great, they got a huge PR disaster, which may cost them many more millions of dollars than expected. The CEO had to go on national TV to apologize. Heads should roll.
I agree with much of what everyone has written. What's great about these types of sample boxes is they aren't one-time use samples; they are, for lack of a better word, full-size samples, meaning you get more than one use. Most companies won't hand out these larger samples. And most people don't feel comfortable walking around a store asking for samples. No one has the time either. So the value provided by a curated, surprising, conveniently-delivered box with larger-size samples is worth the $10. Samples are expensive. Assuming product manufactures and Sephora have worked out some kind of positive financial arrangement, both the manufacturer and Sephora gain trialing and potentially more loyal and more lucrative customers.
Someone below mentioned unused product -- not a problem ... sharing is part of the pleasure!