You’re looking to buy a fancy new purse or belt. So you go to a luxury store, walk in and this happens. Hi, I’m looking for a bag. Uh, sh- sure. Pause. Because of this interaction, you’re going to spend more money than you would have before. [MUSIC] It’s almost a joke at this point. Employees at stores like Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Gucci are notorious for being standoffish and downright mean to customers who don’t look the type. How much is this? I don’t think this would fit you. Well, I didn’t ask if it would fit, I asked how much it was. How much is this, Marie? It’s very expensive. It’s very expensive. According to all rules of retail sales, employees are supposed to be polite, helpful, and nice. The customer is always right and all that. But what if the prevailing opinion was wrong? That’s the question that Darren Dahl, a professor at the University of British Columbia decided to ask. He conducted a few studies, asking people immediately before, immediately after, and two weeks after an employee was rude to them. They included a variety of stores, ranging from Gap to Gucci. Some of the interactions at the higher end stores went like this. Can I see that one? Um, I don’t think you’ll be interested in that bag. It’s one of our more expensive ones. Dahl found that in less expensive stores; like Gap, J. Crew, and American Eagle, rude employees had the expected effect. It drove away customers and made them less likely to buy the product they came for. But in luxury stores, Dahl found that the opposite was true. When customers went into a luxury store to buy something and the salesperson was exclusionary, they reported a much greater desire to purchase the product in the moment. But in two weeks, their desire had significantly decreased. But why is it that customers who conventional wisdom says you should cater to like being treated badly? It’s because of something called social exclusion. Basically, being in a group used to be key to survival and it still is essential for our emotional and mental well-being. Humans want to be in a group, especially one that is deemed more desirable. The desire to purchase a product was influenced by the rejection of the group that you identified with. When you walk into a designer store you love and see those slick sales people chatting together, you want to be included; and you’ll buy a bag or sunglasses or 800 thread count linen sheets to do it. Dahl compares it to the popular group in high school, you want in. There are some conditions. This effect only works when the salesperson is a good representation of the brand. So a sloppily dressed employee doesn’t quite cut it. They have to be someone you identify with and whose rejection hurts. Ma’am, do you have this in the next size up? Sorry. We only carry sizes one, three, and five. You could try Sears. The brand also has to be aspirational. They have to be what Dahl calls “an ideal self concept”. Like Louis Vuitton and Prada, are ideal self concepts of luxury. Tesla would be the ideal self concept of sustainability. If the brand is accessible, people don’t care about being a part of it but when it’s inaccessible- I can afford it, don’t worry. Mm-hmm. Look, we need to be ready for real customers, okay? I’ll take the bag. I’ll take the bag right now. “Our study shows that you’ve got to be the right kind of snob in the right kind of store for the effect to work”, Dahl told Science Daily. Something else that will make you more susceptible is self esteem. The stronger your belief in your own identity, the less likely you’ll feel the need to use the brand as your identity, according to Dahl’s paper. Um, that’ll be $5,000. Do luxury stores do this on purpose? Not that we could tell. We couldn’t find any indication that designer brands specifically requested that their employees be snobby. So we don’t know. But since researchers found that improved impressions gained by rude treatment faded over time, we think that having that be your brand strategy would be a bad idea. If you’re shopping for a luxury item and are being treated rudely, Dahl suggests leaving and coming back later or avoiding the interaction altogether by shopping online. So basically, give it time, then you won’t spend extra money trying to prove that; yeah, I am popular. Don’t forget to like this video, click subscribe, and ring the bell for post notifications. We’ll see you next time.