Snobby Employees May Inadvertently Increase Sales – Cheddar Examines

Snobby Employees May Inadvertently Increase Sales – Cheddar Examines

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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.


  1. This vid ignores the hard fact that most rejection and rudeness of this sort by sales staff is done based on racial and ethnic stereotyping. The salesperson is drawing lazy conclusions about ability to pay and whether or not any effort with this person will likely result in a sale. This vid skirts the issue carefully by using an unrealistic Julia Roberts characterization, and a cartoon white female as prospective purchasers. In real life, such an incident famously happened to Oprah Winfrey, for just one example. Because it is often motivated by racial and ethnic stereotyping, the practice should obviously be prevented.

  2. If employee is rude the customer might spend more money for once but would not return to that store ,
    while if employee is nice he will return to that store again thus building customer loyality.

  3. That reminds me on «Täschligate» (Handbaggate) in Switzerland.

    Oprah Winfried went to Zürich to attend Tina Turner's wedding.
    In Zürich she entered a chic fashion boutique and ask to see a handbag.
    The sellsperson told that one is very expensive I show a other one.

    Back in the USA she talked about that experience in a interview.

    The reaction of shop was the first handbag was 30'000 CHF (1 CHF about 1$).
    The one the sellsperson wantet to show was 5000 CHF.

  4. Bullshit. If an employee acts like that, I will never buy anything from them. That research is crap. I worked in retail for years.

  5. Wow, that wouldn't work on me at all.
    I would never end up in a luxury store, or even anywhere with a line.
    I know I can afford almost anything anywhere I can go, but I also don't give a shit what anyone else thinks so don't need to be 'in', or have what others want.
    "Brand" Pffffttt.

  6. Er.. No sorry research/content is really shallow. There's much more depth in it than reverse psychology/high school popularity tricks.
    If it was really that simple, people wouldn't spend so much on marketing/advertisements/sales.
    Many items we buy spend significantly more on marketing than the actual design/development/production/logistics (shipping) of the product.

  7. Personally, I have invariably been treated decently in my sporadic excursions into luxury boutiques. Having said that, although I am sure that this video represents how things work for many people, I am an exception. If I get treated badly, I walk away. I may try another branch of the luxury brand, but I do not reward bad manners with my custom at the boutique populated by the rude help. Never. I do not accept misbehaviour from shop assistants, regardless of whether it is KMart or Chanel. Never. My self-esteem is no greater than 'normal', but there are limits to what I will put up with.

  8. I kept wondering what the catch was, because I'm certainly NOT this dumb. Then they were like "Oh yeah you have to have low self esteem, so you can replace that with the brand", and then I went "Of course you do ~.~". Though thinking about it…it's also rather sad. It's hard not to feel sympathy for a person like this.

  9. "Pfff I am a retail associate…I am so much better than you."
    Know their life sucks. You have a constitutional right to pee in the changeroom.

  10. It's hard to fathom how stupid people can be. Just buy what you came for at the lowest price. It's impossible to imagine falling for this shit.

  11. I so dont get how people can care for this kinda useless luxury goods. Whenever i see a hot girl carrying an LV bag or shit like that, it makes her so much less attractive, cause it looks superficial.

  12. This is such bull
    People with ” I use Chanel casually “ kind of money are used to being well treated and want exceptional treatment that’s what they pay for, being treated badly anywhere is not only lack of luxury is lack of respect and work ethics. Revenge Buying is a Pretty Woman trope and maybe an excuse some sellers use to be obnoxious and bad mannered to people, people who sell stuff in luxury stores don’t have the money to purchase the same stuff they sell even if they did is not something to bitch about

  13. One study? Dramatizations from movies? This feels like a stretch. As a former luxury brand employee, we were told over and over not to judge people on looks and found examples over and over of people rejecting rude or snobby behavior from associates.

  14. I walk in high end places looking like a Walmart shopper on purpose. I will secret shop the shit out of these bitches only to watch them get themselves fired.

  15. Who ever came up with the saying "the customer is always right" NEVER, EVER, worked with the public. The moment a customer says it, they automatically lose the case & credibility, and when I'm a customer when that happens, I go on the clerk's side, whether they're right or wrong.
    If you haven't worked retail, I suggest you do so. This way you'll get a better idea of all the crap they have to put up with all the way around.

  16. I wouldn't buy anything, I know they get a commission for the sales. I'm not giving them any money.
    If I'd like to flaunt I would do the same as Julia Roberts in pretty woman, go somewhere else buy what I wanted and come back to flaunt to the stupid sales person that was rude.

  17. Billionaire Oprah went to Louis Vuitton in Switzerland and asked to see a $38,000 purse in the showcase. The clerk rudely told her she couldn't afford it. Oprah didn't sue Vuitton but she made a global incident of the obviously racist encounter on her TV show.

    I had a saleswoman follow me around at a west coast Saks Fifth Avenue store once. Like right on my heels! I was furious! I whipped around and loudly told her if I saw her one more time, I'd demand to see the store Manager and have her fired on the spot. Everyone on the floor heard me and the terrified saleswoman vanished. I went on to shop in peace.

    A wealthy woman I knew went to a major city's premier clothing store to try on couture wedding gowns and select bridesmaids dresses of equal quality. She was very casually dressed and not wearing makeup.

    The snooty clerks gave her a disdainful once-over and totally ignored her until her huge diamond engagement ring was spotted. If I recall, it was something like a 10-carat solitaire. At that point, they fell all over her.

    However, the woman got her revenge. She tried on loads of insanely expensive wedding dresses, then phoned a New York store right in front of the sales clerks, ordered what she wanted from New York and left.

  18. I wonder if this snobbishness is an American/European thing? A friend and I were on a short vacation in Seoul when she decided she wanted a Gucci bag. We were middle-class at most, and weren't the most well-dressed: she was in a baggy t-shirt and leggings and I was overweight (usually a sign of low income), but the sales associate treated us both well.

  19. Wow it's just like when that snobby salesman told Shaquille O'neal" naa you can't afford that Mercedes Benz. So he bought two."

  20. If that expensive purse makes you feel good about yourself as you are standing in the food stamp office, then more power to ya. You can “afford” a $1200 purse but can’t afford to feed your kids. Nice.

  21. The customer is always right saying is literally for the shitty self entitled people. If you go into a store and throw around that the customer is always right while the employee is doing everything they can to help, well then you’re just a piece of shit 🤷🏼‍♂️

    Customer is always right my fuckin ass

  22. Once I was in an LV store and I was just looking not gonna buy anything cuz I actually couldn't afford it 😅 but I wanted to feel fancy in my t-shirt and jeans. I clearly looked like I didn't "belong" the security guard kept looking at me so I couldn't help and be like can I help you with you something cause your staring real hard if I wanted to steal I'd b around the corner b4 you could get out the store 😅

  23. Over 10 years ago I went into Dolce & Gabbana, the salesperson was friendly and helpful. I was very surprised. Of course, I couldn’t afford anything there.

  24. Honestly my social anxiety makes me panick and then instead of actually looking through all the pros and cons I just take the item and check out as fast as I can… even walking into a store that has luxury air, I feel so self conscious.

  25. A lot of the snobbiness comes from the fact that luxury salespeople make commission on sales, (and typically have an exclusive clientele list. That means if you always shop with Amy, it would be a faux pas, and even considered rude to shop with Jessica. There’s other rules too). Because of their commission, associates tend to focus attention towards people who look like they plan on actually spending more money, and getting them as regular clients. This doesn’t justify snobbiness but if you don’t look like someone who could drop, say 20k you’re quite literally not worth their time or energy

  26. I remember back in the late 90's/early 2000's, there were stories about how rude and standoffish Abercrombie and Fitch employees were. So I shopped American Eagle instead.

  27. The last time I had a snobby employee was when I was suit shopping. I literally walked out and went to a significantly cheaper competitor (>$200 cheaper) and they had a really nice employee. I then bought the suit and it was honestly the best choice I could have made tbh.

  28. As someone who buys in luxury stores, mostly in London and Paris and occasionally NYC. I can say that this video is absolute BULLSHIT!

    People that work in luxury stores are very polite, friendly, and the friendlier they are the more I spend. 🤑🤑

  29. I don't get treated like this at City Jean's premium or footlocker,luxury stores I have no business going in one so I'm good for now.

  30. Its aggressive sales tactics, designed to make a customer feel somewhat insecure, thereby validating themselves by ‘proving us wrong’. I had advanced customer service training in a high end commission retailer…it’s legal hell.

  31. First off why walk into a fancy store in the first place spend money wisely who care what the neighbors have people are shallow. Look at Bill Gates wears comfy cloths that don’t cost a lot. Fancy cloths and such don’t make a person happy in the long run

  32. "SUCKER FOR THE LATEST TREND" People are people who "needs" cheap external validation of the "brand" to validate their identity as status achievers. Thus, your "need"for validation can and should be malnupulated by corporation. Just like flys was meant to be eaten by spider in their web.

  33. I have 13 years of retail experience. If I ever even sounded rude by accident I would get complained about to the manager.

  34. 0:16 maybe certain personality types will. some people like being treated like crap. If I was treated like that, I would walk out and never return plus tell all my friends and family not to shop there

  35. This can go 3 ways. One the buyer walks out of the store or shoves their money in the salesperson's face. Or like some people, the buyer's will get the salesperson fired.
    Beware. This has happened. Depends on the person of who's buying.

  36. Doesn't work for me. You go rude on me and I'm not buying there, blacklisted the shop and forbid my friends to ever purchase anything there

  37. I went to a high end store looking for jeans and was told I couldn't afford them without me saying what my price range was. They were $400 many years ago so I walked out without buying anything. I COULD afford them if I really wanted to but there's no way I wanted to pay that much for jeans

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