Payless Tricks People Into Buying $600 Shoes With Fake Luxury Store

Payless pulled quite the prank on some unsuspecting fashion influencers.

The discount retailer recently took over a former Armani store in Los Angeles, stocked the shelves with its shoes and invited guests to what they believed was the launch party for a new high-end label, Palessi. Partygoers enthusiastically scooped up styles for as much as $600 (Payless’ prices typically range between $20 and $50), with many using such glowing adjectives as “sophisticated,” “stunning,” “classy” and “made with high-quality materials” to describe them. The fake store reportedly rung up more than $3,000 in sales in its first few hours.

Then came the big reveal. Customers’ surprised reactions to learning that they were actually buying shoes made by Payless will be featured in a series of TV ads for the brand that will air on networks including Bravo and Lifetime. The idea behind the clever campaign, called “The Payless Experiment,” is to remind shoppers that the store is a destination for affordable fashion shoes and that their designs won over even the most discerning influencers.

Payless did not charge its guests for their purchases. Check out these clips to see some of the customers’ reactions:

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