We’re trying to make our retail experience a little more annoying

It’s all part of the “playing hard to get” strategy, which involves artificial creation of scarcity plus an absence of information plus routine overpricing by 20% to 50% on everything we sell. It’s all designed to make people want our stuff even more and so far it’s working like a charm. (For a discussion of the “Obama Maneuver,” see here.) At the retail end we reinforce this by having sales clerks called “geniuses” who are just a wee bit snooty and condescending and cooler than you’ll ever be, and who are trained to give you this look that says, You know, I’m not sure if you’re cool enough to buy this product, so let me go check with my manager and see if we can sell to you. (We hired Franz-Josef Leckmichamarsch, the guy who did the training at Barneys, and he’s done a remarkable job for us.)

Also, as some blogger points out here, in a masterstroke of retail genius we’ve done away with cash registers and replaced them with little handheld devices that all the clerks carry. Yes, this slows things down, because nobody is actually dedicated to the task of just ringing up sales. And yes, this confuses customers and sends them bouncing around the store looking for some clerk who isn’t already working with a customer. But it maximizes the productivity of the clerks, who before this were often just hanging around doing nothing while the check-out counter losers were backed up. By distributing the load of ringing up sales among all the clerks, we can cut our store staffing by up to 20% on average.

Better yet, we also increase the amount of time each customer spends in the store. Which means we sell more stuff because while they’re waiting they see other things they should buy. Best of all, because it’s now a little bit more difficult to make a purchase in our stores, frigtards view our stuff as even more special and unique, and they want it even more. Buying from us isn’t just a matter of walking into the store, choosing a product and paying. With us, your purchase is an adventure. A hero’s journey. And everyone’s journey is different, and unique, and special. You must overcome obstacles, and wait for long periods of time, and figure which clerk is going to free up first. It’s kind of like a videogame. People love it. We’re getting huge positives in our focus group testing, and in the 40-question surveys we’re requiring everyone to fill out before they are allowed to complete their transaction.