Sunday, April 25, 2004

Thrift store behavioral psychology

Went to Louey's with my sister and the boy today. Louey's is a thrift store consisting of huge 5x6 ft bins piled high with clothes. I dread going there, I just look hopelessly at the huge piles and sigh. It is just too overwhelming.

I shop one way.
Walk into the store.
Spy a color I like and move in on item.
If I like it I choose the size and walk out.
There is no trying on or debate in my shopping, I am in and out in 5 minutes.

My sister is a professional thrift store customer. Usually I pick through things and eventually she will lift something up and say, "What about this?" and of course I like it. That is the beauty of going with a professional, you don't really have to look, she finds it all. All you have to do is mill about and look busy. I am hopeless at it, since I have absolutely no upper body strength. After about an hour my back starts to protest and I lean against one of the bins and wait, hoping it will be over soon. The boy is of the same mind, he is starting to get annoying.

After two hours she starts to slow down and says, �I guess that�s it.� The boy brightens, he thinks that means we are leaving. Foolish child, that just means we will be working our way back towards the front of the store. This process will take another half hour. He is trying to speed things up by holding things up and saying, �What about this?�

I lean down and whisper in the boys ear, �Boy, that�s not how it is done. Watch this. If you want her to leave you do this.� I straighten and take two steps backwards, facing her with my arms akimbo. Without looking at me she turns to the register and lays her purchases down. She does not even realize what has happened.

Once you are in tune with the behavioral psychology of the professional thrift store customer, they are like Pavlov�s dog, you just ring the bell.

No comments: