I was at the mall yesterday with my wife, as we had stopped by to get some lunch in the food court while on the way to our favorite grocery store.
On the way out, this Deja Vu cosmetics sales rep held out a free sample packet of moisturizer or something. He held it out to me and I figured I might as well try it.
Oooh, let me see your hands.
What’s the harm in that?
Ah, what is your name?
He doesn’t need to know my name, but he can look at my hands.
Oh, and your name?
Stuart. Darn, I made a personal connection. If I left abruptly right then and there I would be impolite.
He then proceeded to use a multiple-stage buffing block on my right thumb nail. The last time anyone buffed my nail was maybe 6-8 years ago when my younger cousins were visiting in Brooklyn.
Ah, this does so-and-so, this layer is so silky, blah blah, you will be surprised, voila.
And my nail was buffed shiny. Wow. I am so surprised. A progression of various grits on my nail mechanically polished it smooth. (Sarcasm.)
Ooh, this prevents breakage, chipping, blah blah.
BS. Buffing makes your nail surface smoother and shinier.
Then he did the same to my wife’s nail, but a little quicker. She played with her smooth nail a couple of times later that day.
Oh, and this will do blah blah blah.
He applied a nail oil to my cuticle area, and it actually did make it softer-feeling and healthier-looking. My cuticles always look dry, rough, and cracked.
Wow, and look at this –
He then rubber moisturizer into the top of my left hand. Yes it was a little weird.
This normally sells for $59.99, but for you, $29.99.
Wow, an immediate 50% discount. What a bargain. (More sarcasm.) I liked the oil, my wife liked how the moisturizer made my hands less dry, and I liked how the moisturizer was water-based and not at all greasy.
The products are made in Israel, and although I am familiar with Ahava Dead Sea products, I have never heard of Deja Vu.
We did like the products, so I offered a $20, and he immediately agreed. I figured that I could have talked him to $15, but it wouldn’t have been worth the hassle, and I felt $20 was appropriate for the 3-piece buffer, nail oil, and moisturizer package. There’s a 98% chance that I will never use any of it without my wife’s prompting, but that’s okay. Maybe she’ll use it.
If you’re thinking of making a snide remark about how I got suckered into buying cosmetics, join the club.
But to be honest, I was in need of something a little milder than O’keeffe’s hand cream (which runs $7 on Amazon). In winter, the combination of dry air and use of abrasive hand cleaners is brutal on my skin. I switched to a new hand cleaner that doesn’t have petroleum distillates or d-limonene, but it still does a number on my skin.
I suppose my wife and I will both use the cuticle oil, my wife will probably use the hand moisturizer, and I’ll use the buffer bar as a metal or plastic polishing block. Seriously – what else could I realistically use a nail buffer for? *Rolls eyes at the situation.*
So here’s what happened:
- I was baited with a free sample
- The sales rep created a friendly personal connection
- “Try me now” sampling session demonstrated results
- The sales rep emphasized the value of the package
- I was guided into buying something I didn’t know I needed
So why am I telling you all this? Not because I’m a glutton for ridicule, but because the same tactics are used to sell tools and other products all the time, especially during the holiday season when everyone’s defenses might be down.
You’re a pro? Great, we designed this tool especially for pros. You’re a DIYer? Great, we have just the thing! Everything from product packaging to sales floor displays are designed to convince you that certain products are designed especially for your needs. The more relatable a product, the more likely you are to give it stronger consideration.
“Try me now” packaging, in-store displays, and demos are designed to show you benefits. This is how I was led to believe Kobalt’s new Magnum Grip locking pliers and Triple Cut cutters were potentially handy and innovative new products.
You will trust something you see with your own eyes. Unfortunately, try me displays aren’t as popular as they used to be. I can’t remember a time in recent years when any of the local big box stores had power tool demo stations that were manned or equipped with working tools.
That “$60 value tool kit” is not worth $60. Black Friday and was pricing tend to be misleading as well.
Ultimately, the best defense against impulse purchases and marketing manipulation is to keep your wits about you. But even in the case of the nail cosmetics, so many psychological tools were used against me that I gave in. To be fair, I knew what was happening, my wife knew what was happening, and yet we both still spiralled into allowing ourselves to be convinced into buying something we didn’t know we even needed.
P.S. I have hardly used the sea salt hand scrub I bought 2 years back. I’m over pumice as well, and mainly use something with walnut shells.