Payless Opens Fake Luxury Store, Tricks Influencers Into Paying Designer Prices for Its Shoes

Illustration for article titled Payless Opens Fake Luxury Store, Tricks Influencers Into Paying Designer Prices for Its Shoesem/em

Here it is, the very best viral scam of the year: Payless opened a fake luxury boutique at an upscale mall in Los Angeles, called it “Palessi” and sold their discount footwear at high-end prices—a markup of 1,800 percent, CBS reports—to 60 fashion influencers.

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The social media celebrities were told they’d be given $100 and $250 for the “market research event.” They purchased shoes from the pop-up—one influencer shelled out $645 for kicks that retail for $19.99-$39.99. They were also asked for their opinion on the styles, which ranged from “It’s just stunning. Elegant, sophisticated” to “I can tell it was made with high-quality material.” Okay!

The fashionistas were eventually given their money back and allowed to keep the shoes. Their reactions to learning that they were duped will be forever immortalized in a series of Payless ads filmed the moment they’re told the truth:

Gotcha!

When I was a kid, shopping at Payless meant finding some really cute, potentially poorly-manufactured, off-brand, fast-fashion versions of whatever scenester, trendy thing I wanted to emulate. As an adult, I should’ve realized that there’s no shame in my game and if you want Chelsea boots and you don’t want to pay the big bucks, hello, Payless has got you.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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DISCUSSION

JujyMonkey: unstable genius

I think that this is a stunt that everyone’s in on. If you’re a social-media “influencer” (barf) why would you let it be known that you’re an idiot with a capital I? Wouldn’t this irrevocably damage your brand? They would need to sign a release to allow their image to be broadcast and if that were me, I wouldn’t do it.

I’m not buying it, even if it’s something that’s very satisfying.