Saving Money

The 7 Costliest Lies In Women’s Clothing Sales

lady doing a qr scan on an item
Written by Jess Miller

Unfortunately, most women fall into these costly traps set by a sales associate in women’s clothing stores. Here are the top seven to look out for.

When you walk into a BCBGMAXAZRIA store, even the atmosphere smells expensive.

And as a writer with a minuscule clothing budget that normally mandates my shopping be done at Goodwill or Target, I knew upon my entrance into the designer shop that everything was wayyyy outside my budget.

But I wasn’t counting on how far the saleslady was willing to go to get me to buy something. Why? Because if she sells a $200 dress, she gets a $4 commission on top of her $10-an-hour base pay. But if she manages to sell me shoes, jewelry, and a handbag to match, she can make up to $23 an hour.

Here are the 7 costliest lies in women’s clothing (as told to us by a former BCBG sales associate) and how a fellow writer and I found most of them to be true…

Lie No. 1: “I have the perfect dress for you!”

What the sales associate says: “Most people walk into the store not knowing what they want, but they leave thinking they’ve bought exactly what the needed. That’s because I’m really good at my job.”

What found: This was the one lie that didn’t hold water in our trial run — at least, not at first. When we walked into the store, I told the saleslady I was looking for a dress to wear to an awards dinner. She responded by saying that the store wasn’t exactly stocking much business wear right now, since they were gearing up for summer and the wedding season.

We said we’d take a look around the store anyways, and once she saw that we were serious about buying, she asked for my name, grabbed several outfits off the racks, and started a fitting room for me.

Lie No. 2: “It doesn’t look right because you need to try it with heels.”

What the sales associate says: “I want you to try on heels with the outfit you’re buying by persuading you that shoes are important to get the full effect. What the customer doesn’t know is that I get a bonus for every pair of shoes or handbag I sell.”

What found: Sure enough, as soon as I’d tried on the first outfit, the saleslady asked, “Are you going to need shoes with that?” Without waiting for a response, she dashed off — and returned with a $295 pair of heels.

Lie No. 3: “I have the perfect jewelry for that outfit.”

What the sales associate says: “The store manager’s goal is for us to sell three items per transaction. So when you’re ready to purchase only one dress, I have to add other items to meet my goal. Here it doesn’t matter how expensive they are, so I pull the most inexpensive costume jewelry in the store to convince you you’re getting a bargain.”

What found: No one tried to sell us any jewelry, but that could’ve been because we didn’t quite make it to the checkout line. More on that in a bit.

Lie No. 4: “Today’s the last day of the sale.”

What the sales associate says: “Today is probably not the last day of the sale. But I want you to buy it and I want you to buy it now, so I’m going to scare you a bit.”

What found: Yuuuuuuup. Sure enough, the random afternoon we were shopping, there was a “30 percent discount on everything!” But it was going to be GONE by tomorrow!

Lie No. 5: “That’s the last one of its size.”

What the sales associate says: “I want to create a sense of urgency so that you’ll think that sweater you’re holding on to will be gone tomorrow morning. Because I know if I let you walk out the door, you’ll likely realize you don’t really need it.”

What found: I think I wear a fairly average dress size for women, so I’m sure that’s why the saleswoman didn’t bother trying to tell me there were no more size 4 dresses left. But I can see it working well for shoes — those coveted size 7s are always the first ones to go.

Lie No. 6: “That’s just how that dress is supposed to fit. It looks great on you.”

What the sales associate says: “We don’t have the right size for you, but if I tell you those jeans don’t fit right, you aren’t going to buy them.”

What found: The saleswoman told me I looked great in every outfit. (It’s true, I definitely did.) But she also asked about my job, and when I told her, said “You must be so smart!” Double points for you, saleswoman!

Lie No. 7: “We’re not accepting any returns.”

What the salesperson says: “I’m not accepting any returns. Whenever you return an item, I lose my commission from the original sale. So I will tell you anything, and I mean anything, to keep you from getting your money back. I may even try to persuade you to take an even exchange (and take the commission) or store credit because that means you’ll have to come back and spend your money with me.”

What found: Hit it right on the nose. When we asked about a return policy for the dinner-party dress and heels, the saleslady told us there was a 10-day return policy, but it could only be exchanged for items in the store.

Lie No. 8: “I hope you have a nice day.”

What the salesperson says: “Thanks for paying my rent this month!”

What found: Our saleslady was probably not depending on our purchase to pay her rent, judging by her age and the designer clothes she was wearing, but she was lovely nevertheless. Oh, and how did we get away with trying all this stuff without buying? One little lie of our own: We told her we were out to lunch — and asked if she could put it on hold? Thanks so much!

About the author

Jess Miller