Can Luxury Retail Employees Actually Tell if You’re Rich?
Mindset3 Minutes Read

Can Luxury Retail Employees Actually Tell if You’re Rich?

August 7, 2023 Share

The couple next to you got offered champagne and you didn’t even get a greeting. How on earth do luxury retail employees know if you’re worth their time?

There comes a point, in almost everybody’s life, where one walks into a luxury department store without the means, or the desire, to purchase anything. Perhaps you just spent money in something else and that Dior purse no longer seems as enticing. Perhaps your bank account has been suffering more than usual. Perhaps you’re just not in the mood. Either way, there’s nothing more humbling than walking into a luxury shop and have a mere nod of acknowledgement – a nod that signals that you are, in fact, not worthy of the luxury retail employees’ precious time.

Image courtesy of Christian Wiediger

The psychology of perception is a funny thing. Human beings are wired to make quick judgments based on appearances, a phenomenon known as “thin-slicing.” It is our natural inclination to form immediate impressions of others, including their socio-economic status, based on visual cues such as clothing, accessories, and overall demeanor. In retail settings, where transactions are based on customer interactions, this almost instinctive phenomenon happens in a matter of seconds, a skill luxury retail employees have learnt to subconsciously master in order to benefit their sales as much as they possibly can.

So how, if in any way possible, can luxury retail employees tell if you’re rich?

Confidence and Posture

Ever notice how some people exude confidence effortlessly? It’s true; confidence can be interpreted as a sign of success or financial well-being, as many wealthier individuals may stand tall and make direct eye contact during interactions, giving off an air of self-assurance. But of course, self-confidence is not the exclusive realm of the wealthy. People from all backgrounds can display that same level of poise and self-belief.

Grooming and Appearances

Appearances can indeed be deceiving. When customers step into a store, those who are well-groomed and dressed stylishly in expensive clothing may inadvertently give the impression of having higher purchasing power. Even minor details like well-groomed beards, salon blow-dried hair, and fresh manicures all play a part in shaping the overall appearance. These subtle elements can influence how others perceive an individual’s socio-economic status, adding layers of complexity to the art of judging someone’s wealth based on looks.

Accessories and Belongings

Ah, the allure of high-end accessories – luxury watches, designer handbags, or expensive gadgets. These items can easily be seen as status symbols, and retail employees might associate them with affluence. However, let’s remember that those flashy possessions could also be gifts or acquired through clever shopping tactics. After all, savvy shoppers can snag great deals and still look like a million bucks.

That being said, flashing a Birkin is a sure way of capturing a luxury retail employer’s attention, and often dressing in expensive clothing will encourage employees to show you their more expensive products.

Language and Communication Style

Eloquent speech and an impressive knowledge of high-end products can make an impact during interactions. Retail employees might perceive customers with such linguistic finesse as financially secure, but of course, someone might have a penchant for high-end vocabulary without being a millionaire.

The Truth

Whilst an employee might subconsciously categorise someone’s purchasing powers, most luxury retailers train their staff to do the precise opposite. From aspirational shoppers that have saved up to buy their life-long dream to even the most seasonal of buyers, high-end brands are taught to not discriminate based on looks, appearances and assumptions alone. In favour of this is the rotational system often in place, whereby employees have to take on customers in turn. If there are 5 employees on the floor, this means that they get one shot at a sale for every 5 clients that walk in, so even if you don’t appear wealthy, chances are you will be treated as a potential client anyway.

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Author: Laura Scalco
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