Last week I was shopping in my local massive consumerist mecca centre and a sales chick asked me if I would like a showbag.
Sure I said.
It was a great quality thick cardboard bag with fancy rope like handles.
But it felt particularly light.
I took a squiz in the bag to see how small the brochure could be that I expected was the only thing in the bag, but instead I saw something I have never seen in a marketing goodie bag before.
This bag was TOTALLY EMPTY.
As I look in the bag and show my disgust at being handed an empty bag the sales person then tries to drag me in to her booth to ask me questions about perfume.
I was really annoyed. I said no, I don't want to hear about your perfume and she replied with "What? You don't like perfume? Really, are you saying you don't like perfume?" and at the same time she refused to take the bag back. I was left standing there holding out the empty bag with a 20 something year old with excessive make up on wanting me to talk to her and buy a product, but I was just getting really annoyed.
I wanted to get away from there and when I finally did I just couldn't help thinking of why this tactic was being used to sell a product, any product. It's annoying from the first moment. It makes the potential customer feel like they have been 'had' from the beginning. You kind of feel like a bit of a dick saying thank you to someone handing you an empty worthless bag.
But then the next day I was at another mecca of shopping madness and the exact same thing was happening. This time I spotted them, arms outstretched with empty bags being handed to unsuspecting shoppers and I guess it must get them a sale from time to time. Usually, people don't repeat bad marketing tactics day after day if the sales don't come through, so maybe this idea of just belittling your customer from the outset works for some products.
Have you been a victim of the empty bag hander? Did you stop and buy anything?