How I Was (Maybe) Brainwashed at the Gap

Mind the Gap

Kate and I were on the first leg of our shopping trip and we walked into the Gap to look for some jeans for me. I got a really nice pair of Gap 1969s for Christmas so we looked for more. I found three pairs my size, all different styles, and went to the counter to pay.

I handed over my jeans. The clerk noticed the size and picked up a pair laying next to her.

“These were a return and they’re your size. Would you like them?” she asked.

I thought, “She’s upselling me, just say no. You bought the jeans you want, get out of here without spending any more money.”

“No, thanks,” I said. “I’m all set.”

Mission accomplished.

We walked around the mall for about another hour then got in the car to leave. As I strapped in my seatbelt I thought, “Man, I should have bought those jeans.”

Wait, what?

It was flabbergasting. I couldn’t shake the feeling – my mind kept reminding me that I should have bought those jeans. Plans to sneak back to Park City began forming in my head. I contemplated calling the store the next morning to ask them to hold them for me. These thoughts were completely irrational given my decision, yet they persisted.

I had already made the decision not to buy the jeans, but nevertheless I felt a need to get them.

Which makes me think that I was purposely made to feel that way.

Am I crazy? Has anything like this ever happened to you?

  • Laura Stocker

    Wow – the power of suggestion! Or maybe, like me, you’re one of those people “hard to fit” – I find jeans that fit well, and immediately buy every pair I can get my hands on!


    Isn’t it fun, being a marketing person and KNOWING that you’re being upsold, and yet the temptation is still there?

    So…did you make your way back to Park City yet??

  • Xander Becket


    Ha I am a little oddly proportioned but not picky, any 36 x 34 that fits around my waist is perfect!

    I’ve been able to resist going back to Park City. But if I find myself there and happen to walk into the Gap and buy another pair of jeans, I’ll be sure to blog about it 🙂

    Thanks for commenting!

  • Joseph McCullough

    It is quite a surreal feeling to be affected by marketing when you know about it. It’s almost like a dream: You are living the experience but are also viewing it from 3rd person. An example of this for me was the Paris Love Story ad Google put out during the superbowl.

    I knew how unreasonable it was to get sappy over it…
    But it was just a damn good commercial.

  • Xander Becket

    You got it Joseph. I felt a lil teary-eyed myself!

  • Pingback: Brainwashing at Abercrombie: Retail Manipulation Part II()