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How to get pantsed

Sunday's New York Times has an interesting article on how Diesel sells its pricy ($115 and up) jeans:

"We're conscious of the fact that, outwardly, we have an intimidating environment," said Niall Maher, Diesel's director of retail operations. "We didn't design our stores to be user-friendly because we want you to interact with our people. You can't understand Diesel without talking to someone."

Indeed, it is at just the moment when a potential Diesel customer reaches a kind of shopping vertigo that members of the company's intimidatingly with-it staff make their move. Acting as salesmen-in-shining-armor, they rescue — or prey upon, depending on one's point of view — wayward shoppers.

These kinds of techniques, of course, work best on exactly the kind of person who wants to get a $150 pair of casual pants. There's very little reason to spend that kind of money, and if you do so, it's most likely not because of some deliberate decision you've made, but because of an urge (to be, you know, "cool") you're probably not all that clear about. And a sharp salesman will prey on that.

July 15, 2002 3:11 PM


But... but... Diesel makes really good jeans. Much kinder to my ass than Levi's, which aren't exactly cheap either. Also good: Replay and Marithe & Francois Girbaud, although I don't know if the latter has stores in the U.S.

Oh my dog, I'm commenting on jeans. Could I be more shallow?

Posted by lia on July 25, 2002 4:31 AM

Eh. Maybe there actually are reasons for buying expensive jeans (beyond branding) after all? (Even if so, I don't imagine that's why they sell as well as they do — hence, Diesel's predatory sales tactics....)

Posted by M on July 25, 2002 9:59 AM

I've been shopping at Diesel stores for years, and I've never found them to be "predatory"; In fact I've always had a good time shopping in their stores - the people who work there have always been very friendly and helpful, and clearly like to work there. Diesel jeans have a reputation for being cool now, but they only got that reputation by being a great fitting and great wearing jean in the first place...

Posted by Patrick on January 2, 2003 7:55 AM

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