Still in the midst of post-Christmas shopping bliss? Me, too. That’s why Everlane’s “Choose Your Price” promotion piqued my interest.
For the sale, Everlane has a few dozen items marked down to one of three different price points. Pick which price you want to pay, put it in your cart and it’ll be delivered in just a few days.
“Sometimes we love a design so much that we overproduce it. We’re getting better at predicting demand, but to move overstock, this week we’re letting you choose your price. Enjoy,” the company writes on their product pages.
It sounds great on the surface, given that some of the brand’s best products — like the The Nubuck Street Shoe — are part of the sale. But what you don’t realize until you pick a price is the passive-aggressive way the company attempts to shame you out of paying the lowest of the three. “$0 to Everlane. This only covers our cost of production and shipping,” a little dialog box explains. Pick the middle of the three and you get this message: “$16 to Everlane. This helps cover production, shipping and overhead for our 70-person team.” Pick the highest sale price and the company lets you know that they get “$45 to Everlane. This helps cover production, shipping, our team and allows us to invest in growth. Thanks!”
Companies have costs; we get that. Why even offer the different price points at all? Just do what every other company does and offer one clearance price. But our more cynical side says they were looking for attention — mission accomplished.
What they might not realize, however, is that the whole thing might backfire. In 2004’s The Paradox of Choice, psychologist Barry Schwartz argues that giving people too many choices leads to anxiety and actually inspires them not to act — meaning not purchasing anything at all. So, faced with three choices — with the accompanying guilt for wanting to save money — I opted not to purchase the Italian Ankle Strap sandals I’ve had my eye on for months. Why? I didn’t want to pay more, but I felt bad about picking the lowest price because it felt like I was somehow stealing from the company, even if they are giving me the choice.
I’ll just stick with one-price clearance sales, thanks. But if it does appeal to you, act fast: The sale is only going on for five days.