Payless Pranks Internet Influencers

Hijinx worthy of Festivus

In this year’s Airing of Grievances, a group of internet influencers gathered around the Festivus pole will have cause to complain about an unlikely prankster — Payless ShoeSource.

The discount shoe seller recently set up a fake luxury store in Los Angeles called “Palessi.” Payless stocked the boutique with its trademark discount shoes, marked up the prices, and invited a band of fashion-savvy internet “influencers” to Palessi’s exclusive “Grand Opening.” Hilarity ensued.

Punked by Payless

In a video put out by Payless, Palessi customers paid hundreds of dollars for shoes and boots that normally sell for less than $40. One shopper paid $640 for a pair of boots. Their regular retail price? About $35.

Payless’ footage showed the influencers raving about the quality and design of Palessi’s footwear — producing, assumedly, the exact impression Payless was hoping for. “YOU can get these same shoes at Payless for $19.99 or lower,” the ad reminds us.

Well played, Payless. Well played.


Running low on tread

Payless, of course, is best known as the bane of playground shoe fashion (“NO MOM I DON’T WANT TO GO TO PAYLESS! ALL THE COOL KIDS WEAR NIKES!”). However, the retailer has fallen on hard times in recent years, as yet another victim of the Retail Apocalypse ushered in by Lord Bezos’ empire. Citing its difficulties in competing with online sellers like Amazon, Payless filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017. The company has already shuttered more than 600 stores in North America.

A successful Palessi marketing campaign aims to put Americans back in Payless stores — and its investors in the holiday spirit. If it is unsuccessful, though, e-dunking on quasi-famous e-celebs is a pretty good way to go out — a feat of strength worthy of any Festivus celebration.

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