A discount shoe chain upset, Payless Shoesource may wish to change its name.

The private shoe salesman based in Topeka, Kansas, recently performed the reverse of a bait-change operation with a luxury event held in Santa Monica, California. California.

Payless took over an old Armani store, renamed the "Palessi" store and stocked the point of sale with discounted boots, heels, tennis shoes and leisure shoes. Then he invited a group of partygoers and sold them the shoes, priced from 20 to 40 dollars in Payless stores, at exaggerated prices ranging from 200 to 600 dollars.

"Palessi" sold about $ 3,000 worth of shoes in a matter of hours and, after paying buyers, staff told them the shoes came from Payless, according to AdWeek, who reported on the event Wednesday. "They are elegant (and) sophisticated," said a buyer in a Payless video posted on YouTube.

Then the woman, who, according to Payless, is a real person and not an actor, was told that the shoes were the work of Payless. "You make fun of me," she said.

Another customer, a man, said about his purchase: "I can say it's made with high quality materials."

Payless has repaid the purchase price to buyers and plans to use video testimonials, already available on YouTube, in the form of commercials on social media and television.

"The campaign is taking advantage of the huge gap and is reminding consumers that we are still a good place to buy affordable clothing," said Sarah Couch, Marketing Manager at Payless, AdWeek.

The online responses ranged from congratulations to accusers. One person on Twitter called the project "creative", while another pointed to potentially misleading discrimination "among fashion influencers".

Payless "wanted to push the genre of social experimentation to new extremes, while using it to make a cultural statement," said Doug Cameron, creative director of New York-based advertising firm DCX. Growth Accelerator, at AdWeek. DCX Growth Accelerator assisted Payless at this event. "Payless's customers share a pragmatic point of view and we thought it would be challenging to use this ideology to challenge the culture of image-conscious fashion influence."

The discount shoe chain came out of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2017 after closing more than 670 stores. It currently operates an online store and approximately 2,750 stores in North America and more than 3,500 stores worldwide.

More: Why retailers go bankrupt while they're not broke yet

Follow the USA TODAY reporter, Mike Snider, on Twitter: @ MikeSnider.

Read or share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2018/11/29/payless-marked-up-discount-shoes-600-luxury-event-palessi/2146971002/