SNOOTS ONLY By SUZANNE KAPNER – Business – New York Post Online Edition

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by: David Polinchock

I was going to write about this maybe being a NY thing, but then I thought about a small jewelry store that I went into in Cusco, Peru, where the owner of the store met you at the door, read your aura and then decided if you could come in or not. And yes, we ended up spending about $300 there!

So clearly, people will react to the “snooty” factor, cause frankly I’m not the kind that ever makes it past the red velvet rope and I was excited when my aura passed the entrance test!

The article does talk about a potential backlash that these experiences can create, but I’m not sure in this case it will. I think that everyone likes to feel that there are exclusive environments, even if it means they can’t get in. As Groucho Marx once said, I would never join a club that would let me in.

It's a strategy that has worked wonders for nightclubs: Turn away all but the rich and glamorous.

Now a growing number of retailers, in an attempt to cultivate an exclusive image, are putting up the proverbial velvet rope, requiring potential customers to submit to interviews, make appointments and otherwise fit certain criteria before they are invited to shop.

At a new Caravan location at 128 E. 91 Street, potential customers must first meet with a stylist "to make sure they are right for the store," said owner Claudine Gumbel.

Those who get the green light are given a phone number that changes every few weeks to call for a private appointment.

Also to launch next month is Prive, an invitation-only section on the Web site, which sells luxury items such as $1,000 Loriblu stilettos and Gucci sunglasses. Only the company's best customers will be given a special password for access to Prive, which will offer exclusives and limited editions of designer merchandise.

"It's like going to a popular night club," said founder Andrea Forzieri. "When the bouncer refuses you entry, you want more than anything to get in."

Link: SNOOTS ONLY By SUZANNE KAPNER – Business – New York Post Online Edition

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