Three teenage girls, dressed in hooded sweatshirts, big jackets and sneakers were sent in. Would customers ignore the scene when the victims fit the shoplifting stereotype, or would they be more compelled to help these young girls?
"I know exactly what goes on. People like you come in groups and you start stealing things," the clerk told the girls. "We've had trouble with people like you in the past, and I need to protect my store."
As the scene escalated, the salesclerk walked the three teens over to the security guard who frisked them and kicked them out. No matter how loud and brutal the abuse was, these young girls appeared to be on their own. But luckily, not everyone stayed silent.
When shoppers Esra Ozkan, a young Turkish woman, and Ian Steinberg, a caucasian man, saw the scene, they immediately sprung to action.
"When you're saying 'these kinds of people,' you're being racist," Ozkan told the store clerk. "You don't say 'these kinds of people.' Why don't you just stop talking?"
Steinberg jumped in, too. "Unbelievable. There's no way we would ever spend a dime in this store."
As they left in disbelief, Ozkan grabbed a business card from the register so she could report the store's practices.
Why did this couple get involved while so many others stayed silent?
"I didn't think for a second that it was not our business." Ozkan said. "It was beyond what I could handle as a person. I couldn't stand it. I just really couldn't believe that was taking place."
For one of the teenage actors named Morgan, knowing that some strangers were looking out for her made the intense experiment a little easier to handle.
"You have your own voice, but it's nice to know that someone's there with you," she said. "It's a good feeling to know you're not alone."