In-store events are increasingly used to provide customers with unique shopping experiences. Although recent studies indicate that such events positively influence customers' purchase intentions and store choice decisions, little is known about how customers respond to various in-store events. This paper investigates one type of in-store event that is frequently used in several food and non-food contexts. Specifically, the study investigates how an in-store product demonstration influences customers' subsequent purchase behavior depending on whether they are restricted or encouraged to touch the products being demonstrated. An initial scenario-based experiment involving 35 undergraduates aimed to examine how people intuitively think that restricting (versus encouraging) touch during an in-store product demonstration would influence their subsequent purchase behavior. A two-way ANOVA with participant gender and experimental condition as the between-subjects factors consistently showed that people hold a lay theory that restricting touch should have a negative impact on the amount of money they spend and the number of products they purchase. A second field experiment involving 126 customers in a retail store aimed to investigate whether this lay belief is consistent with customers' actual purchase behavior. Counter-intuitively, a two-way ANOVA with customer gender and experimental condition (touch restriction, touch encouragement) as the between-subjects factors revealed that restricting touch during an in-store product demonstration resulted in significantly more money being spent, a larger number of products being purchased, and more expensive products being purchased. These findings show that consumer lay theory can directly contradict customers' actual purchase behavior. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.