Study: Rude Sales Associates Make You More Likely To Spend Money

Luxury brands could benefit from even more snobbery

Louis Vuitton shop. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Milan, Italy
Alamy


New research is showing that luxury brands might want to start considering the sales potential of snobbery.

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A forthcoming study from the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business reveals that customers who are poorly treated by sales associates are more likely to buy something--as long as the brand is sufficiently upscale.

"It appears that snobbiness might actually be a qualification worth considering for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or Gucci," said Sauder marketing professor Darren Dahl. "Our research indicates they can end up having a similar effect to an 'in-group' in high school that others aspire to join."

We're pretty sure this is saying something depressing about human nature, but for now we're just going to ignore it and move on.

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The study, to be published in Journal of Consumer Research as "Should the Devil Sell Prada?" had participants imagining or interacting with sales representatives--some rude, some not. They then rated their feelings about their desire to own the associated brands. Bizarrely, participants who expressed a desire for luxury brands reported increased feelings of want after being treated badly.

However, this result was only achieved if the salesperson seemed to accurately represent the high-end brand.

"Our study shows you've got to be the right kind of snob in the right kind of store for the effect to work," said Dahl.

As for what companies actually plan to do with this information, who knows? In the meantime, they can settle for being the corporate equivalent of that kid at the lunch table who always made fun of your overalls.

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Filed under: Industry Research
Mack Gelber

Mack Gelber

Associate Programming Manager

Mack Gelber is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor who has covered entertainment for AOL TV, and contributed fiction to Joyland Magazine and the Bushwick Review. He is a graduate of Oberlin College, where he studied creative writing. Twitter: @mackgelber

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mmcle82796

Well Louis Vuitton most certainly must believe this theory as their sales associates are extremely rude. I will not purchase from anyone who is rude to me because I don't want them to get a commision.

May 02 2014 at 11:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
wlh1923

Rude sales associate (clerk) is likely to make me spend NO money

May 02 2014 at 11:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
elaine1975

Not me!! If I'm treated poorly by a sales person I make sure their supervisor KNOWS about it immediately. And depending on how I'm treated I'll decide if I even want to bother patronizing that store anymore. I had a very good and "shy" friend go into a fancy shop on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and even though she was dressed nicely, she obviously wasn't "big bucks". They completely IGNORED her. She was so embarassed. I wish I had been with her, I would have gotten thrown out, but I would have had a BLAST doing it. (In my best stereotype hillbilly accent), "HOT DAMN!! Where on RODEO Drive! Where's the rodeo?? I expected to see lots of horses and cowboys here. How much is this purse?? $5,000 for a pocket book!! Honey, let's go over to WALMART, I saw one that looked just like it for $19.99!!". You get the idea. NO ONE is going to embarass me with their snottiness!

May 02 2014 at 8:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Tuhloola11

I don't know who they polled, but that ain't me !

May 02 2014 at 6:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Liza

Agree with most comments since I have never, ever felt pressure to buy by a salesperson. I look for what I want, might ask for help, but I pick what I want and no sales person makes a difference in a sale or no sale for me.
If you feel pressed to spend money from someone who makes money doing that, then you need a strong friend to shop WITH YOU.

May 02 2014 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
angela

i do not understand what i just read, i been in retail sales in very well know speciality store for over forty years and i never been rude to a costumer if any thing they were rude to me because i have an accent but once they gave me a chance they become not only good costumer but good friends, but i do know a lots of my co workser been snubby to them and not helping as they should because they thought the costumer was been snobby, it works both ways, but i do not understand why they spent more because they been treated rudly?? does not make any sense to me, if i was a costumer and did not get good service not only i would complain i would not buy any thing, so does not register to me why?? someone explain to me? maybe iam been really thick hahaha

May 02 2014 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Judy

Anybody thinking "Pretty Woman" here ?????

May 02 2014 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
missy moore

So interesting. Just let them know through a few words and gestures... Where the Hell do you get off- You're a fricking Shopgirl for Christsakes!

May 02 2014 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
engnrman

Only ignorant self deprecating people that are unhappy with their own lives fall for this trick. If someone talks down to me in a sales situation, I simply walk out, never go back and spend my money elsewhere. Let their mounting bills from lack of sales show them that it doesn't work. You should have no urge to justify your existence to a complete stranger that has no bearing on your life, but if you do, you really should seek help.

May 02 2014 at 10:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
albatroll

If I get treated poorly I think to myself these are minimum wage slugs that may or may not work on commission. Then I walk out and take my business to where I am appreciated.

May 02 2014 at 10:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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