The Science Behind Snooty Store Employees

20_052_DoresAndre_Look3_MariaDelRioPhotographed by Maria Del Rio.
Have you ever walked into a fancy retail store and felt the air turn chilly? Sales people scatter to the winds like dried-up dandelions. Employees make meaningful eye contact with each other, but not you. Or, worst of all, you get a raised eyebrow and a "May I help you?" in a tone that clearly implies you are beyond help.
In some shops, snooty salespeople are a fact of life. And, a new study reported in The Huffington Post shows that, far from hurting business, those bad attitudes can actually boost a luxury brand's sales.
The study comes from the University of British Columbia and is called "Should the Devil Sell Prada?" (cute). Participants interacted with store staff — rude or not — then rated their desire to own products by each brand. Turns out, the folks who aspired to a high-end lifestyle "reported an increased desire to own the luxury products after being treated poorly." A UBC professor stated that the rude sales people, "can [have] a similar effect to an 'in-group' in high school that others aspire to join."
But, we're not just a bunch of gluttons for punishment. The study found that salesperson rudeness did not improve shoppers' impressions of mass-market brands. Guess it's a little harder to swallow hauteur from the girl selling you $10 jeggings.
Has getting the brush-off ever made you more likely to buy from a brand? Maybe we're not aspiring hard enough, but we feel no need for a Pretty Woman moment while shopping — especially when Net-A-Porter's never judgy and always open. (The Huffington Post)

More from Stores

R29 Original Series