If you’ve coaxed yourself out from behind your laptop and into an IRL shopping expedition, are you more likely to splash your hard earned cash when being served by a sales assistant who looks like Joe Manganiello made a baby with Ryan Gosling? Or your average Tom, Dick or Harry?
Well, once again, extensive social research has spoken for us all in finding that for retail businesses to succeed, they should hire ‘ugly’ people. Ouch.
The report, featured in the Journal of Consumer Research, claims that employing extremely attractive sales staff can be detrimental to a business because shoppers find them too intimidating. I mean, are you the kind of guy who will jump at the chance to be served by Charlize Theron’s doppelgänger? Or will it make you recoil with self-consciousness?
“Even when the attractive salesperson is the same sex, consumers may feel a sense of inadequacy through self-comparison,” writes the study’s authors, Lisa C. Wan and Robert S. Wyer Jr. “In either case, the shopper may avoid interacting with physically attractive providers, rendering the salespeople ineffective.”
Apparently, it’s not just ’embarrassing’ purchases *cough* condoms *cough* that cause people to avoid attractive salespeople. A 2009 study by Time found that women aged 19 to 26 were less likely to buy common goods from a retail employee who was more attractive than them. We’re guessing men are most probably getting just as green with envy with shopping as well.
It’s quite the contradiction to the “hotter is better” mentality plenty of retailers adopt in this day and age and just goes to show that looks can’t get you everywhere.