If you encounter a rude sales associate, are you more likely to buy something?
Well, according to new research from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, you just might be. The forthcoming study, "Should the Devil Sell Prada? Retail Rejection Increases Aspiring Consumers' Desire for the Brand," which will be appear in the October 2014 edition of the Journal of Consumer Research, reveals that customers who receive poor treatment from sales associates in upscale stores are more likely to make a purchase.
The researchers had participants imagine or actually interact with various sales reps and then rate their desires to own the brands being sold. Surprisingly, those who weren't treated well reported increased lust for the merchandise associated with the snobby sales associates. But the caveat is, this only works at high-end stores.
"It appears that snobbiness might actually be a qualification worth considering for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or Gucci,” Darren Dahl, a marketing professor at the university said. “Our research indicates they can end up having a similar effect to an ‘in-group’ in high school that others aspire to join.” Regina George lives on.