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A “Well, duh!” study

Occasionally, while perusing EurekAlert!, I come across studies that I like to call “Well, duh!” studies because they seem to come to conclusions that are mind-numbingly obvious. For example, this one:

If women want the best possible service at a clothing store, they had better be looking fashionable and well-groomed before they hit the mall.
A new study found that well-dressed and groomed women received the friendliest and, in some cases, fastest service from salesclerks.

Researchers secretly observed interactions between customers and salesclerks at three large-sized women’s clothing stores, timing how long clerks took to greet customers, and rating the clerks’ friendliness.

Customers whose clothes were rated as more fashionable and attractive, and who showed better grooming and make-up skills, received better service than those whose appearance was not rated as highly.

“How well-dressed you are is one indicator of your status, and how much money you have to spend,” said Sharron Lennon, co-author of the study and professor of consumer sciences at Ohio State University.

“Salesclerks believe that a well-dressed person is more likely to buy, and that affects the treatment she receives.”

Lennon conducted the study with Minjeong Kim, an assistant professor at Oregon State University, who did the work while a graduate student at Ohio State.

Their results were published in a recent issue of Clothing and Textiles Research Journal.

Most women (or, for that matter, most men even) could have told you that. Heck, even I, as clueless as I am about shopping, could have told you that. I know that it may be of interest to clothing stores to quantify these effects. It is also true that one of the most important purposes of science is to test our assumptions against the data and see if “common knowledge” really is true or if it’s myth. But surely someone must have looked at this issue before?

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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