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Last Minute Gifts Suck

Last Minute Gifts Suck


Every week, the Null dissects the most self-evident studies and pointless papers not to hit the headlines. It's harsh, but funny. This week, Hayley Birch on last minute shopping.


For all but the most super-organised individuals among us, shopping for birthday presents is nothing short of a recurrent nightmare. Inevitably we resort to rushing to the nearest confectioner during lunch hour and spending a furtive five minutes weighing up the pros and cons of
chocolate truffles versus cherry fondants.

Now new research has shown precisely this phenomenon. The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research by scientists from the Universities of Chicago, Stanford and California, proves, as one might expect, that time is a critical factor in consumers’ decision making processes.

In short, when up against a tight deadline, we’ll settle for any old thing. Conversely, given longer to think about it we’re far more likely to come up with the perfect gift.

Didn’t we already know that?

Numerous articles on the relationship between time and consumer behaviour have been published. Of particular note is a study that found limited time sent customers into a flap when grocery shopping. Crisis ensued – switching brands, buying too many or two few veggies and filling baskets with all sorts of unneeded products.


So is there a point to this?

What’s most concerning from the buyer’s point of view is that we’ll part with far more of our hard earned cash as time starts to run out. Last-minute shoppers are much more likely to pay out to prevent a “negative outcome” such as disappointing their spouse. So that’s one good reason to start your Christmas shopping early.


More silly science:
- Well, yeah - Bees like gardens
- Nuts - Dying at the paws of pets
- Fun - Spoof or troof?
- Listen - The Null podcast

Or why not try another study of the bleedin' obvious?

Studies of the Bleedin' Obvious is reproduced from the Null's column in the Telegraph.


Image: Jasper Greek Golangco


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09 Dec 2010
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