Academic Master


Examining the role played by consumer profiling in service delivery

Carlson et al. (1998) examine the response time taken by retail store assistants based on customers’ apparel and whether they are carrying bags. The article “The Effects of Bags & Apparel on Retailers’ Response Time” bases its hypothesis on the aspect of stigmatization and profiling. Thus, the hypothesis points out that the response time of clerks in retail stores is dependent on consumers’ clothing and whether they are carrying a bag. In essence, officially dressed consumers and those carrying shopping bags receive services faster than those without bags or who are casually dressed. The study is vital since it examines the role played by consumer profiling in service delivery.

The research study employs observation to acquire the intended information on response time. According to Carlson et al. (1998), the process involved six individuals who acted as potential customers while timing the period it would take before sales clerks offered to assist. The experimenters would visit the selected store on two occasions while dressed in official and casual attire and, in one case, having bags. The results found a correlation between consumers smartly dressed or with bags and a quicker response from the sales clerks. In essence, dressing or carrying bags implies the ability of a consumer to make a purchase, thus attracting the attention of the sales clerk. Hence, ascertaining the hypothesis of the study, as stipulated by Carlson et al. (1998), that response time is affected by bags and apparel.

The research study’s results add to the numerous experiments on factors that influence the response time of sales clerks in the store. Moreover, they contribute to understating how various circumstances affect perception. Thus, awareness of existing stereotypes would assist both consumers and retailers in ensuring the provision of quality services.


Carlson L., Dalton A., Glass B., Robinson M., Stackhouse M., Bassman J., (1998). The Effects of Bags & Apparel on Retailers’ Response Time. PSI CHI Journal of Undergraduate Research 3(3). 127-130.



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