Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Beauty is in the eye of the sexy salesperson

I love me some Canadian Broadcasting. I grew up wanting to be a journalist and never having had cable, was raised on the CBC. Being a publicly owned broadcaster, they tend to shy away from the Sun Times, FOX news sensationalism and stick to really good investigative journalism and in-depth analyses.

All my CBC dreams were crushed this weekend however, when I came across this whopper of a headline

Attractive clerks ring up sales: study

It seems those classy people from the University of Alberta conducted research to find out what influence sexy people had on other people’s buying habits. Their conclusion? If a hot salesperson shows interest in your purchase, helps you with your purchase or (the best part) claims to have worn that piece of clothing that you are looking at, you are more likely to purchase it yourself.

Why? Well it seems that pretty people know best. And their germs are sexier apparently too.

"People actually want what we would call the essence — germs — of the other person to come into contact with them. They want part of that other person to rub off on them, basically."

Apparently, pretty people cooties are all the rage. As well, this researcher also forgot that not everyone is straight.

As a researcher myself, I had to ask myself “What is the point of this? Funding was given to this research and so what was the motive?” The U of A School of Business just wanted to examine the impact of beautiful salespeople apparently. But they warned that one should not hire on the basis of beauty alone.

Not because it’s discriminatory, unjust, heterosexist and assumes a certain ideal based on skin colour, physical ability, etc. NO NO NO. One shouldn’t hire on the basis of beauty alone because… they don’t want to get sued.

“In 2003, nine people who applied for sales jobs at Abercrombie & Fitch sued the U.S. clothing chain, alleging it favoured blue-eyed, blonde-haired salespeople. The company, which has employed shirtless male models to greet customers at some of its stores, settled the lawsuit for $40 million.”

CBC: In times of international conflict, environmental disaster and religious wars, you really focus on the stories that matter. Thanks for that.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Merry Non-Denominational Day of Debt!

According to a recent study in the UK, today is the most stressful day of the year. Reasons being the stress of holiday shopping, end of work deadlines and looming debt. Just throw in end of term papers, marking of other students’ papers and you’ve got my life story. But I’m still a sucker for the holidays. I don’t know why but I just can’t get past the giddiness of eating turkey with mashed tatters and far too much pie and the initial 30 seconds of waking up on Christmas morning when you realize “Holy shit, there’s a shitpile of gifts downstairs with my name on it. HUZZAH!”

Keeping in mind that I am a lapsed Catholic and therefore I haven’t seen the Christ in Christmas in yeaaaars. But every year, I’m forced to endure the “It’s Merry Christmas dammit!” versus “No, it’s happy holidays!” debate. This just got a lot more complicated thanks to Misha Barton and her non-acting friends of The OC that made famous the moronic “Chanukah”. Barf.

I lean more towards the Happy Holidays myself, as I’m painfully left leaning and find it more inclusive. That and quite frankly, I’m friggin’ lazy and don’t want to cover ‘em all. So Happy Holidays is my blanket statement of “Hey, enjoy not being at work!”

But I truly believe people need to make a clear distinction between Christmas of the Jesus variety and Christmas of the Wal-Mart variety. Christmas trees, lead-paint toys, egg nog and Santa Claus have got nothing to do with the big JC. Jesus and Santa both had kicking beards but I think the comparisons end there.

And frankly, if there’s a division between Christmas and Christmas, or Christmas and Xmas, then we can scrap the whole Happy Holidays debate to begin with. And instead, we can focus on what really matters around the holidays. Which, as this article points out, should be about enjoying vacation time, hanging out with the family we actually care to talk to and opting out of buying people crap for the sake of it. (BTW, I couldn’t agree more)

Or for those of you who live Down Under and have nothing else to do, round up your pitch forks and shovels to penalize Santa Clauses for their use of HO HO HO.

I kid you not.