Study: Your Shopping Habits Affect Your Compassion

What's Hot

Shoppers Boycott Businesses Selling Trump-Branded ProductsBusiness

5 Reasons to Shop for a Home in DecemberFamily

Giving Thanks: Why Foreigners Find America AmazingAround The House

Why Washing Your Turkey Can Make You IllFamily

50 Best Gifts Under $25 for Everyone on Your ListFamily

Pay $2 and Get Unlimited Wendy’s Frosty Treats in 2017Family

What the Richest 1 Percent Earns in Every StateFamily

10 Ways to Retire Earlier Than Friends on the Same SalaryGrow

The 10 Best Ways to Blow Your MoneyCredit & Debt

7 Foods That Can Lengthen Your LifeFamily

The 50 Hottest Toys of the Past 50 YearsFamily

7 Government Freebies You Can Get TodayFamily

New research suggests that shopping at luxury stores undermines your willingness to help others in need.

Where you shop influences your treatment of others, for better or for worse.

That was the finding of a new study entitled “Wrong Place to Get Help,” recently published in the journal Social Influence.

The study, which was based on a series of three experiments in Paris, revealed that people who shop at — or even stand in the vicinity of — high-end luxury stores are less likely to help someone in need.

The first experiment took place on Paris’ Triangle d’Or, where many high-end fashion stores are located. Researchers analyzed people’s response to a woman wearing a leg brace as she dropped a bottle of water and a bag of candy and struggled to pick them up. A mere 35 percent of people shopping at the fancy stores stopped to help the woman. When researchers moved the experiment to a street with no stores, 77 percent of people offered to help.

In the second, people shopping on a street with luxury stores were asked by a woman pushing a friend in a wheelchair if they could watch the disabled friend while she ran back into a store to get her cellphone. Just 23 percent of the shoppers agreed to help and stay with the friend in a wheelchair. On a residential street, 82 percent of people were willing to help the woman out.

In the third experiment, when a woman asked to borrow strangers’ cellphones to call her mom, 41 percent complied on a street with expensive stores, 63 percent did in an area of high- and low-end stores, and 74 percent did on streets without stores.

The findings suggest that simply being around expensive luxury-brand stores and their “environmental cues of materialism” boosts feelings of self-worth and competitiveness, making people less likely to help others.

“There are lots of subconscious cues in a retail environment which can alter your behavior,” Ani Collum, partner and retail consultant at Retails Concepts in Boston, tells Yahoo Style. “For example, you may notice that in many supermarkets, bananas are strategically placed in or around the cereal aisle, to suggest they’re bought in pairs. Or, in furniture stores, signs explain the functionality of the item, creating an actionable need for it.”

Collum says the same is true for high-end shopping, where feelings of exclusivity and entitlement follow shoppers into and out of the store.

“The key is to give yourself a mental check the next time you’re shopping so you’re not impacted by these retail cues that can impact your actions, for better or worse,” she says.

Of course, this study was conducted in Paris, so it’s unclear if the findings would be the same if the experiments were conducted on say, Rodeo Drive or Fifth Avenue.

Are you surprised by the study’s findings? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 20 Percent Off Gift Cards for 7 Big Retailers, Restaurants

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,771 more deals!