(MADISON, Wisc.) -- A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that people who line up for days for the iPhone or rush out to the store to purchase the just-released CD are more likely to have names at the end of the alphabet than at the beginning of the alphabet.
The researchers say it’s the latent result of all those Zimmermans and Whites being forced to the back of the line in elementary school. That well-learned tradition of queuing up based on your last name teaches kids at the backend of the line that if they want something bad enough they need to get it themselves. The pain of missing out is something they know about.
“The idea holds that children develop time-dependent responses based on the treatment they receive,” the authors explain.
“In an effort to account for these inequities, children late in the alphabet will move quickly when last name isn’t a factor; they will ‘buy early.’ Likewise, those with last names early in the alphabet will be so accustomed to being first that individual opportunities to make a purchase won’t matter very much; they will ‘buy late.’”
Want more proof? Married women’s behavior seems to be highly correlated to their maiden names -- so a Quittner marrying a Brown won’t change the "buy-now" mentality.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio