Zippy Zimmermans: Your Last Name Helps Determine How You Shop

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People with names that start with letters toward the end of the alphabet tend to making purchasing decisions much faster than their early-alphabet counterparts, a study finds. In other words, the closer to Z you are, the zippier you get. (via TIME)

We all remember how it worked in elementary school. If your name was Aaron Adams, your middle name might as well be “First In Line,” while those Sally Smiths and Tara Turners and—bless their souls—Zane Zimmermans were left with the dregs: the board game with missing pieces on a rainy day, the weird lemon-flavored cupcakes that came with the chocolate and vanilla ones, and the smelly science partner. And this phenomenon, the Journal of Consumer Research found, could be linked to shopping behavior: Those with names later in the alphabet choose to buy something of value much more quickly because they’re used to missing out on the best stuff, while those with early-alphabet names will take their time, being used to an abundance of goodies and choices.

The researchers from Georgetown and Belmont universities explain the phenomenon, complete with sales parlance, in a press release: “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 that individual opportunities to make a purchase won’t matter very much; they will ‘buy late.’”

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