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Thread: Lower class business signs

  1. #1
    Jul 2008
    Illinois as of 1/1/09

    Lower class business signs

    I know it's been discussed before, so if there is a link please direct me, but I was wondering why businesses that cater to lower-class people have louder signage? I went into the brand-new clearance section of an upscale dept store this weekend and the changes in signage were night and day, all in the same store. Once the merchandise went to down "rock-bottom prices" it seemed like the signage quadrupled and became brighter. Is there any quantifiable data on whether or not this works and then does anyone have history of this? I am turned off by signs and businesses like that and I feel better about myself when shopping in a nicer place (I'm not rich) so I'd think others with less may like to feel special as well? Maybe visually escape the clutter and shop somewhere nice, too (but with the same low prices?)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    I don't think that is neccessarily true. Take a look at Aldi, its a pretty sedate grocery store chain.

    If you go to Ontario, the sign restriction are horrible, garish signs abound everywhere.

    Perhaps what you are seeing is that low income people are generally living in lower income communities. These communities have more pressing issues than to enforce sign ordinances.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
    Jul 2005
    Lone Star State
    There's probably some marketing research on it somewhere, seems pretty fuzzy to me. At first I was going to say I'm not sure if there's a strong link to class, but there is definitely a change when looking at the extremes in how stores try to pass themselves off (which may or may not lead to the customers they think most useful). For example on the high end there is small classy signs with wood grain or carbon fiber decor. If you find those places by their sign then you are not the type of person they are looking for, haha. But there is a broad middle of normal advertising, just trying to grab eyeballs in increasing color and glitter intensities. Is there a real distinctive low end? I'm not sure, other than the condition of the signs and property. Some of the overwhelming nature may be just a profusion of independent stores with no higher authority, and no standards needed to fit within a middle-end shopping strip. Such places may also have a higher product density on display, "throwing everything up to see what sticks", rather than being more confident in a limited product line, so they look brighter from the numbers even if the individual items are the same intensity. Like many class-based differences there may be differences in future time orientation too, long-term branding efforts and neighborhood aesthetics versus short-term money, etc.

    [end ramble, back to that report ]

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