My last name has not always been the easiest thing to live with. It’s resulted in teasing, the occasional crass joke and even a smattering of confusion when people over the phone ask me to repeat my last name two or three times, seeming unable to believe it each time.
It’s even necessitated the use of a pseudonym in the UK.
But my last name has proven to be beneficial at times as well.
It’s toughened me up considerably and probably contributed to my ability to disregard what other people think of me.
I suspect that it’s also contributed to my sense of humor.
My last name was also an integral part of my first Moth StorySLAM story, which I won.
Now it appears that there is a scientific advantage to my last name.
It turns out that the first letter of a childhood surname determines much about our consumer behavior as adult, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
The authors studied how quickly adults responded to opportunities to acquire items of value to them. They found that the later in the alphabet people’s childhood surnames were, the faster those consumers responded to purchase opportunities.
Children with last names that fall late in the alphabet are often at the end of lines or at the back of the class. “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 that individual opportunities to make a purchase won’t matter very much; they will ‘buy late.’”
I went to school with a girl named Melissa Zarnick. If the research is correct, it’s likely that Melissa is one of the worst impulse shoppers on the planet and in serious credit card debt.
Dicks isn’t as good as Allaire or Archambault (other last names in my high school class), but it isn’t bad in terms of its placement in the alphabet.
To prove my point, I’m currently driving a ten year-old car and watching an eleven year-old television connected to a fifteen year-old combination VHS/DVD player. The television is not HD and cannot stream content and the remote control on the DVD player no longer works.
I am the epitome of “buy late.”