The Perils Of Making Beauty A Job Qualification

I was amused by Robert J. Barro's "So you want to hire the beautiful. Why not?" (Economic Viewpoint, Mar. 16). I, too, am familiar with the research that shows that beautiful people receive not only better wages and promotion opportunities but also lighter jail sentences, should they be caught breaking the law.

Barro contributes to the perpetuation of the fatal myth of customer "supremacy" that pervades much of our business thinking today. In doing this, he ignores the extensive body of research on customer satisfaction that shows that customers often do not know what satisfies them. Even more importantly, part of this research shows that some of the "satisfiers" are economically nonviable.

Until we get away from the myth that the customer is "boss," we will continue to see our economies run by John Kenneth Galbraith's notion of the consumer as "unsatisfiable monster." This will continue the prevalent fashion for business experimentation as CEOs and others keep on looking for a business "solution" that doesn't exist.

Peter Stannack


Performance Sourcing Ltd.

Ashington, England

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