Trust me, it's all in the coffee

The most excellent Radiolab recently did a show on the topic of choice. In one segment, a study was described where researchers determined that a person's opinion on the "warmth" or trustworthiness of another depended on whether they were holding a cup of either hot or iced coffee. Subjects who held the hot cup briefly before being asked about the likeability of a person unknown to them rated the stranger as being nicer than the testers that held the iced coffee. Of particular note are the implications this has about the relationship between a consumer's behavior in regards to physical interactions that the service provider offers. Are customers more likely to buy your product if you create a warmer environment for them? It's no secret that stores use different types of lighting and sound to create a more sales-friendly environment for shoppers, but hot coffee just makes me think McDonald's lawsuit waiting to happen, not customers blithely adding pastries and sandwiches to their order as they fight the morning caffeine withdrawal shakes. Maybe you'll want to think twice the next time the barista places a drink in your hands before asking if you want to add anything to your order. Or we could just make it painfully clear, the way this cafe in The Netherlands does.

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