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Stockholm clubs 'thrive on bad service'

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 3 Feb 2011, 14:02

Published: 03 Feb 2011 14:02 GMT+01:00

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"This customer behavior would have been unthinkable in many other different purchasing situations. Previous research indicates that only a lack of competition or a low price can get customers to return despite being badly treated," said Kristian von Seth who, together with Nicole Rosvall, has investigated the topic in a masters thesis presented at Stockholm University this week.

The study, entitled "Same music, same drinks, same poor service" ("Samma musik, samma drinkar, samma dåliga service") argues that the Stureplan set puts up with the churlish reception at some of Stockholm's more expensive watering holes, due to a mix of sexual attraction and a yearning for confirmation.

"The motivation is based on, among other things, sexual attraction, other people at the nightclub, self-identity of customers, seeking confirmation and the pure physical attributes of nightclubs," said Nicole Rosvall.

The study, within the field of business economics, is based on qualitative interviews conducted with regular customers at Stureplan nightclubs with a theoretical basis in service marketing and psychology.

The authors argue that contrary to established theory the poor service and unrefined staff form one of eight identified attributes explaining why many of the nightspots are so popular and successful.

The long queues and poor reception renders the chosen few to feel exclusive and the experience of VIP guests is heightened by virtue of the knowledge of how the less fortunate are routinely treated, the study argues.

Story continues below…

"The underlying problem, in this case the bad service, is thus a part of the reason why customers at Stureplan nightclubs feel an attraction to their favorite nightclub," said Kristian von Seth.

The study by Kristian von Seth and Nicole Rosvall has been submitted as a master thesis at Stockholm University within the field of business economics with a focus on marketing.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:40 February 3, 2011 by TheOriginalBlackMan
No, the answer is, Sweden, Stockholm is lammme! I have never see so many women with flat butts in my life. Don't they know that VIP areas are so Studio 54?

Nevertheless, get some beautiful women in the clubs, better music and stop with gay atmosphere. Im done.
15:43 February 3, 2011 by Danne8
It is demeaning to customers that the personell at the entry of the clubs allow big queues to form just to lure in more people...dispite of the weather... And of course that it is done not because the club is full, but totally the other way around.

I understand when the club is full and you need to wait for people to come out so you're allowed in... but the customers shouldn't be used as bait... just let the customers go in and have a good time!
16:00 February 3, 2011 by Strongbow
"in defiance of established economic theory, they keep coming back for more"

Just like Uwe Boll movies.
18:01 February 3, 2011 by ISayWhatPeopleThink
Not to point out the obvious, but is there any GOOD service in Sweden?

Aside from the bars, with obvious long lines, surly nonrespondant barstaff...I've also encountered:

-Government offices (Försäkringskassan, Arbetsförmedlingen, etc.) with personnel that have no idea what their job consists of that give bad advice or information and are generally unhelpful. (Granted, this is expected in most countries)

-Some of the rudest restaurant service on the planet. Crappy overpriced food served late on a dirty dish by people who act more like you are an inconvenience to their day rather than a valued customer.

-Snooty retail sector workers that would rather chat with coworkers than actually help a patron, and throw condescending power trips whenever anyone tries to (god forbid!) return an item or ask to use a toilet in their establishment.

-Grocery store cashiers that despite only having to scan items and ring up tills (unlike some of their foreign counterparts that actually have to bag the items for the customer) that still manage to work six times slower than cashiers elsewhere who do more.

-(applies to all of the above) Inability to smile, even in an insincere fashion..

I'm sure several of you living here know what I mean. Feel free to add any I missed.
18:39 February 3, 2011 by Daniel Hynes
I hate to say it but Swedish people in general are rude.... They all need to take Happy Pills :)
19:34 February 3, 2011 by Decedo
Clearly the 'customer is always right' doesn't apply in this country. Outside the of obvious lack of service in the hospitality sector (is that an oxymoron here? hehe). I work for Astra Tech, and I've seen suppliers get away with stuff they'd never try in North America.
20:50 February 3, 2011 by Ivan Juric
I was in Sweden last August. I found that men were polite the women were moody and grumpy. No wonder why I saw many Swedish men with Thai wives.
21:17 February 3, 2011 by ausrasul

most of the cashiers in supermarkets are emotionally retarded.

they just can't stretch the two muscles on their faces that makes them looks like.... smiling.

in fact, I really like the idea of those self-scan cashier machines in COOP and Ikea.

I read the whole article because "low prices and lack of competition keeps them comming back" really ringed a bell.

sometimes I pay more just for better service, but lack of competition, you just have to swallow your dignity.

just to be honest, COOP and Willey:s cashiers are usually nice.
22:11 February 3, 2011 by krattan
Interesting survey. One must be pretty fragile as a human being to regard the welcoming by grunts to the shitty holes at Stureplan as a confirmation in any way. But then again a weak minded consumerist is the best firewood to a growth based economy...

And for the comments above, get out of Stockholm. At least that's my experience.
22:21 February 3, 2011 by djmarko
haha, can relate to some of the comments, for those that are regulars at east bar in stureplan, the guards outside could be so obnoxious, if they dont recognise you, you have no chance to get in, I am quite sure these guards look forward to weekends where they can display some arrogance, trying to hide the fact they probably live pathetic lives!! on the flipside, once you get to know them, they treat you like royalty, so funny!!
23:28 February 3, 2011 by alecLoTh
I'm as happy-go-lucky as any antipodean - but I really get pissed off by the attitudes of bouncers and staff at certain clubs, to such an extent that I dont go anymore - simple.

Ive found small watering holes 'where everybody knows your name' and that's enough for me. If I really want a thrasher I go to London, people there get my humour at the least.....
23:32 February 3, 2011 by wxman
Poor service and rude staff? What are they trying to do, compete with the French?
23:49 February 3, 2011 by Nilspet
@ ISayWhatPeopleThink #4

I agree with you :) Some more to add but I think people can extrapolate the data by themselves :)

I have traveled the world enough to understand exactly what you mean.
01:33 February 4, 2011 by JoeSwede
put a link to the master's thesis. Is there any discussion of going out to exclusive nightclubs as being a type of luxury good.... where the higher the price the greater the attraction. The callous treatment is probably related to price in that the uglier the treatment, the pricier the establishment really is "higher".

This might be more of a Swedish phenomonan because they can't truly charge the entrance price they want due to equalization of wages through the tax system.
01:42 February 4, 2011 by saraswed
i do not know if i have more to say than ones been said here.though i have traveled to London there are some clubs you cant get in if you are not recognized or not invited by someone or maybe you need to be identified even after having a full id or passport,+the body search+metal detector etc.hence when you are in it as boring as hell nothing so different but very expensive.yet people queue out in the cold,rain and snow to get in.what happens to the better good and cheap or say affordable drink clubs lacking customers.

its more like a routine to see people with the fake smile.i mean big time fake
06:50 February 4, 2011 by rob582
Lets face it, there are too many 'Wannabees' hanging around Stureplan at the weekend, just look at The Locals own picture galleries 'The weekends finest' and other galleries of such ilk. Too many people just living for the weekend and waking up in the morning with random partners. The culture in Sweden promotes low self esteem and leads to such behaviour.

Maybe some time in the future we will become more enlightened and focus on the important things in life.
08:22 February 4, 2011 by locaxy
So...is this like a corollary to the Stockholm syndrome?
21:38 February 4, 2011 by Tanskalainen
I'm not Jewish but I smell a business opportunity! Good service in Stockholm with a smile. Whoever does it will make a fortune.
19:40 February 5, 2011 by mkvgtired
@rob582, that culture is shared by young people in general, not just in Sweden. Inevitably young people have to grow up whether they like it or not. I just started law school and am glad to see the culture there is far more refined then it was for my undergraduate studies.
20:55 February 5, 2011 by maometto
all those that go there deserve the bad treatment becoz they keep going..

a boycott to those places can force a change in service!!
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