Brian Vaszily Exposes "How 'The Charlie's Angels Effect' Makes You Poorer, Sicker & Uglier"

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One of the most sinister but effective ways retailers of high-cost items like cars, appliances and electronics get you to spend much more than you ever wanted to is by using what consumer advocate and columnist Brian Vaszily calls "The Charlie's Angels Effect."

just a few thousand more

To help make the personal debt crisis worse than it already is, retailers have an arsenal of marketing tricks in place to get consumers to constantly spend far more than they intend to or should.

One of the most sinister but effective of these marketing tricks is what marketing expert and consumer advocate Brian Vaszily calls "The Charlie's Angel Effect" in his column at .

Back in 1980, an experiment published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology had men rate how attractive a potential date was before watching the "Charlie's Angels" television show versus how attractive a potential date was after watching the show.

The men resoundingly rated potential dates as less attractive after watching the famous show than before.

"Depending on the context something is presented in," writes Brian Vaszily in his column, "stuff of any sort can be made to look much better or much worse without the recipient of the presentation even realizing it."

Retailers, salespeople and other marketers have mastered how to take advantage of this effect, using it to manipulate consumers into making purchases WAY above their intended budget-level. For example:

  • Real estate agents will show potential buyers an ugly, dilapidated house or two "right in their price range." Then they'll show a pretty, clean house "just a few thousand more" than their intended budget -- and consumers are hooked, believing they are getting a "great deal" for just a "little" more than they planned on spending (when in reality there are pretty, clean houses available right in their original price range)!
  • Some appliance stores set up "decoy" refrigerators and other appliances that are, at their advertised price, bad deals (due to lack of features, mediocre warranties, etc.) The salespeople first show the consumers these decoy refrigerators "right in their price range" -- without consumers knowing they are decoys, of course -- THEN show them the "much better" refrigerators that are "just a couple hundred" more than they intended to spend. And consumers are hooked. Little does the consumer know that they just paid more than they needed to, and that the decoy was over-priced.

Columnist and marketing expert Brian Vaszily's mission is to "expose the dirty little secrets that unethical marketers use to sucker people," and in How "The Charlie's Angels Effect" Makes You Poorer, Sicker & Maybe Uglier by Brian Vaszily he exposes one of their top secrets in a penetrating and hilarious way.

Check out the entire column -- including the rather interesting pictures -- at

Note: Republications and reprintings of this and all articles is allowed as long as proper author credits and, if published online, a link back to is provided. is the home of the no-cost "Be Safe, Live Longer & Propser" newsletter, now the #1 most subscribed to personal safety & wellness newsletter on the Web. The weekly e-newsletter includes the popular "How We Get You" columns by Brian Vaszily at


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