The dark side of place attachment: Why do customers avoid their treasured stores?

Journal of Business Research n° 85, p 252-270 (2018)
Auteurs : S. Eroglu & G. Michel

While there is extensive literature on consumers’ attraction to their treasured commercial places, we have little understanding of the “dark side” of these close relationships within the retail context. Drawing on the notion of interdependent freedom and using the introspection methodology, this study demonstrates how customers lose their sense of interdependent freedom in the favored stores, and ultimately reduce, or altogether avoid their patronage over time. Specifically, the findings display the constraints and coping strategies customers use to protect their interdependent freedom in these venues by: (1) Creating occasions that enable giving back to the treasured place, (2) Carving their own territories therein, and (3) Calibrating the timing of their patronage. The results also identify two critical factors that influence perceptions of interdependent freedom in the retailscape: (1) Benevolent attention associated with weak relationships, and (2) Security associated with flexibility.