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Brett Crawford

Research Findings

“They just won’t sell to you”: When businesses are gatekeepers of customers

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November 12, 2020

Gatekeeping is defined as the work of assessing who is “in” or “out”; to identify those deemed worthy of passing through a gate. But while this important classic theory is often used to consider who gets to speak, in terms of the selection of artists, journalists and other producers of content, gatekeepers also practice this essential selection work with customers.

The gatekeeping of consumers is often not considered as a form of gatekeeping. Nonetheless, the idea of gatekeeping customers is logical when we think about credit cards, home loans, nightclubs, R-rated movies and many other areas where consumers have to be qualified. But, what about customers given access to high-end culture, such as rare pieces of fine art?

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