a Grande coffee please

If you’re like most people, you would order a medium-size coffee in the morning or purchase the medium size t-shirt if you’re unsure of your own size and there’s no fitting room nearby.

That’s because of The Compromise Effect.


Widely used by marketers around the world, The Compromise Effect says that people are most likely to choose the middle option when given a few choices.


Lets say you want to buy a bottle of red wine. There’s a bottle that is $9 – hm, not bad. There’s a bottle on the top shelf that is $40 – I’m on a budget, so no. You look around some more to find that there’s a bottle that’s $15.


This effect says that you’re most likely to buy the $15 bottle because it’s in between $9 and $40. Coupled with the fact that price signals quality (i.e. high price = high quality), you’ll want to get a bottle that’s not too expensive, but also not too cheap.  So in the end, you opt for the $15 bottle.


Marketers use this all the time to get you to buy a product that’s more expensive than your regular purchase if you don’t have to compromise. That’s saying, without the $15 bottle, you’ll go straight for the $9 one.


How Starbucks uses Compromise Effect
How Starbucks uses Compromise Effect


Starbucks also uses this strategy by giving you 3 size choices – Tall, Grande, and Venti. According to The Compromise Theory, you’ll go for the Grande.


This is especially true when you have a lack of information about the products, often when it’s your first time purchasing or when you buy a different brand every time (like I do with wine).


The best part is that once you know what psychology does to you, you can now use reverse psychology to fight back 😉


and now you know! Watch out for incidents where marketers try to use this and share your experiences in the comments.



6 thoughts on “a Grande coffee please

  1. Hahah I actually usually do go for the grande in the mornings (always after all-nighters). I almost never finish it and in fact the leftover is about the difference between a tall and a grande! Yet, I then again go for the grande the next morning!


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