So, I was wondering if there is a term for people that - as the title suggests - prefer to buy stuff/ support businesses, even if they are not that good, only because they know the owners (they are friends with them, they are relatives etc.). In other words, they feel compelled to support them just because they know them not because their products/services are satisfactory.

I'm trying to find a negative word that suggests that this practice is wrong.

Online, I came across the term "reciprocity" and the experiment that Phillip Kunz conducted but other than that is there a term ?

  • You seem to want to find a negative word: You want to suggest that this is misguided. Is that correct?
    – James K
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 18:09
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    No single word comes to my mind. If you edit the question to show us a sentence or paragraph where you want to use this word (leave a blank there) we may be able to suggest one, or suggest a rewording of the whole sentence. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 18:50
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    Perhaps brand loyalty but not entirely. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 19:01
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    People have coined the word buycott to mean the opposite of boycott; that is, a practice of buying a company's goods because you want to support them. This is not a standard word, though, and a not everyone will know what it means without an explanation. Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 19:05
  • @EthanBolker I don't have a specific sentence in mind. I was just wondering if there is a word for that.
    – jsnjdhs
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 19:13

3 Answers 3


There is no single such word. In AmE we have a similar phrase that indicates someone is hiring, using, supporting, or patronizing individuals or businesses, as the case may be, within their circle of friends or associates without regard to overall quality of service. This phrase is The Good Old (Ole) Boy Network.

The Good Old (Ole) Boy Network historically refers to systems composed of men and male associates but I have seen many women participate in and benefit from The Good Old (Ole) Boy Network. Progress, I guess.

  • @jsnjdhs It means "American English". BrE would be "British English".
    – ColleenV
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 20:35

There is a term "nepotism". This means

favouritism shown on the basis of family relationships, in business or politics

This normally wouldn't be applied to something as trivial as shopping choices, but if a business was making a contract with the boss's daughter (for example) even though other better options were available, the boss could be accused of nepotism.

It is particularly applied when a person gets a job on the basis of their relationship to the boss:

Donald Trump has been accused of taking nepotism to alarming new depths after giving his daughter, Ivanka, a prominent role in meetings with the G20 and Kim Jong-un. (the Guardian)

It would be a stretch to call it nepotism on the basis merely of friendship, with no family relationship.


Perhaps obligated? That would imply that the person felt like they had to do something, because of social pressures. Not sure if that is what you are going for.

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