Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Psyche behind Christmas shopping

It seems that we never learn, the economy, the legislature, trying to fix things and still coming short. We all got a good taste of a major Recession like the 1930's. Yet, we remain committed to help, our grandparents learned it. They saved and prepared for the worst. Yet, we remain unchanged.
The toughest time is during the holidays and the euphoria of the holidays; no one can escape it. It's tradition, right?
Seen from afar, on an early cold hard light of January, holiday shopping can seem a bit insane. I do not have a TV, although I can imagine the news talking about Black Friday and depicting mobs streaming into department stores and rampaging among the shelves, their overload cart piled high with televisions and video game consoles and expresso machines. It seems like preparing for 2012 already....WTF.
Neverthlesess, is it a social obligation? the National Retail Association has it to a science, many retailers depend on this to survive and supposedly help the economy, the feel good about helping our recovery. In a macro level does it really help? well it depends on who you ask. The retailers, yes it does, it keeps people employed. The consumers, it depends. The psyche of shopping is more scientific than that. Studies have been performed to figure out how to tap into your buyer's surplus, an economist term to see how retailers tap into your wallet and what you do not plan to spend but still spend it anyways. Yes, we have prepare for this season, but once you open your wallet for the first time you tend to feel what marketers call the guilt sensation. A guilt that I should not spend this money on nice to have items. Once you have opened your wallet once, the second time it hurts less and less and so on. Then you get the relieve that you are buying something for someone; the feeling of giving, yes it is the time for giving, but did you notice this is an excuse to buy more for oneself? This is what researchers called "the shopping momentum effect", so we buy,we have earned, it has been a tough year; I work hard for this, I should buy a Porsche or a nice hot tub. The psyche of shopping continues. It is a license to buy...
As the holidays approach, this phenomenon can feed on itself in a steady loop of spending events. We are humans after all. We never learn.
Happy Holidays

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