As I wrote about Change is the only constant, I discovered one more incident to attests to it. There has never been a day when I went to office depot and came out with only what I entered to buy. This weekend something unexpected happened. I went to office depot, picked up item X which I intended to buy and left the store. I even did not look at the store flyer or any other isles. I did not realize this change immediately after I left the store but today when I was reading an article on impulse shopping I realized that I exactly managed to cut down on my impulse spending. Now suddenly I feel great about it. It sounds like an achievement to me.
Yes, impulse spending has been one of my weaknesses. I think I am doing well recently to overcome this weakness. For me impulse shopping is something that you feel great at the time of shopping and later you regret. This feeling is like a free fall; even since you become the proud owner of that item you sooner or later start feeling guilty about that spending. It just shows that you did not intend to purchase that product if you were given some time to think about it. What is it that is stopping us from taking that time, thinking about it and then making the decision? There are many factors but the three dominant ones are marketing, peer-pressure and lack of information.
Marketing: Those flashy adds which run 24X7 on television, media hype about a product, store employees trying to convince you that this purchase will be the best thing you can do today etc. are marketing strategies that companies use. How many times you have gone to Costco or BJ’s and got out with 70% of the items which you did not need at that time? How many times you have been driven to a store by just looking at the big SALE signs? I definitely have committed these mistakes many times, but its frequency and magnitude has reduced drastically over last couple of months.
Peer-Pressure: This is the one which many of us feel does not apply to me. But I am very sure that deep down under, in some corner of you, it does affect you also. For instance: your co-workers discussing about their newly owned Iphone in the kitchen area, your best friend’s wife boosting about the new HDTV that they bought yesterday and how amazing the deal was, your friend giving you a ride in his newly hatched, fully loaded luxury car. There are many more such incidents which somehow leave an impression on your mind about that product. To make things worse you find that same product in the front isle of the store that you visit the next day. Now when you find that product, that dormant impression that was left in your mind takes life and prompts you to go closer and explore that product. It depends on individuals how much you can resist to such temptations. If you are like the ideal
customer you might end up spending your hard earned dollars on that product. At that moment, factors such as availability of money and need of that product are easily taken care of by the impulse shopping bug that was alive in you.
Lack of information: I really feel bad when I come home with a product and soon realize that there are cheaper, better quality things available which can suffice that same needs. This should be very rare in today’s information overloaded age, but believe me this happens very often than you can imagine. Consumer Report, CNET reviews, Amazon or even GOOGLE
should give you a very good idea about any prospective product that you are eying to get home. When that impulse shopping bug was biting you, if you were aware that there are other better deals available in market, it might have be easier for you to resist that spending and move on.
For me getting a new car is one of the prime candidates for impulse shopping. Most of my friends know that I have talked about buying a new car more times than Obama talks about health care reforms. Every time I sit in a brand new car, the impulse shopping bug in me becomes active. After I leave the car, I will google the price, ratings etc. Sometimes I have also been to the dealers to find out more about the car. But today I can proudly say that I have repelled those storms. I still have my old, reliable, sturdy and sexy beast, Nissan Maxima with me and I plan to hang on to it for a long time. This impulse shopping fever lasts only few days then it settles down. Now I am aware about this cycle and hence I somehow convince myself to hold on for few days before I take any major purchase decision. This extra time that you get before making the purchase gives you chance to analyze, evaluate and rethink about your decision. If that decision was a result of impulse shopping, in most cases you will end up scraping that idea. This is my way of saying NO to impulse shopping.
How do you avoid this monstrous bug?
Do share the experience of reading this blog by leaving a comment to this post. It is the only way for me to improve.
Live 2 Eat, don’t Eat 2 Live!