Friday, November 7, 2014

Zombie Shoes and Impulse Purchases

by Sara N.

I bought zombie shoes yesterday.

I didn't need them. I don't know where I'll wear them. They're actually kind of ugly.

And yet, I now own them. It was a spur-of-the-moment purchase, brought about by a quick click of the "buy" button.

Impulse purchases happen for a number of reasons, according to Psychology Today.

Some people just really like to shop. (This is not me.) Others fall victim to retailers who make us worry that we'll miss out on a good deal if we don't buy now. (The shoes were not a particularly good deal.) Sometimes, when we don't want to parse every little detail of a purchase, retailers step in by making the product look particularly good through "freebies" or bundling large quantities. (This was not a bulk purchase of flats.) Retailers also appeal to our desire to save time and money through packaging and advertising. (Again, not so much here.) Finally, we humans like to think that we're interesting, smart, and better than average, and our purchases reflect these aspirational beliefs. (I suspect that last one is what got me. I'd love to be effortlessly cool enough to pull these off. I suspect that I am not.)

I'm generally not a shoe buyer. No, it's cheap, sparkly jewelry that tends to get me. Books, obviously. Sunglasses. Purses. The occasional overpriced cupcakes. Another Psychology Today article tells me that this is also common, as these are hedonic or symbolic products. The former bring us enjoyment; the latter are linked to our self-image. And I figure, as long as I'm not regularly splurging on the good stuff, I can open my wallet for a $10 pair of trendy sunglasses now and again. (See below for the most recent goofy pair.)

So why write about this as we enter the holiday shopping season? It's certainly not to discourage anyone's gift-giving spirit or shame folks for their buying habits. It's just kind of cool to take a minute to ponder why we do what we do and buy what we buy. In other words, know thyself (and why thyself has so many dangly earrings).

Anybody else ever find themselves bringing home things they don't need, or lured by the promise of a BOGO sale or free shipping? Let me know so I don't feel so alone. Meanwhile, I'll be over here, figuring out which of my purses matches zombie green.
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