I like that title, in fact that could be the entire post, I like that title that much, but I will elaborate on this provocative statement, about the seduction of spending.
Today’s consumers (myself included) love of things and what money can buy has turned into a full-blown obsession with money and it’s trappings.
Are you a victim of the seduction of spending ? Ask yourself these question:
- Does anyone really need to spend $8.00 on a cup of coffee? In my mind if the beans were picked my Marilyn Munro in the nude (and she delivered it to me in that same state), then I might think that coffee is worth the money I spent. Starbucks has seduced you to spend that money with its cache and marketing.
- Can you hear the difference of $10,000.00 speakers for your stereo over a cheaper set of speakers? I can’t, but I am also fairly deaf from younger days in printing plants and rock concerts. If you feel it is really important and you can tell the difference, you have been seduced into hearing something that may well not be there (except for your dog).
- Why would you pay $16,000.00 for a Toyota Corolla when you could pay $80,000 for a BMW or Mercedes-Benz? Do you live in your car? For that price, in some places you could get part of a house for the Benz. If you think people will be impressed by the Mercedes name you have been seduced into thinking people care what car you drive (I might care if you drove me to work).
These are pretty crass examples of the seduction of spending that we all fall for (I am not portraying myself as being lily white in this, I have bought things that afterward I have asked, “Why did I do that?”), but this is one of the hardest things to control, the urge to spend money.
We can stop ourselves from walking up to an attractive member of the opposite sex and introducing ourselves, simply by rationalizing the embarrassment we might feel and the fear of rejection in that situation, yet we can’t stop ourselves from spending money when we know we shouldn’t (and worse we know we can’t afford the thing we want to buy).
Should we all be taking Prozac or some other psychotropic drug to curb our spending urges? I don’t know, I don’t think they would stop us (they might make us so stoned that we might not do much of anything), so how can we stop ourselves?
No Credit Therefore No Buy
The idea I have is so simple but also very hard to do, for most of us, since we feel naked without a wallet full of credit.
If you go out with no credit cards and no money, you are going to be hard pressed to buy something, aren’t you? Yes, I know with instant credit it’s not impossible, but it will slow you down a fair amount. If you are going out to look at a high priced item or even just going “shopping” with friends, don’t take your credit cards, and maybe bring enough cash to buy a coffee (not a $6.00 one either).
If you are someone who can control your impulses to spend, I applaud you, and strongly suggest you should write a book about it, I’d buy it on the spot (anyone see the dichotomy of me impulse buying a book that is to stop me from impulse buying).
I definitely don’t take credit cards with me if I go shopping and just have a little money with me. It is really hard to resist the temptation of buying something when you know you have the resources to buy. And oh, I would never buy a cup of coffee for $8.
Coach purses, Coach wallets, Coach sunglasses. Overpriced, ordinary merchandise with a label that makes a lot of my coworkers feel important.
I think they look like lemmings following the rest of the herd (pack?) and there is so much Coach crap out there is almost like a middle-aged uniform.
I’m lucky that my hobbies don’t include shopping, even window shopping. To carry your seduction analogy a bit further, if you never meet any tempting, available members of the sex that attracts you, your chances of having a marriage-ending affair are greatly reduced. By not being in the stores, my chances of seeing the PERFECT whatever are also greatly reduced.
There’s something magnetic about new stuff that casts a spell. I remember visiting a kitchen stuff store to get a requested item for a relative’s present. I must have seen 15 things that seemed very interesting and useful. Luckily I didn’t buy them then, because I notice now that I never actually went back to look again nor missed having them.
I am glad that I don’t frequent Starbucks. I think their prices are too high and their coffee is terrible. That is the only company I know that has coffee beans that taste burnt. Everything they make is burnt tasting unless they throw sugar in it. Too many are enticed by spending because it is so easy and provides satisfaction. It leads you down a dark path though.
At some point in our lives we are all guilty of succumbing to the seduction of spending. Great article, Big Cajun Man!