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Advice to shopaholics October 19, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in economics, humor, ideas.
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Something interesting from an economics journal.

Try to understand the following. If you are put off by the language less than you are enticed by the subject, you will get through to the end of the passage. And by then if you have understood it ( perhaps after reading it again), you realize this is so true.

We investigate some of the relevant accounting rules, and find that advanced purchases (e.g., a case of wine) are typically treated as ‘‘investments’’ rather than spending. At the same time, consumption of a good purchased earlier and used as planned (a wine bottle opened for dinner) is often coded as ‘‘free’’, or even as savings. However, when it is not consumed as planned (a bottle is dropped and broken), then the relevant account, long dormant, is resuscitated and costs associated with the event are perceived as the cost of replacing the good, especially if replacement is actually likely.

Okay, the above is stated in more human words in the same paper later.

We open with studies that document people’s mixed perception of the value of items whose consumption is temporally separated from their purchase. First, we find that people can avoid the feeling of having spent money when they make purchases that are seen as investments to be consumed at a later time. Next, we show that people do not feel that those purchases are costing them anything later when they are consumed.

Now, the question is why I am putting it up ?

To all my married gal-friends and other shopping crazy people – if you want to buy something, (say an expensive perfume or something), badly but are feeling guilty about it, just tell yourself that you are buying it for future use. This way you wont feel guilty while buying it. And then, dont ofcourse go home and use it – that would not only multiply your guilt of having bought it, but of having lied to yourself. So, wait for some time before using it. This way when you wont even feel guilty when you use it.

( All this assuming that you are not already practising this. )

Sorry husbands. And sorry wives, if your husband is a shopaholic. (assuming ofcourse that you are not ! )

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Comments»

1. Mangala - October 20, 2006

I find this especially true when shopping for commodities from wholesale retailers like Costco, who usually sell in bulk. Though the context is much different, but the feeling is the same.
Its cheaper buying in bulk so when I am mid-way thru using the product I start feeling that whatever is remaining is actaully free..

2. Raksha - October 20, 2006

Good post! Makes me want to look forward to Thanksgiving and the shopping eventuality without guilt. *smile*

3. Sharath Rao - October 20, 2006

@mangala

Yep, you are right. Costco though might infact be a benign example – where you buy more of what you need. This is more about buying things you can definitely do without !

@Raksha

Welcome Raksha, good to see you here :). Its only 5 weeks and wait will be over ( unless ofcourse you decide to take your lesson from the post ) in which case, that be sooner. ( poor aswin ! )


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