Make Assume to Consume.
According to a website entitled 'economy', (making economics less confusing):
‘Consumer choice theory’ is a hypothesis about why people buy things. Put simply, it says that you choose to buy the things that give you the greatest satisfaction, while keeping within your budget. At the heart of this theory are three assumptions about human nature.¹
1. The first assumption is that when you shop, you choose to buy things based on calculated decisions about what will make you happiest. In economics language, this is known as utility maximisation (Economists really like to put quite simple concepts into long complicated terms.)
2. Secondly, the theory assumes that no matter how much you shop, you will never be completely satisfied. In other words, you will always be happier consuming a little bit more. This is known as the principle of non-satiation.
3. Thirdly, even though you always get more happiness from more consumption, the amount of pleasure you get from each good decreases with the more you consume. So if you eat two ice creams rather than one, you get more overall pleasure, but the second ice-cream won’t be as satisfying as the first. This is known as decreasing marginal utility.
Consumer choice theory has influenced everything from government policy to corporate advertising to academia.²
But the theory has been criticized for not being the most accurate description of how people actually make choices. A whole new branch of economics, called ‘behavioural economics’, has emerged essentially to use findings from psychology to disprove the assumptions behind consumer choice theory.
This has also led others to argue that consumer choice theory is less about describing how we do actually behave, and is more about describing how people should behave.³ In other words, by portraying people as self-interested shopaholics, economists are saying that it is okay and natural for us to be avid consumers.
1. The Value of Consumer Choice, Browning, 2010
2. Influencing Consumer Behavior: Improving Regulatory Design, Department of Finance and De-regulation, 2010
3. Toward a Positive Theory of Choice, Richard Thaler, 1979
It seems to be the process of shopping that gets to people not the problem of what, how, where, or when to buy. The actual handing over of cash or getting out the credit card that materialises work into transactive commodity, and creates regret or fulfilment. There are a number of ways to treat this principle, either the product is for a person, yourself, or a family member, or friend to say thanks to them or even yourself, for a good job, or even more plainly just because you want to spend the money, 'money to burn'. Or there is a public element that the product will bring one more in line with the perceived acumen of the group of people for which you work. Now this works one of two ways, to uphold credibility, the architect and his designer lamp to get on par with your colleagues or a product for the company itself like a self build SquareSpace website to start and invest in real service terms, to manufacture a product, or to provide a service and re-invest in the business.
A shopaholic attitude is really too far, but to tangibly contain, hold or possess money in real terms in the form of a product is the ultimate goal. So far we have discovered three theories to consumer choice: 1. Happiness, 2. One always needs more, & 3. Less pleasure from increased consumption. For example to be a shopaholic like the economic behavioural decree we must be on course for a drug habit. There is no difference to habitually buying and habitually taking substances or drinking and smoking etc. How do we break those chains, but to try to think intellectually about how to approach the issue, and build new social habits around less is more, 'hygge' moments, candles, blankets, open fire and stories; all free and all available within reason; or we spend with self investment in mind, an education or a quality item that will bring hope to our lives. We have discovered the product we buy is either for the product itself, person satisfaction, credibility, 'I have one of those so, so will I' or public good, government services to business re-investment.
The next issue is the nuance of imperfection. If it is a must have some buy so economically they wonder why they bought it in the first place, if they have any taste or chance of quality about their person. There is something missing to a Primark T-Shirt, that you do not get after a thousand washes from a Ralph Lauren Polo top, even with a couple of holes in it and faded, it makes that shabby chic all the more profound to just throw it on over a long sleeved t-shirt and roll the collar inside. This is the art of war in clothing, wabi-sabi and the cost of wear and tear for an original fashion which is elitist unless you are at the factory outlet because it is worth it. Be selective and find those bargains, there are many outlet stores around the country.
Finally, if you have not yet weened yourself off the drug of shopping, think how much is spent on other drugs, and necessities, and how budgeting can go a long way to financial rewards to instil some kind of quality in a person. If you are snapping up everything on the High Street, or dare I say it, the lack of independence to a telemarketing ploy, one must question one's arrogance about shopping which will achieve less in the long run, and one must start searching your local independents, search online, get it right, and then the major stores will be out of pocket not from refunds this time, like poor old Debenhams, but a lack of interest for the nouveau riche idol of shopping on tap, until you drop to rap, cut the c***, we need ethical commerce, so begin with the ethical consumer, see '81' Cup, and bring home what you wanted. If it does not exist, which plainly it doesn't a lot of the time, keep searching and you may find your own cottage industry, consuming, manufacturing and self-reward in the homemade, made to measure out-fit, you accomplished in the few days of emotional dread at what you bought last month! Do not assume you must consume but be selective.