We all love to shop. Who doesn’t like to. Some go for pleasure; some for relieving stress and some go simply because they have lot of money and don’t know anything better to do with it. Shopping can be contagious and sales tactics used by many marketing folks can really make people who wouldn’t normally go shopping to hit the mall.
I stay very close to a mall and it amazes me how the malls get really crowded during holidays especially the thanksgiving weekend or the weekend before Christmas and even the week after that. People just don’t seem to stop shopping. I also stay close to a community center and there was this craft exhibition cum sale organized one weekend and suddenly I wake up to a neighborhood looking like a market which otherwise is pretty quite. It really got me wondering how the idea of a sale or a onetime event can make people leave everything and come to shop.
I am not against shopping; personally it’s one thing that I do to relieve my stress. It instantly makes me feel happy and contented. I generally don’t buy stuff just because they are on sale and every time I get tempted to buy something – I always ask a question – do I want it or do I need it? Yes Need Vs Want – that’s the key to an effective shopping. I will come back to this in a little bit.
Before that let me give you this example. We go to a shop which has a section saying 60% off. It immediately attracts our attention. We go to the section and check out the clothes. Say for instance you found a pretty dress and the price tag shows $80 after the 60% off. We then instantly check the base price – which in this case would be around $200. And we think that it’s a good deal because we are getting a dress costing $200 for about $80. Sounds fair. But what you don’t know is that after tax your total bill would be close to $90. And the base price tagged is most likely 300% the actual price for the product. Startled?? Yes that’s correct. I have many friends who work in the IT department of the retail industry. This friend of mine who used to work for this real big clothing store (I won’t name it, but they are there in all the malls). In IT you get access to all kind of inside information. You are actually the ones who come up with the formulas for those big time sales. So this is what she told me. “It’s tempting to buy clothes when you see 60 or 80% off plus when you work there you get employee discount too. But it’s still hard to buy because you know that the base price is always likely to be 300% more than the actual price.” So this dress which you felt happy about for buying for $90 actually might be worth only $65. And when you thought you got a good deal, it in fact was a 5% profit for the company.
Now that I explained you what goes inside the sale business, let me also defend the company. The company needs to make profits. It has to take care of its expenses like shipping, transportation, marketing, advertising, logistics and infrastructure and above all it has to pay to its employees. All these expenses are taken into account when they fix the base price. They are not after your money, that’s just how business works.
So that being said lets come back to Want vs. Need. Need is something that is necessary to lead a healthy life, the absence of which might cause negative affects while want is something that is good to have but the absence of this won’t cause any harm to you. Want can be pushed for future or until it becomes a need. This is the driving factor for a good shopping experience. We can’t stop shopping neither can the supplier stop making goods. It’s a perfect circle. But to balance it out what you need is to be aware of what you are buying. Stop buying things just because they are on sale. Everytime you like something and feel the temptation to buy it stop for a moment and think if you really want it. Weigh the alternatives and make a decision.
There are exceptions to these rules, sometimes you need to break the rules just so that you feel better and don’t feel bound all the time for thinking a lot before buying even a small thing. So unless you overdo it, it is good. You need to balance it out to get the perfect combination of needful goods and nice to have goods. Happy Shopping!!!