Monday, 19 February 2007 – Luise Volta
mpulse buying has long been the bane of the unconscious shopper’s existence. Huge displays in the middle of the isle in supermarkets, sales racks in clothing stores waving prices that can’t be beat or ignored, and tasty surprises handily placed at checkout stands in hardware stores, of all places, beckon to us around the clock.
We’ve already spent a bundle, so why not? Look at the money being saved or the creeping fatigue that’s being thwarted. Smart move!
Advertisers have been fully aware of our Achilles heel for decades. How do we know how long for sure…maybe centuries. Psychological selling was probably taken into careful consideration in the stalls of the ancient bazaars of the Middle East.
In these days of Mall-halls, how often do we come home dragging bags behind us to proudly announce, “You have no idea how much money I just saved!”
Watch out! Look behind you! A new monster approacheth! Web Impulse Buying!
This new glitch sneaks into our wallets when they are safely put away. We’re at home cruising the Web to check something out that is totally legitimate and “free,” and there it is…the buy-of-the-year. And wait a minute, if we get two or a case the savings mount before our very eyes…truly astronomical opportunities we can’t turn down. After all, what’s the saying, “Opportunity only knocks once!” Right? Wrong! On the Web it probably knocks, what, thousands of times a second on a quiet day?
Lets look more closely. There are lots of reasons not to buy on impulse on the Web. Prices look wonderful but shipping and handling charges can cancel out the bargain rapidly. It often appears to take big bucks to pack and mail even a used paperback book. Why do you think the book only costs 10 cents?
We also hesitate to return such items because of the time and bother that dealing with correspondence, special shipping labels and other off-putting tasks and confusing procedures requires. Do you really think “they” (whoever they are) don’t know that? Rewrapping the purchase and summoning UPS or FedEx to return the unwanted item as well as connecting with them for pick-up is often a drag. Why not just keep it or pass it on? That’s the plan, you know.
There is a way to stem the descent of the Impulse Troll and his penchant for taking over the control of your fingers on your keyboard. Stop. Do it. Just plain stop. Hit the bookmark or favorites key, if you must, and take a deep breath. Do you really have to have that item that you never even heard of before you logged on? Set up a control, time-wise. How about twenty-four hours? How about never? Once you’re back in the driver’s seat, go back and take another look if you can’t resist. But look closely…is the romance over? Is the thrill gone?
We are all consumers but none of us have to become quintessential consumers. Why cringe and cower behind the door when the credit card bill comes? Who’s running the show anyhow? Ah, who indeed!