Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Consumer Behavior and Psychology

I heard a segment on the news this morning which talked about (among other things) why and when humans give charitably. It is worth noting that we tend to tip better when the waiter gives us a piece of candy along with our bill in a restaurant. Also mentioned were the rates of charitable giving when we receive unsolicited gifts such as return address labels with our name and address printed on them, or a small gift from Hare-Krishna members in the airport.

It reminds me of things I've heard and read about certain marketing practices designed to get a person to spend more, for example product display tricks such as putting the same product in two or three different size containers and pricing them in such a way as to influence which size we purchase.

I would like to believe that this inside information and the details of marketing ploys would one day have  some monetary value to me but that's not necessarily true. Despite knowing how retailers and other corporations try to change my purchasing behavior:
  • It is unlikely that I will take this information and profit from it by purchasing more wisely
  • Knowing the tricks of marketing or philanthropic organizations does not necessarily mean that I will anticipate and counter these devices
  • Nor do I harbor any idea that if I did outwit them, that I will get rich because of it
And most importantly, it goes without saying that even if I did save money--even a lot of it--this way, I wouldn't necessarily be any happier than I am right now.

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