I used to love retail therapy.
There was something really comforting about clutching a café mocha while traipsing through the local mall and pretending I was more rich or important than I was because I had a few bags that could hold the load of clothes instead of my unchecked emotions for a short while. *Sigh* Sometimes I miss that blissful ignorance so much that I’ll head to Victoria’s Secret anyway and rifle through the undies like some pervy maintenance man who sneaks into your home when he knows you’re gone.
But why do we feel this need in the first place?
I mean… to shop… not wear strangers’ drawers like a biohazard mask. Sure, we understand that companies tell us we lack something and they have the solution for it. But how’d they get so goddamned good at it, I wonder? Well, back in 1910, this dude called John Dewey came up with what he dubbed the “buying decision process”. Basically, as consumers, we identify a problem, search for a solution, look at possible alternatives, and then weigh the decision before and after.
This same method’s been studied and improved upon by marketing pros along with the aid of science ever since. And according to studies that’ve been done on shoppers – it takes about 23 minutes before our shopping-logic reserves get exhausted. Apparently, if we stick around the stores for a full 40 minutes, we go opposite-of-Spock mode and emotion takes the wheel.
And speaking of wheels, this can apparently apply to big shopping decisions too – like buying cars. In that same bucket, auto purchases are joined by the houses and dream vacations we choose, too. A little after half an hour, we base decisions more on feelings than facts.
I suppose this sorta makes sense. Even when I thoroughly enjoyed doling out dollars for shit that’d still have the tags on ‘em a year later, many times I had this really weird habit: I’d troll Nordies or Saks with a cart for like an hour, and then when I had all these cute duds soon to be living in my closet, I’d pause. Then I’d look around surreptitiously. Then I’d leave the cart at the door, with all the shit in it.
And then I’d go home empty handed.
What feelings, you might ask, had taken over? Naturally, the one that says, “Fckk no, I don’t wanna wait in line or carry this muffuggin bag up the stairs.” And if we learned anything from the fish post I just wrote, laziness is indeed a feeling.
Take that, marketers.
Indeed, studies also have shown that mere retail loitering can be a sufficient emotional snack in and of itself. So, if you wanna nix your unconscious shopping habits – just think about all the crap you have to lug into the house and put away before you can finally move onto your next form of external therapy in the form of a wine bottle.