Monday, June 27, 2005

Library Bag: Why People Buy Things They Don't Need

Having studied most guides to simplicity and frugality, I'm turning to books about consumer behavior and marketing.

Why not examine my buying habits just like the highly paid consultants analyze us?

You know me, always fine-tuning my tightwad radar!

Danziger's thesis is that all purchases are driven by need. Even if the object is useless, "the act of consuming, rather than the item being consumed, satisfies the need. (1)"

I want to quote the paragraph in which she gives the generational basis for her theory. I think you may recognize your peers in her analysis, even if you don't recognize yourself:

"'s baby boomers and their children are rapidly losing touch with this
shared cultural memory of hardship. Boomers and younger generations know nothing
about getting along before cars, indoor plumbing, and antibiotics. The
generations that were born and came of age after the last World War know little
about doing without, struggling to put food on the table, stretching a dollar,
and delayed gratification. Spoiled the younger generations may be, but they are
the consumers who express their wants, desires, and dreams in terms of needs and
necessities because they have never done without. (11)"

--from Pamela N. Danziger's Why People Buy Things They Don't Need: Understanding and Predicting Consumer Behavior, 2004, Dearborn Trade Publishing.

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