Price tag psychology

December 29, 2013

Price tag psychology

Dear all,

As this year draws to a close, it’s time (yet again) to reflect on success and failure, morality and priorities.

Time for me to bang on (yet again) about how materialistic we have all become and lament on how we are all such victims of advertising; such slaves to money.

We still live in an age in which as Oscar Wilde so nicely put it "people know the price of everything and the value of nothing". The fact of the matter is most of us have only one criterion to admire things: the price tag.

Thus the bag with the $5000 price tag becomes something to be admired even if it is neither aesthetically pleasing nor particularly useful. The watch with gold and diamonds, which costs more than the average person’s annual salary, becomes desirable; even plastic watches are made desirable through advertising and image-building.

But why do we suddenly think that it’s okay to pay thousands for plastic watches and vinyl type handbags with some designer type initials printed all over them? Is it because we are gullible or is it because we use these as symbols of our ‘wealth’ to impress upon others how powerful we are? Or is it a combination of both?

Consumerism has become a habit -- like drug addiction. The affluent housewife who keeps redecorating her house again and again for no other reason than it is just "what she does" is a case in point. Crazy spending on ‘designer’ labels and ‘brands’ seems a bit pointless as neither aesthetics nor taste is a consideration. What is important is only that it’s the ‘latest’ thing -- and the most pricey one at that. This is compulsive behaviour: a drive to validate oneself through spending money.

Okay, retail therapy is fun -- but only till it does not become an addiction. This crazy, suicidal hurtling of oneself into the oblivion of ostentatious spending is not going to make us happier or kinder people. Let’s have some self-respect, let’s aspire to compassion, originality and truth and not make wealth and the acquisition of ‘branded’ goods our life’s aspiration. As Albert Einstein said: "If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies…."

Let’s re-evaluate, have the conviction of our opinions, and not let ourselves become victims of lifestyle advertising or pointless peer pressure.

That’s one of my new year’s resolutions.

Best wishes for 2014,

Umber Khairi

Price tag psychology