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September 30, 2011 / Simon Thorne

An insight into the Irrational Consumer!

Hello everyone! I thought the best way of getting a grip of this whole blogging business would be to jump straight in and tell you all a little about what I will be talking about here.

First a little about me, Hi, I’m Simon Thorne, a masters student in Consumer Psychology with business. I was reading Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational” the other day, when my girlfriend turned to me and said “Huh, Predictably Irrational, that is the perfect way to describe you!” Well as it turns out, it describes all of us fairly well. We are all irrational when it comes to buying, sure we may rationalise our actions because who wants to admit to not knowing what the hell is going on, but on the whole we allow ourselves to be manipulated every day into making decisions that aren’t in our best interest.

This is what I have found very interesting and hopefully you will too. Lets face it, were not rational shoppers, if we were the average weekly shop would take a lot longer than 25 minuets. After we approach every item figure out why we need it, how much we are willing to pay, how much we think we will enjoy the product, previous experience with the product, if we only want the product because that pretty girl over there is looking at us approvingly… and so on. There are hundreds of things as rational shoppers we would have to consider before approving of a purchase, but we don’t do this, why? Ok it would be pretty irrational and time consuming. How then, do we make these decisions almost instantaneously? This is part of what I will be reviewing in this blog. Along with many other questions…

Why do I long for that New Car smell when buying a new car when I could just as easily go and buy that new car smell in the aerosol it came from? Why will I say one thing and do a different thing entirely? Why am I willing to pay £100 more for a TV just because it has 4000:1 instead of 2500:1(What?)? Or a washing machine that boasts 1200RPM rather than 1000RPM (Actually do I care how fast my clothes spin or just if they are clean when they’ve had either there slow or fast spin)? And why will I always buy and extra shampoo just so I can get the 3rd one FREE!?

These simple decisions are often dealt with in a way that leaves us perfectly happy with our decision to buy that new40”, 50Hz, 3D-HD-LED TV with 7,000,000:1 resolution! But did we really get the best deal? Did I need all that jargon to improve my happiness with my new TV while I sit there and watch Friends in HD or would I of been just as happy with a £300 cheaper option?

Why will I quite happily take a pen from work but wouldn’t open up the cash register and take 20p out to buy a new pen? And why will a little old lady deter me from shoplifting? This is another point I will be looking at, dishonesty, what this means for employers and why we all lie and cheat.

By now I hope I’ve got your juices flowing, if not there’s always another blog out there in the big world wide web, thousands, millions even! Isn’t choice good? The more choices the better, or is it?

First up though I will be looking at why those rotten teeth and clogged arteries on cigarette packets have me reaching for the nearest lighter. You can look forward to that in the next few days, well that’s my intention, and what good are intentions anyway?

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