What Are You Trying To Buy With Your Sweaty Dollars?
Every day we are making choices with our hard-earned sweaty dollars.
I always imagine that meme based on Fry from Futurama, which says, ‘Shut up and take my money!’ It is exactly what we are thinking when we are giving people our dollars (or kyats, or roubles), in order to make purchases.
We are not actually buying what we think we are buying though, when we purchase anything.
A dress isn’t actually a dress, but a chance to replay our youth for a few seconds. A pair of headphones isn’t just a headphone set, but a chance to enhance our standing with the in-crowd.
Very rarely, a purchase is just a purchase. We needed shoes, and we got shoes.
But in most cases, due to the myriad choices available, we don’t just buy a random pair of shoes. We think about what we want the shoes to represent to others watching us, and what the shoes represent to us in our wardrobe choice. Instead of choosing the in-thing, we might be a rebel and go for something that isn’t so hot, but is the next new thing. Or at least in our minds, it is.
When we go to a store, there are hundreds of advertisements that are sitting in our subconscious from the thousands of hours of TV watching that are pressing certain buttons in our minds.
Sometimes we don’t even have to think about a choice, because the choice has been ingrained in us as the best choice available. Why did I buy Colgate toothpaste for years before switching to a herbal one? Because my mother bought it for us for decades until I moved out, and probably her parents bought that brand for her. Or she saw ads for it with her favourite actor or actress.
We don’t know. We just don’t know why we buy certain things.
We might be buying it because we like it, but why do we like it? What caused us to like this item over something else?
I go on Instagram sometimes, when I am feeling like I need a jolt of envy, comparison, and depression to hit me hard right where it hurts. I see gorgeous women by the truckload, some of whom are so beautiful, that I could never be like them. But then they are wearing a piece of clothing. Hmm, I could never be as beautiful as them, but what if I wore the same stuff as them? Then, I could be partly as beautiful. Awesome! I search quickly for where that item can be found, and go in search of the same exact pair of pants, or dress, or anklet. I find it and in most cases, before my rational side can stop me, I hit Buy.
A few hours later, when I’ve gotten over the Instagram comparison craze, and I am sitting calmly in my make-shift office, I wonder, what the hell happened there? Why did I just purchase a random dress when I have a hundred other dresses sitting in the closet? What triggered this reaction in me?
Then, I can go back and analyze the flow of my thought process.
The previous Boom Shikha would have been too busy and too harried, to be able to go back and piece together the madness. But now, I have the time and the mental cognition to be able to do this.
I tell myself, do not go on Instagram, especially when you are PMSing, or feeling unworthy. I repeat, do not go on Instagram, or any other social media feeds. They are the new beauty magazines, I think. They will only make you feel ugly. And when we feel ugly or unworthy, that’s when a lot of purchases take place, as we try to fill that gaping hole inside of us. That emptiness, which can truly only be filled with lots of self-love, movement, good nutrition, and some creative work.
But we fill it with stuff.
Or at least most of us do.
I don’t know much, but I do know that 90% of my purchases happen when I am feeling terrible about something and I am trying to make myself feel better.
The adage ‘I deserve it’ is the most terrible one out there. YOLO is another one. These make us buy things that 99.9% of the time we don’t need, and we shouldn’t purchase.
That purse, or pair of boots, or dress, or pants, or Kindle, or headphones, or water bottle, will not make us feel better about ourselves.
Yikes, what a freaking letdown. I thought buying an expensive waterbottle made of aluminium and glass would make me feel like a million bucks. It didn’t do that. Even that jolt of endorphin that happened when I clicked the ‘Buy’ button wasn’t enough to make me feel better about my situation in life. Moreover, I’m a few dollars poorer, without any great consequence to that.
Why am I still so foolish though? Why don’t I learn?
I thought after repeating the same foolish mistake a billion times, I would learn and get over this nonsense. But no!
A hundred times no!
That’s how powerful damn marketers are. They kill our thinking neurons, and all we can say to ourselves is that, If I buy that one item, just that one item, it will change my life so much that I won’t be able to recognize myself.
We scoff at others who think they will be hotter if they buy that particular brand of beer and will have girls laying all over them, but we do the same exact thing with other items.
I thought I was smarter than this. I really did.
Even if I never ever go onto any social media ever, which is quite impossible, being that I run an online business. But lets assume I never ever went on a social media site, ever, I would still be advertised to, when I would see a hot girl walking past me in a particular brand, and instantly, I would salivate, thinking, if I could only buy that particular item, I would be as hot as her. Or perhaps, even hotter!
Goddamn, I need to get that brand. Right now. I mean, right now.
Then, instead of doing my creative work, I would spend hours looking for that particular item.
The solution, you ask?
God knows. Until we can take a second to think in between the stimulus of great things to buy, and the response of us taking out our damn credit cards, this cycle will continue forever.
It’s not like we can get away from it.
I haven’t watched television in years now, but I still have hundreds of thousands of advertisements sitting dormant in my subconscious waiting for that particular moment to press my buttons and get me to buy something. I don’t have a doggone chance in hell.
Perhaps, I just need to meditate more. Wait a second, there’s this headband that helps you meditate better. Only $199, it’s cheap for the price. Ooooh, they have a $100 sale because of Mother’s Day, even better. Normally, it wold be $299. So in fact, I am saving $100 by buying this right now. Done!
I’m off guys. EEG headbands await.
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