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Spending On What You Don’t Need – I Can See How It Happens

June 25, 2010 · 17 comments

in Personal Finance

Wednesday night, my family went out to eat at what many consider an upscale mall.  (I was craving Chinese food from the food court.)

This mall is anchored by a Macy’s and Nordstrom’s on the north side, and  Neimann Marcus and Saks on the south side.  In between, there is just about every store you can imagine. 

After dinner, I wanted to buy some chocolates for someone who wasn’t feeling well, so I set my sons free to look around.  After I was done buying truffles, I roamed over to the Apple store to see if the boys were lurking around there.   As I got closer to the store, I saw a lot people gathered at the entrance.  I thought maybe a giveaway was going on or something.  Instead, it was just people all interested in Apple’s offerings.  (I believe a new product was released that day, or at least recently.)   I walked in and there were rows of people trying Ipads and other Apple products.  It was actually a rather fun environment, it was funny to see all the excitement over electronics.  Expensive electronics. 

Our next stop was the Sony store, as we figured our boys were playing the video games on display.  We walked in, and it was not nearly as crowded as Apple was.  Instead of exciting, it seemed more serene.  I actually felt somewhat calm walking in and seeing  all the crystal clear televisions.  I was drawn to almost every one, many displaying beautiful pictures of nature.   There were some nice chairs in the back  surrounded by many tvs, so I just sat there for a little bit while the boys goofed around.   I can say I was honestly tempted to just rip one of those tv sets off the wall and go home with it. 

What I found really interesting in retrospect was, I am not a spender by any means, and even I had the urge to make a purchase.  What about the people that are not as conservative?  I can completely see now how easy it would be to be drawn into making a purchase you really can’t afford.     You can totally see how you that nice, big tv would look in your family room with the equally attractive entertainment center and new blu-ray player that is ‘thrown in’ with the tv.  You picture hours and hours of enjoyment.  You even envision giving up movie theaters all together because you will never need to leave the house again.  Justifications are everywhere.  Next thing you know, you have signed up for a ‘no interest for 6 months’ payment plan and a delivery date for the following week.  No regrets, just excitement.

That is, until those 6 months are up and you have to come up with $2500 or pay hefty finance charges.

I will say, these stores are marketing geniuses.  If they can tempt a spend someone like me, then anyone is fair game.  At the moment, I am very glad I did not buy anything.  I just know that I probably should not go in the Sony store again.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Reasons June 25, 2010 at 10:38 am

Sounds like a consumer trap, that’s for sure…

But the interesting thing is I didn’t hear you talk about a high pressure sales pitch from a saleperson! It’s pretty impressive that their products can do all of the speaking for them visually just be being on the wall…

Sounds like an awesome store, and probably one that it was good that I wasn’t in. I’ve been wanting a new TV for years… waiting, waiting, and waiting for the prices to drop (which they have to a decent percent).

I’m so tempted, maybe next year :)…

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Kris June 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm

MR – I was surprised there wasn’t vultures all over us either. One guy asked me and I said ‘no, we are just loitering’ and he walked away!

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Money Reasons June 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm

LOL, I like that response!

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Money Obedience June 25, 2010 at 10:53 am

Buying stuff that I don’t need happens to me all the time. When I look into my drawers and into my closet, I see way too many clothes there. Do I really need that many shirts and pants? Do I need all these ties? My entire house is full of stuff I don’t really need. Such is the age of consumerism, isn’t it?

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Kris June 25, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Money Obedience – stores do such a good job marketing. Plus, they are always sending coupons in the mail so you always feel like you are getting a great deal when you do buy (referring to clothes here).

My dresser and closet need a good cleaning out too!

Thanks for the visit!

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Young Mogul June 25, 2010 at 11:37 am

Yep, I know those feelings; that’s why I got myself off of email marketing. Because I can resist the stores, I just don’t go to them. But online buying is hard for me.

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Kris June 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Young Mogul – I don’t know if I ever have been as tempted as I was that night. That environment was just so nice and peaceful. I guess I am probably the opposite of you- I need to stay out of the store and you need to stay off the computer! 🙂

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Budgeting in the Fun Stuff June 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Well, you know me. I hate parting with my money, but I still buy crap I don’t need. Usually it’s food, but I understand the point. Was I hungry enough to need a milk shake with my chicken sandwich…ummm…no. Did I buy the Cookies and Cream milk shake anyway…uh, yeah…duh, lol.

Thankfully, I don’t seem to care about electronics too much, but gifts for hubby or my dogs end up in my online shopping carts way too often…the buying possibilities are just too awesome to pass up all the time. I hold mucho respect for all the true frugalites, but sadly, I do not usually fall into that category…

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Kris June 25, 2010 at 2:13 pm

BFS – Milkshakes are great and should always be enjoyed! 🙂

I don’t care about electronics either, that is why I am so surprised at myself! The Ipad did not intrigue me (much), but the cozy tv area at Sony was a totally different story. I need to stay away for sure!

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Rebecca The Greeniac June 26, 2010 at 2:47 am

OK… I just have to share this. I read this comment (not terribly carefully as will become painfully obvious) and I thought you said you needed to make a milkshake out of your chicken sandwich! I thought to myself… “Holy Moly! – who would be tempted by that!” 🙂

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Budgeting in the Fun Stuff June 26, 2010 at 2:24 pm

HAHAHA…chicken milkshakes…I don’t see that catching on, lol. 🙂

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Rebecca The Greeniac June 26, 2010 at 2:45 am

Oh yes… the sensory overload shopping experience. Those marketing people know their stuff all right.

I have actually come to hate the entire shopping process, it’s just exhausting. I usually only venture out to a “retail establishment” when there’s something I need, and it must be purchased in house to get the best price. But I do all of my research online or over the telephone so I know who’s got the best price and then I just swoop in, buy it and leave.

And perhaps this comment will betray my age, but I totally don’t get the big deal about all of those little Apple toys. It seems they cost a ridiculous amount of money, and I’m just totally floored when the release of some new iPhone makes headline news! Really?!? This is news?!? It’s like the giant marketing machine has taken over the world! It sort of frightens me…

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Budgeting in the Fun Stuff June 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Don’t be frightened, they just want to rule the world, lol. 🙂

I thought we may have been the only ones left without Iphones or Ipads…

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Rebecca The Greeniac June 27, 2010 at 3:06 am

I’m afraid to tell you that I don’t know the difference between an iPhone and an IPad… and then there’s an iPod… it all just makes me iPooped!

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Kris June 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

Greeniac – I only know because of my kids. 2 have ipods and 1 has an Itouch. None have Iphones, and nobody has asked for one either.

Ignorance is bliss!

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