I am in a battle. My former self whispers to me about all the flashy new electronics on the market, new gaming systems, new kitchen appliances. And while I don’t buy them for myself, I live vicariously thru my husband who has no hang ups when it comes to purchasing items he wants to have. Guilty by association, I don’t argue when he wants the Amiibo that are on Clearance at Game Stop (BoGo, who can pass that up?) Or the Sous Vide unit (that I won’t argue with, since the steaks we get from it are by far better than most I have ever eaten in a restaurant).
I can stand and deny myself little trinkets and toys, proclaiming, No, I am Minimalist, I have given up collecting and hoarding. Meanwhile, I get my kicks watching my husband stand at the counter making purchases.
What is it about buying and holding onto things?
Part is the thrill of the purchase. You see an advertisement that glorifies an object- “Newest, Best of the Year Product” and you know there is a buzz that comes from getting That specific object and bringing it home. A guy I dated years ago, who worked in the car sales industry, used to call it the Puppy Effect– For instance, you go to a shelter, and see the animals; and once you have held that animal, part of your brain claims it for yourself. So putting it back and not taking it home hurts. To ease that discomfort, you purchase the dog. Or car, or IPhone X. I learned in sales to put the Puppy Effect into all of my presentations- always let the customer hold the product, then take it away. In some cases, you could see the customer slightly grimace having to release it back to you- in those times, you knew the sale was closed and you could then move to the soft close “Which color phone would you like, silver or black?”
Being on the other side of the sales counter now, I do enjoy watching a good sales presentation- when I see someone working the deal, and saying all the right things, I want to buy just out of the pleasure of seeing a professional work their magic. It is hard to walk away sometimes, and I always make sure to compliment them on their skill.
Staying out of stores has helped me with my Minimalist journey. Online shopping is more difficult, because inevitably, once I leave a stores website, I see ads targeting me with the product I researched on nearly all of my social websites I go to. I can’t hold the product, or pet the puppy- but I am constantly reminded that if I “Click Now”, I will be happy with my purchase.
I am happy to at least recognize my weaknesses- namely the joy of watching others make purchases; and also that I have a better understanding of the psychological process of sales. Remember, the sales people you encounter in stores have had countless hours of training, anticipating your “No” and how to counter it with proven techniques to turn it into a “Yes”. We all have to make a living, so don’t fault them for it; and Not everyone can have a successful sales career, the best sales reps are highly skilled professionals. But if you are looking to downsize, or declutter, or Minimalize your life, be aware of the tools used to get you to buy- the Jedi-Mind control skills can be overcome if you know they are being used against you.