I’m a marketer so of course I want people to buy things.
Like (Virgin) mobile phones and domestic and trans-Atlantic flights for example.
But as we approach another “Black Friday” holiday shopping season kickoff…
Part of me can’t help but think – do we really need all this stuff that’s being advertised?
You may recall a very unfortunate incident when a Wal-Mart employee was actually trampled to death at Wal-Mart during this day.
What could have been so crucial to buy that worked people into such a mob frenzy?
For the last year I’ve been taking a new approach to spending and loving it.
I call it the Joy of Less. I wrote about it last summer.
It started with the onset of the Recession. Like many people, with uncertainty looming, I felt a need to save more and to be more careful with my spending.
But what started as an act of deprivation soon turned in to a source of joy.
Instead of shopping for clothes, I started shopping my own closet.
I cleaned out and donated the clothes I never wore that were cluttering my view of what I really had.
I set a sort of color “uniform” for any future purchases. They had to go with what I already owned or I wouldn’t consider them.
And I looked for fewer more quality items.
Now as a brand person, at first I felt a bit I guilty about this new philosophy.
Isn’t conspicuous consumption, the oil that greases the wheels of the economy?
But I’ve come to realize that this joy of less approach doesn’t mean Ive stopped spending all together.
It just means I have a new relationship with the things I do purchase.
I value them more.
Because they were the result of a thoughtful approach and not just a whim, I feel more attached to them.
And In many cases I am actually spending more per item than I would have before. I’m just buying less things.
I have other friends who have shifted their spending to experiences (vacations, classes, etc.) and away from objects because they believe they and their families get more out of them.
This holiday I am heading to the mall (though not on Black Friday!).
But it will be with a more considered list of what will really bring pleasure to people I love.
It will be interesting (and no doubt somewhat frightening) to observe what happens with retail trends this year.
Some people say we are beginning to tip toe out of the recession.
And others are more skeptical.
Either way, I think consumer behavior has probably been permanently changed in ways we are just beginning to grasp.
And new behaviors will outlast this current economic crisis.
I believe in these harder times with harder choices, we’ve all learned new lessons about the “value” of possessions.
What’s your twist?
How are you spending differently this Holiday?