Friday, May 8, 2009

What kind of buyer are you?

I came across this excerpt from Geoffrey Miller's book Spent via Marginal Revolution and couldn't resist passing it on.

Some common themes emerge from these slightly whimsical suggestions. One is that buying new, real, branded premium products at full price from chain-store retailers is the last refuge of the unimaginable consumer, and it should be your last option. It offers low narrative value -- no stories to tell about interesting people, places, and events associated with the product's design, provenance, acquisition, or use. It reveals nothing about you except your spending capacity and your gullibility, conformism, and unconsciousness as a consumer.

Are you "unimaginable", or do you take delight in the "people, places, and events associated with the product's design, provenance, acquisition, or use"?

I'm not generally a big consumer, and I do not think I possess a knack for choosing fine things. Yet as I have traveled around this country and overseas, I think more about the hands that made the objects I buy.

When in Germany I read "Made in China" on many supposedly local items, I realized I was about to be duped and had the sense to leave well enough alone.

In Hungary, I had a different experience: All of the items I bought were handmade by local artisans. They were indeed crafted goods, and I held them in greater value.

I have brought these thoughts back to the United States, and now look for where something is made. I eschew "Made in China" unless I have no ready substitute. I see names of countries that I did not realize made such a product as an export, and I think of what I know of these countries and the people that inhabit them.

Sometimes, it makes me more likely to buy, to bias the circular flow of money in their direction. Economic growth, it has been asserted, is the greatest means of lifting vast numbers of people from poverty.

I can take comfort in a smart buy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but must be courteous and thoughtful. I reserve the right to delete comments that do not possess these characteristics.