Why We Purchase What We Do



That is an version of The Marvel Reader, a publication by which our editors suggest a set of tales to spark your curiosity and fill you with delight. Enroll right here to get it each Saturday morning.

“I don’t like to buy, however I do like to purchase,” Frances Taylor wrote in The Atlantic in 1931. In an essay known as “Who Needs My Cash?,” Taylor laments how inconvenient the method of purchasing is. “I’m a enterprise girl engaged on fee, and I generate income which I wish to spend,” she writes, however going to shops is “a time-wasting and nerve-racking efficiency.”

What follows is an entertaining account of Taylor’s mission to purchase a listing of things in two hours. After getting misplaced in a division retailer, she lastly finds one factor on her checklist: a pair of pajamas. However they’re striped (“I needed plain ones”) and haven’t any pockets (“I am keen on pockets”). Later, in search of a bedside lamp, she’s advised that they “solely have one … it’s pink and it’s damaged.” “I too am pink and damaged,” Taylor continues, “however I handle to succeed in one other retailer.”

Ninety-one years later, the web and the algorithms which have grown with it make purchasing simpler than ever—however will we truly need all of these items we’re clicking on? The better purchasing will get, the extra senseless shopping for turns into.

Right this moment’s studying checklist explores the science behind how we purchase issues. The findings are each fascinating and a bit disturbing, however you may not less than use this data as a protect the following time you hear the siren name of fine advertising and marketing.

On Buying

Marco Goran

Why You Purchased That Ugly Sweater

By Eleanor Smith

The scientific tips shops use to half you and your cash

Soup cans that say "sale price"
Justin Fantl

How On-line Buying Makes Suckers of Us All

By Jerry Useem

Will you pay extra for these footwear earlier than 7 p.m.? Would the value tag be totally different if you happen to lived within the suburbs? Customary costs and easy reductions are giving option to much more unique methods.

fishing lure made from packaging with two double hooks, dangling from string
Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin

The Package deal Is the Message

By Amanda Mull

People can’t resist the lure of a well-designed container.

Nonetheless Curious?

Different Diversions


I’ll go away you with some of the shocking findings in Eleanor Smith’s story concerning the science behind shopping for that ugly sweater: Analysis has proven that “customers desire spending cash in shops with cool, blue-toned interiors over shops with hotter, orange-toned interiors, the place they are usually much less enthusiastic and balk at excessive costs.”

— Isabel



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