How to save money by paying full price
Not so long ago, I missed a flight. Nothing out of the ordinary. I typically cut things far too close. This time, I had my wife in tow. To say she was annoyed at me is an understatement.
I was annoyed as well but not at myself. My frustration had to do with how close we were to actually making the flight. We missed the airplane by seconds; I watched from a long hallway as the gate doors closed. I’m convinced that nothing sucks more than just barely missing a flight.
That, of course, makes absolutely no sense. Why do I care if I missed my flight by seconds, minutes or hours? The end result is the same.
Your brain on time
It turns out I’m not alone in this quirky reaction. Psychologists have demonstrated that our brains treat near misses as far worse. Having almost enough money to buy that ring feels worse than being flat broke. Watching your team lose by a field goal feels worse than watching them lose by a landslide. Getting really close to picking winning lottery numbers feels worse than being far off; knowing that someone in your town won a mega jackpot is worse than knowing someone across the country struck it rich.
Evolutionarily, the reason for this is simple: The closer we are to surviving, the more worthwhile it is to fight. Back in the wild, external systems didn’t exist, so our survival was largely dependent on our will. If you had no chance to catch your prey, for example, it was better to give up early. But if there was a fighting chance to snag dinner, it was always better to try to the bitter end than to give up. So nature gave us that extra oomph to continue as if the end was near.
Einstein succinctly explained to us how time is relative, and it is this notion that causes our brains to betray our best interests at times. Marketers exploit this brain tick to make us buy more of what we don’t want or need.
The most common approach is to create sales. Retail prices last indefinitely, but a sale is only for a limited time. One would think something indefinite would perform better, but when tests are done on shoppers, it turns out that the less time you give them, the more they buy.
That is worth repeating: the less time someone has to shop, the more he or she ends up purchasing.
Marketers use this quirk to get you to spend
Time-based sales have a long-honored tradition and for good reason. Companies have created ways to test the limits of time. Taken to the extreme, you would think reducing time would be counterproductive, but Snapchat has partnered with various retailers to offer “exploding coupons” that last as little as 10 seconds. Guess what happened? If a weekend sale causes irrational behavior, you can bet that shrinking the time frame intensifies the effect.
Have you ever wondered why auctions work so well? Sotheby’s and Christie’s exploit time limits and add the element of competition, creating a bidding frenzy that causes people to pay much more than if they took their time. eBay took the auction model online and manipulates time in more extreme ways, including providing up-to-the-second countdowns, complete with mobile notifications, as well as offering daily deals and a stop-the-clock button called “buy it now.”
A recent study examined bags in California and Arizona and researchers found large amounts of bacteria in almost all bags. Buzz60
As a consumer, you are largely at a loss when a business manipulates the laws of physics. But rest assured, there are ways to turn back time.
How to keep more money in your pocket
One of the best tricks is to shop before sales. Choose things you want, then wait. If it goes on sale, snag it (but be careful not to get caught up with other items in the sale).
A difficult but more effective tactic is to stop looking at sales altogether.Remember: People buy more (not less) during sales. Don’t fall prey to the time trap. Paying full price may be a hard pill to swallow, but the medicine goes down easier than the sale that will empty your wallet.
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