Why do we get something? When making a choice of what product to purchase, we are often overwhelmed by the options. (Schwartz 2006) On one side of the coin, it is good that we have so many to choose from, as that maximizes the chances of finding the product that we would like the most. However, it also means that it takes more time to make a decision, and there are so many other things to regret not getting. (Gilbert 2006) Often, we have too little (or no) choice in what we purchase, and just have to deal with what we are given. From that point, we have to synthesize happiness – that feeling of satisfaction does not come from the product itself, but from ourselves. It involves lowering expectations in a sense, as we would not have been happy with that item if we had been given an alternative that suited our sensibilities more aptly.
Some people place an incredible price on rare goods; often, the more work that is put into a product determines its price. (Wallace 2008) A person’s valuation of an object can sometimes stem from aspects such as its rarity or its higher cost. Our mind equates “more expensive” with “better,” and as such would value the pricier product more. At the same time, we also desire that which others cannot have – therefore, we seek rare and uncommon items as well. Often, we will purchase the more expensive, less common product in order to display it as a status symbol to others, demonstrating that we have something they do not. This provides us with a sense of fulfillment otherwise missing if we were to get the more affordable and easily found type of product. The primary factor in purchasing a product is determining which one is the best of limited choices, opting for the greatest rarity and highest quality product available.
“Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice.” Barry Schwartz. September 2006. 10 April 2011.
“Benjamin Wallace on the price of happiness.” Benjamin Wallace. December 2008. 10 April 2011.
“Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy?” Dan Gilbert. September 2006. 10 April 2011.