Saturday, December 3, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
In today’s baseball culture, players have begun to wear what is called titanium necklaces. Now although necklaces have been worn by both athletes and non athletes, these titanium necklaces are suppose to be “healthy and good for the body.” These necklaces are said to “Promote health and fitness, help with anxiety and anger, increase flexibility, ease discomfort, and reduce fatigue.” There is website after website that states these facts. In face though I believe that these things are not caused by the necklace and that instead it is becoming big among the baseball culture because of the normative influence of conformity and partial brand-choice congruence.
These titanium necklaces were first marketed as being helpful for athletics from all of the side benefits it causes as I stated before, but if people are catching on and waking up to the fact that they are not “magical” necklaces but instead what is becoming the popular and the norm for the culture of baseball. Players have brand-choice congruence to what other players are buying (titanium necklaces). Also players have conformed to the idea of wearing the titanium necklaces not only on the field but as part of their outfits off the field throughout their daily lives.
It all started with a computer. I went to walmart.com and purchased a pair of Apple headphones because I cannot find mine whatsoever and I wanted to be able to listen to some music on my iphone at Starbucks. I paid and used the ship-to-store feature. Once class was over, I drove to the Walmart on Scatterfield. I found a parking spot, and made my way back to the ship-to-store pick-up area, which was all the way in the back where the toys met the electronics.
I gave them my signature and proceeded to walk out with my purchase. And as I was walking by the blu ray players, I saw it! It was your basic LG blu ray player for $49.99. I could not believe my eyes! What was I gonna do? It did not have the features that the next priced ones had (wifi, etc.). However, it was the last one in stock at that point in time. Seeing as I do not have a TV with HDMI or anything fancy like that, I figured that this one would be good enough for me for at least a few years.
As I got to my car, I realized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I quickly ran back into Walmart, and proceeded to return the item (still in the bag with the receipt stapled on it). I got my $30 dollars back from the headphones and walked briskly back to blu ray players. When I got there, it was still there! So, I pick it up and then browse for a blu ray movie or two (depending what's on clearance). I probably browsed for at least an hour just make sure there was something that I could find a good deal on. Did not find a thing.
I purchased the blu ray player, and then proceeded to Target. When I got there, I found some excellent deals on movies but I could either buy one for about $20 dollars or buy two for about $10 bucks a piece. I ended up selecting Public Enemies, and the Princess Bride.
All in all, I feel like I made out with the best deal that I could get right now and probably for awhile. Now I just have to upgrade my TV.
Living off campus is a wonderful blessing. I am currently living with three roommates. Each of us have different personalities and add something different to the house. We regularly joke about who plays what role in our little family. For examples, I am the father always taking care of everyone else, being the provider, and still trying to have as much fun as possible. To not embarrass my roommates I will change their names but many of you will be able to guess who is who. Peter is the mother. He is always worried and concerned that we are going to hurt ourselves, always picking up after us, and constantly saying, "I don't think that's a good idea" which most of the time he is right but we do it anyways. Larry is the rebellious son, always looking for trouble, picking fights, full of energy, and just being wild. Finally, there is Donald, the toddler. The rest of the family is trying to guide him through life while giving him a hard time since he is the youngest and is very curious, always asking questions.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
I never realize how great my social influence truly is until I pay attention while shopping with my mother. Obviously, we have been in each others' primary groups for a long time, but I know that the distance between my siblings and myself has helped add to my influence. Since my brother and sister are six and eight years older than me (respectively), I was given the unusual opportunity to be a sibling while also spending six years at home with just my parents and dog. This brought many challenges, but also built a great friendship between my mother and me. My mom is my best friend. As time has gone on, we have become more and more homophilous, and our density become greater. I think we have one of the strongest ties imaginable.
All of these things said, in the past several years, it appears that I have come to the top of the list of members of my mother’s associative reference group. Although there is still a distinct mother/daughter relationship, I noticed very blatantly this Black Friday how quick she is to ask my opinion, even about things she is more than capable of making a decision upon. Surely she could have chosen a textile to hang in our bathroom during the Christmas season on her own, but she wanted my opinion. She trusts my judgment. It is kind of cool for my opinion to be held in high esteem by someone whom I respect and love so much.
This past thanksgiving break I was out late to eat at a popular restaurant in my home town with my Mother, Father and two older brothers (nuclear family). During our meal I came across a few of my close friends from high school who were participating in consuming some alcoholic beverages in the bar area and invited me over for a drink. I kindly rejected the offer to have a cocktail but went over and talked to them for a few minutes. During our conversation my friend who lives in Chicago purchased a round of drinks for everyone which was very generous for those indulging in the beverages. It is amazing how much more generous people are and the different decisions people make when they are intoxicated. My friends tried to persuade me into a beverage but I told them that we live different lifestyles and reminded them that I attend a university where drinking alcohol was not permitted. As conversation continued, they told me about the activities and some of the things they do at their state schools mostly involving drinking. When I compared their lifestyles, activities and interests to my own, I saw a great difference in our Psychographics. Drinking alcohol is a social environment that no one is oblivious to, but when people are in a restaurant or bar drinking their values and opinions change based on the people that they are around at that point and time as well as their blood alcohol level.
As another Black Friday has come and gone it has once again got me thinking about the whole idea of the day. I understand the value for the stores, huge volumes of people rushing into your store to snatch the latest and greatest products off of the shelves. One can almost see the dollar signs hanging in the air as the registers are practically smoking from all the swipes of the scanner. For the consumer, big savings on their favorite products and the joy of getting that certain gift for a special someone.
But what is it all worth? People getting pepper sprayed by other customers, trampled, and even worse, all to save a few bucks. Have people become that materialistic and have social influences become that strong that if one does not get that last product on the shelf that, that they must go on a rampage throughout the store only to attack the person who did get that last item? I know one thing is for sure, that sure captures the perfect image of the Christmas Spirit. Not!
By now you can probably guess my opinions of this special day and how I think it has gotten a bit out of hand. But who’s to blame for this? I personally would place a lot of blame on the retailers themselves. Many stores state in their ads that prices are good on the items, while supplies last. However they fail to mention that those supplies only total about 5-10 items. Once shoppers realize this, the mass hysteria ensues to be sure that they are one of those lucky 10 to get the product. However not all blame can be placed on the retailers themselves. The shoppers have a large part in this as well. We now live in a world where image is everything and many of those products sold on Black Friday are a strong part of that image. People are willing to do almost anything to get their hands on that certain product to “improve” their image.
Sadly I don’t think these things are ever going to change. Stores are not going to stop giving those door buster deals that bring in all that cash. And the world isn’t going to become any less materialistic. Image is, and will continue to be, an import part of the American culture.
On another note unrelated to my ranting above I would like to add one more statement. I think it is completely ridiculous that stores thought opening any earlier would help the crowds. Same crowd, earlier time, equals same mad rush, just earlier. I also find it sad that the Thanksgiving holiday is almost nonexistent anymore. It is simply the day before Black Friday. Or as in the case of some store deals this year, one day earlier to start Black Friday.
With winter just around the corner, I decided it was time to go buy a new pair of running tights. Being on a budget, I opted to go to Marshalls instead of Dick Sporting Goods, just to save some money. As soon as I get to the athletic wear section, I find a pair of black Nike running tights. Without even looking at the price tag, I instinctively grab them and continue looking through the other options. Shortly after, I realize that every other option was being compared with the Nike pants I already had in my hands.
In my mind Nike is what all other brands are compared to. I’ve never bought running tights before, but since I prefer Nike for everything else, my mind was already made up. So much so that I had forgotten why I even went to Marshalls; to save money. The point being that Nike is my prototypical brand for pretty much everything they offer. I can’t force myself to buy competing brands products even though they are often cheaper, or possibly of better quality. Nike is such a successful company because its customers, like myself, that are extremely brand loyal. And no matter the price, customers will pay the prices for their products.
Continuing with the theme of cameras from my last blog, I currently have a problem with my camera. I have two lenses, one for close-up, and one for distance. I have to change the lens every time I want a certain picture; my problem is that I don’t want to be changing my lenses when I could be taking pictures. I am going to London and Australia, so I don’t want to miss a good photo opportunity because I’m switching lenses. I have decided to look for a new lens that is the combination of these two.
I continually receive emails from Roberts about deals that I can receive. They have realized that photography is my lifestyle and it falls within my activities and interests. I received an email about Black Friday, but wanted to see if they had any other deals. They have a deal for the lens that I want and it lasts till December 31st so I didn’t have to make my decision right then.
I have been thinking about this for awhile. My father has been helping me with it. He has bought cameras in the past and knows a little more than the average person. I asked him to assist me in this process; he helped me find the lens that I would want. He used his informational influence to help me make my decision. I don’t want to spend too much money on this and have a limit for how much I do want to spend. I have looked at new and used lens prices as well. This is where gender difference comes in. As women, we do deliberate and through research before making a decision, and I did all of this before making mine. I definitely fall under the category of Millennial since I am technologically savvy when it comes to my camera and I am shopping for myself. This is my money and my decision.
I have decided to buy the lens even though it is a little more than I want to pay. I have learned that what I perceive to be the benefit is outweighing my decision of how much I want to pay. I have realized that sometimes the more money you put in, the better the benefit will be. This is what I am hoping will happen with this lens!
I am a brand loyalist. It takes me a long time to settle on a purchase decision, but once I jump in, I ride the waves, good times and bad. Brand Loyalty is the extent of the faithfulness of consumers to a particular brand, expressed through their repeat purchases, irrespective of the marketing pressure generated by the competing brands. I often find a brand that I like and stick to it. Whether it be cars, guitar strings, tooth paste, or computers, I often find myself buying the same brands over and over. Here is an example of how I became a brand loyalist.
It all started six years ago when I was in the market to purchase my first laptop. I grew up using Dells and Microsoft products. So, initially when I began my search I looked at Dell and HP laptops. They sounded nice and were fairly cheap however; looking into the quality of these laptops I was not impressed. This is when social influence kicked in. My sister was the first person to suggest looking at Apple laptops. Although her influence on my choice was very minimal, she did plant the idea. Thinking about what my friends would think also played a role in my decision. Contrary to what most would expect, my friends had a more negative opinion on my choice to look at Macbooks. They are very conservative and do not like change. They viewed Apple products as people engaging in conspicuous consumption. Buying items because they signal a message of status or eliteness to others. This was not the case for me. I have only heard good things about Macbooks and I was curious to check them out.
I have always loved technology and am always interested in the new or next big thing. Like many consumers in America, Japan, and many other countries, we expect rapid technological advances. We want something better and better, sooner and sooner. Apple has been one of the leading innovators of our time. It feels as if you finally save enough to buy the ipod you have always wanted to find that they are releasing a new one the following week and yours will be $100 cheaper! Regardless, Apple has been rapidly changing what it means to own a personal computer.
As I was doing research on macs I stumbled upon mac-forum.com, which, is a community, dedicated to macs and other apple products. A brand community can be very beneficial to a company’s brand loyalty. Having a group of fellow brand loyalist to discuss the values and benefits a certain product has can encourage others to want to fit into the community. This site gave me a great look into the world of Apple. I was able to see the benefits and capabilities that Mac’s offered. However, it is quit biased.
Needless to say I ended up buying a Macbook Pro and have not looked back. I am in no way a “fanboy” but will always recommend a Mac to anyone who is considering one. I am definitely a loyalist to the Apple name now. Although I do not have an iphone, but who wants to pay for Internet on their phone! Well most people do, but not me, not yet at least.