Friday, November 30, 2012

Fill it Up

I was at the local Speedway gas station today when i realized something. I realized I was figuratively able to throw forty dollars straight into my gas tank, and thought nothing of it. This seemed very strange to me that I would not feel an extraordinary amount of buyers remorse do this.  Whereas, if i would try to make a purchase like this at Walmart I would have a great amount of buyers remorse.

This cognitive dissonance, or lack there of seemed strange to me. I can only assume that the lack of buyers remorse is due to the necessity of gas to my everyday life. I believe that fact makes purchasing gas a low effort buying decision. Therefore eliminating the possibility of buyers remorse, or regret of my purchase decision. The amount of money spent by one person in a single month on gasoline for their car would register as a high effort decision in any other purchase decision.

I believe that high effort decision making about necessity's somewhat eases the presence of buyers remorse in the post decision making process of the consumer.

Early Christmas

          The iPhone is one of those items that can be seen anywhere. No matter what generation (3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, or 5) it may be, you commonly encounter one person a day who owns one. A lot of people have brand loyalty to Apple and simply swear by their products, while others just want to be part of the bandwagon. Well, I am an iPhone advocate, and even may admit to being a bit loyal to the brand with my iPods, iPhone, and MacBook Pro.

          Until a few days ago, I was a little behind the times, and still had the 3GS version of the constantly changing iPhone. However, with a screen that was popping out and a silent button that no longer worked, it was time to upgrade. My mom had hinted that she was planning on getting the 5 for me for Christmas, but since she had just dropped her 3GS and was forced to upgrade early because of an inoperable touch screen, she agreed to let Christmas come a little early. Since I was so loyal to Apple, was satisfied, and had a positive attitude toward my first iPhone, as well as my other Apple products, I used the simplifying strategy, choice tactics, to make my decision to upgrade to the 5 one that was low-effort and easy.

          I see now that I am an emotionally satisfied customer, and that Apple can add one more to their list of retained customers. I am a happy camper, and a very proud (yet humble :]) owner of the iPhone 5.

A Healthy Heart is a Happy Heart

             As November 7th neared my anticipation continued to grow. I was anxiously awaiting the grand opening of the new health foods store, "Earthfare",  in Hamilton Town Center. Earthfare is the closest organic and health foods store to Anderson University and I was in desperate need of a health foods store that I did not have to drive an hour and twenty minutes round trip to arrive at. Although Trader Joe's has a good selection and great prices, it was too far away for the return I was receiving. Whole foods is even farther away although it is probably the largest health foods store in the area and has a great selection, but I do not need that kind of selection for my normal routine. Earthfare was indeed the answer to my prayers. As I walked in to Earthfare on November 7th, it was buzzing with anxious and excited shoppers ready for an adventure in this new store. I looked to my right and witnessed the most organized and attractive arrangement of produce I had ever seen. I continued through the aisles for the next hour, observing the nuisances of this new store. It had the fresh meat section as well as aged and organic cheese section that I prefer a grocery store to have. It also had a great selection of make-up, medicine, and other health remedies. Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed. It is admittedly a bit annoying to be in a store during the grand opening, but there is a strong sense of camaraderie amongst us health food shoppers all hyped up for  a new store. Now, of course the elephant in the room in regards to health food stores is the price. I am a college student and therefore need any break I can get on my grocery bill. I expected to pay a little over $100.00 for two to three weeks worth of food for myself. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my total was exactly $110.00 before my coupons and a whopping $80.00 after my coupons! I left extremely happy! Post-decision dissonance is unavoidable, but I can honestly say I was emotionally and rationally satisfied with Earthfare in numerous ways and plan to maintain loyalty and spread positive word of mouth for years to come!


I love extreme sports and love photography so knew I had to have a convenient way to catch all the action. SLR’s are to bulky to lug around so I wanted to find something compact and virtually indestructible. Working in motorcycle dealerships since high school I knew the perfect product. The GoPro Hero HD. Shooting capabilities of full 1080P resolution, 10 pictures a second burst modes and tons and tons of mounts I knew this was the product for me. GoPro is such a young company but has become very successful in a short amount of time. They are fortunate that their customers are equally as passionate about catching heart-stopping footage as they are. I bought the first addition GoPro but the new Hero2 was out and I had to upgrade.
I was already a loyal customer and absolutely loved the brand so it didn’t take much to convince me to pull the trigger on the new gadget. Some improvements were wifi capabilities allowing you to download an app to watch live video from your camera. Another great feature was the new scuba housing that allowed for clearer underwater footage up to around 200 feet deep. The most important and welcomed feature was the interface that made navigating the different options so much easier! Needless to same I am a customer for as long as they are making products I will always buy whether I need it or not! Call it conspicuous waste if you will but I enjoy buying cool stuff like this to add to all my camera gear. 

If the suit fits...

Coming to college means that you will experience much more than you ever have before.  Reaching out and meeting new people, living on your own, accountability, responsibility, the list goes on...  With that comes growing and if we are lucky, maturing.  Some of us meet people and form close, lasting, friendships.  Others come to college and fall in love.  This story is about two people that did just that.  This story is also about a suit, that one consumer still regrets buying.

This past summer two of my friends were set to get married.  A very in love couple and not a care in the world.  As the wedding quickly approached I found myself shorthanded when it comes to diversity of formal wear.  A few pairs of slacks, several different dress shirts, but nothing that I really considered formal enough for a wedding.  I proceeded to find the perfect suit- perfect fit, perfect style, and perfect price.  I began shopping at larger retailers with no avail.  I found excellent deals on websites that were extremely appealing but then again who wants to leave something like a suit to chance?  Nearly giving up hope, I am lead to a store suggested by my fiance's mother.  Reluctantly, I go to the store and mistakenly bringing my fiance (and two of her friends).  After searching for what seemed to be decades I believed that I had found what I was looking for... THE suit!  Offered at what seemed to be a competitive price I sprung at the opportunity.  

This store happened to also offer tailoring services for suits and other formal wear.  I began to have the suit fitted to me.  After being asked several questions about how I wanted the suit to fall, and certain aspects about fitment, I realized that I was extremely uneducated in this realm.  My reluctance stayed with me throughout the fitting process and even until the time of purchase.  In honesty, I probably wouldn't have purchased the suit had my fiance not been there pressuring me to do so.  And as the story usually goes, I bought the product that I knew I didn't need.  Trying to justify my purchase I started to craft all of the events in my head that I would wear this elegant suit to.  Those fantasies were soon dashed after my credit card ran through the machine and I felt a small amount of my financial security slip out of my hands.  

The day of the wedding I dress in my newly purchased, well tailored, suit.  Man, did I look good too.  Looking in the mirror and seeing the final product solidified it for me.  This WAS a good investment.  I get in the car and commute to the venue where the ceremony would be held.  I step out and walk inside to see many familiar faces.  Close friends attended the wedding and were seated throughout the church sanctuary where the couple was to be married.  Looking around at all of my friends I began to realize that I was more well dressed than most of them.  In face, I was even more well dressed than some of the attendants in the wedding party.  At the price that I paid, the investment that I had made nearly a week before that, in that time, seemed to be one of the worst consumer decisions that I had ever made.  A classic case of buyer's remorse...

Buying Just to Buy


After being unable to participate in Black Friday shopping due to spending time with family out of town, I could not wait to take advantage of online deals on Cyber Monday.  I woke up early to surf my favorite apparel websites in hopes of being able to afford items I normally could not.  The brands in my evoked set for clothing are Abercrombie, Express, J. Crew, Hollister, and American Eagle.  I was not really shopping for things I needed; after all, I had just made a Christmas list of things for my parents and family members to buy for me.  I felt like I needed to buy something because I did not want to miss out on the great deals that other people were finding.  I carefully evaluated each website’s deals and calculated the prices of items I might want to buy.  As the day wore on, I still hadn’t bought anything by 11pm.  Finally, at 11:45pm, I bought two sweaters from J. Crew.  They were 25% off and could be shipped for free, saving me around $40 total.   
            My purchase on Cyber Monday relates to consumer behavior in many ways.  I used attribute processing to compare the products of the different brands one attribute at a time, primarily by price.  I wanted to buy typically high-priced clothing (at a discount) that will serve as a status symbol of a class higher than my own.  It is also clear that I felt pressured to purchase items on Cyber Monday because I viewed it as a societal norm to do so.  Through my long internet searches on Cyber Monday, I realized that I have a high need for cognition because I enjoyed searching through multiple ads and weighing the expected values of the products.    

Car Upgrade

With my 1998 Honda Civic accumulating around 170,000 miles, I knew that I would have to get a new car sometime within the next couple of years.  Especially since I travel home to New York for breaks, my miles will only increase and I would need a more reliable car. The plan within my family was that my dad will be getting a new car, I will be getting my dad’s 2005 Honda Accord, and my brother will receiving my car. With various subtle questions from my parents asking what I would like in a car, I figured that this plan has changed since the last time I was home.
A couple days later I received a picture message of a 2008 Toyota Corolla from my mom saying “Here is your new car”. I was taken back a bit, because my parents are never the impulsive buyers. Last time we were in the market for a new car it took a couple months and not a week. The next week my dad bought a 2010 Subaru Forester for himself. Since I am neither the decider nor the buyer in the family, I decided not to question their decisions. Needless to say my 16-year-old brother was ecstatic that he will receive my dad’s old Honda.
Three main reasons that effect my parents’ decision to buy two new cars. One my car was getting old and driving in the snow this season was not idle. Two my brother will have his own car to get himself to swim meets and practice so my mother will have time to go back to school. Three both cars were at a good price. Other reasons why they bought those specific cars were more high-effort decisions that I didn’t have much influence on.
As I was taking the Values and Life Style Survey (VALS) over this Thanksgiving break, I was curious to see what my mother would score since the survey shows what your typical favorite car was. While I ranked as an Experiencer/ Innovator, my mother ranked as a Achiever/ Thinker. A thinker’s favorite car is a Subaru, which is the new car my parents chose. An achiever’s favorite car is a Honda, which is our older car that we own. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Debatable Decisions

Over the past year I’ve resorted to buying products online. This has allowed for ease and simplicity in my shopping adventures. Over this past thanksgiving break I purchased some musical equipment for my guitar. However, I feel as though I have run into a problem when purchasing off the Internet.
Going to the store to buy something has certain implications on the overall experience. Going to the store requires you to take time and physically go somewhere giving you a more thorough sense of engagement. If you’re buying something that may cost a lot of money and you’re in the store, you’re more likely than not going to talk over the merchandise of interest with a store representative. This also leads to a deeper sense of involvement in the buying process. After putting time and effort into your decision, you can walk out with instant gratification, product-in-hand.
 However, with my new musical toys, I find myself dealing with a stronger sense of dissonance in my decisions. I simply took a friends word for it, pulled the gear up online and within seconds, it was being sent to my front door. After receiving these items I find myself wondering more and more whether or not I made the right choice because of a lack of engagement on my part.