Why Buying Stuff is Disappointing

There is a big transition happening in the U.S. and the world around us. Just the other day, USA Today’s cover page announced America’s new business model. I’ll give you a hint: it’s Sharing. We are seeing peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces pop up all over the place, which are making it easier for people to access the things they need from their online networks, rather than having to go out and purchase the material item.

America’s New Business Model: Sharing

Rachel Botsman – the woman who told us about Collaborative Consumption before we even knew what it was – has often discussed this new wave of consumption. Disappearing are the days of hyper-consumption, where consumers are encouraged to purchase everything they need. Instead, we are entering the wave of Collaborative Consumption, where what’s mine is yours, and where through online platforms we can have access to anything we need.

The underlying impetus for this transition is the dissatisfaction that comes with purchases. Let’s face it: buying stuff can leave us feeling disappointed and like we made the wrong decision. With all of the options out there, and with new versions of products being released more frequently, how do you know you bought the best for your money? The purchase might feel good at first but eventually, that “brand-new” thrill starts to wear off. And then what? How do we get past that inevitable feeling of disappointment? We go out and we buy something else to fill the void. The cycle is vicious.

Psychological research tells us that experiential purchases – such as a travel purchase, a concert, a meal out at a restaurant – are more satisfying than material purchases. Even more importantly, it’s the experiential purchases that are more likely to support long-term happiness. So, in support of your happiness, get out there and listen to some live music, try some new food, or best yet – take a trip with someone. These are the things that are going to change you for the better.


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