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You are on a buying spree: Denis Diderot is laughing at you

Buying is addictive, buying is therapeutic and so on but reckless buying can be damaging as well. Every time you are falling prey to some advertisement and promotional offer and your helpless vulnerability pushing you from the back to neck-deep shoddy water of consumerism.


Have you ever thought that one purchase in the recent past triggered a spiraling purchase in quick succession? If you look back, you will find there were so many incidents that happen at different times. For example, When you bought a new HD TV for your drawing room, all of a sudden your home theater became outmoded and that very thought prompted you to do an upgrade. Once you got a new home theater you thought of putting a recliner in your drawing to give you the ultimate comfort of a movie hall and this chain of purchase may continue until you get hold of greed or temptation. Yes, the somewhat redundant follow-up purchases are an offshoot of a streak of temptations.


This is what the Diderot effect is all about - When one consumption leads to another and thereby creating a spiral consumption pattern. Denis Diderot, a French philosopher observed this pattern while he got his beautiful scarlet gown that triggered other spiraling purchases. He found himself in the middle of the huge debt that happened due to series of follow-up purchases. He wrote “I was the absolute master of my old robe. I have become the slave of the new one.”


This phenomenon of spiraling consumption is the Diderot effect. This effect was first explained in Denis Diderot's essay "Regrets on Parting with My Old Dressing Gown” published in 1769.


Now let me put this into real-life perspective, without getting into too much theory introduce another ploy of the art of selling. While you are shopping online in any of the Online stores you will notice the moment you are adding an item like running tees and you will see a lot of recommended items like running shoes, Whey Protein, etc. popping up in front of you at the time of checkout. This process is temptation bundling. The portal with its AI-based algorithm combine the product that can trigger the Diderot effect and tempt a customer to go on a buying spree.


In a brick-and-mortar store, all positioned mannequins induce a buyer to fall prey to temptation bundling. If you can resist your demon and look into people buying patterns you will see phenomenons like the Diderot effect and temptation bundling in action.


Now look at the whole process from a vantage point, you can see how spiral consumption is happening – while temptation bundling is happening from the seller side, which activates the Diderot effect that comes into play, and drive the mind of the consumer.


Practice austerity in life, learn to do a lot more with a lot less hedonistic pleasure. Lead a clutter-free life and value simple pleasures like reading, running, etc. Let us not give any chance to late Diderot to smile again on your purchasing decision.






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