That was the reason George Mallory gave for climbing Mount Everest. It always seemed like a fairly weak reason to me, but I can also see what he meant. But let me start at the beginning…
Yesterday, I needed a piece of equipment for my computer. It was not optional, and was required immediately, which meant I had to go to the electronics store. Ordinarily, this would be no problem. But yesterday was “Black Friday”.
When I arrived, I made a quick survey of the terrain, and my worst fears were confirmed: the line stretched nearly to the back of the store.
I hate lines, mostly because I can’t stand still. I like to pace up and down if I’m waiting for something, and lines are not conducive to that. So, after I acquired what I had come to buy, I repaired to the video game section to hang out for a bit and see if the lines would get any shorter. And, of course, look at the games.
There weren’t that many, and the prices were too high. But what scared me was that I had an inexplicable urge to buy them just for the sake of buying them. For instance, I considered the Doom 3 BFG edition, even though it is too expensive and half of the changes they made to it make it worse than the original. It should have been a no-brainer not to buy it, and yet I found myself strangely tempted.
I’m not sure how this happened. Maybe because everyone else in the place was buying stuff for fun, I felt like I should too, just to be social. Maybe because of the hype of “Black Friday” I felt like I ought to. Maybe I’m just an impulse buyer. Whatever the reason, it was a little unnerving how strongly I felt the desire to purchase a thing I didn’t particularly want just for the sake of doing it.
Haha. I did the same thing years ago. I got in line at a Best Buy, to buy a book that wasn’t even a special sale. I finally woke up and said, “What am I doing?” Never again.
In that respect, I guess long lines can be a good thing–they give people a chance to reconsider.
See? This is how it starts. Before you know it, you’re trampling people with the rest of the mob and tearing them limb from limb 😉
Yeah, mob psychology is a scary thing. It’s like the old saying “none of us is as stupid as all of us”.
It’s called impulse buying, and it is hard to resist.
That’s why I shop online whenever possible. I find it’s actually easier, perhaps counterintuitively, to resist the impulse buy when I’m not in the store atmosphere.