Friday, 12 February 2016

More on How to Budget - Fight Against Impulse Buying


  The BBC has latched onto something my mother told me c1981:
  Shops try to inveigle you into impulse buying. What to Buy and Why, BBC Two. 
  'Look at all those useless things down the in and out shop, now, Iestyn, put out so as to be directly in your eyeline, with Lara’s Theme from Doctor Zhivago piped around the shelves,' was how my mother put it. 
  Apparently, psychological tests have shown that the lifted albeit squashed interval in the opening phrase of Lara's Theme inspires feelings of longing in the listener. In my case, for a train set to go in my Muswell Hill student digs, an ironing-board cover (I didn't have an iron, let alone an ironing board) and all Ten Commandments toast stamps. Eventually. It was week six of the spring term before I finally completed the set with: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.
  Then I needed to buy a new, king size, toaster.
  Oh, and a bigger loaf tin. I make my own bread, you see. 
  So, stuff will be displayed directly in your eyeline in a shop.  Take note. 
  Antidote? Don't look at it. 
  Then there's the piped music. Slow when they want you to linger. Thus in boutiques, art galleries or book shops they might play Satie's Gymnopedies. Fast when they want you out in and out of there sharpish. Thus in supermarkets, sex shops and Starbucks they play the Lone Ranger section of the William Tell Overture
  Antidote? Take an accordion into the shop with you and accompany yourself in medium-fast songs such as "Ding Dong Dell, Pussy'y in the Well", "If you Knew Susie like I Know Susie" and "My Old Woman's an Awful Boozer".
  Display signs will be in red. Red for danger; the danger being you might miss out on buying something you don't remotely need. We fear missing out much more than we enjoy acquiring, natch. 
  Antidote: take a magenta magic marker with you to recolour the sign. Magenta is the colour of harmony and balance. 
  Nearest the aisle shop owners will put things that entice you to touch them - shiny, padded, velvety, furry, 
  Antidote?  A sprig of barbed wire. 

  My mother used her knowledge of these psychological techniques when she volunteered in the Waterloo Action Centre library and needed to get borrowing numbers up.  WIth glitter sprayed rabbit fur and Red Label whisky miniatures taped to their covers, she suspended at eye-level from the ceiling, over a speaker broadcasting a loop of Gary Jules's Mad World, the ever so lesser taken out Sophie Kinsella collection. 


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