December 08, 2009

Books about Shopping

At this time of year, with so much emphasis on shopping, you may not consider how retailers bring you into their stores and get you to part with your money, often buying things you hadn’t intended to. We may have been urged, in the past, to show our patriotism by shopping; however, people are rethinking their spending habits now. Three new books and one update all have to do with shopping and are timely reads.

Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, by Paco Underhill, looks at the psychology of shopping and analyzes consumer behavior, exploring what causes people to buy.

Mr. Underhill said, in a recent Opinion piece in the Washington Post, “We cannot continue to be a country where more than 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending, especially when that spending is based on credit.”

Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What by Lee Eisenberg explores retail consumption, including advertising, behavioral marketing and the Internet.

Mr. Eisenberg noted, in PARADE magazine that it’s hard to resist things that are new, different and trendy. He suggests that we consider the value of gifts that we give and ends with the thought, “Shop thoughtfully, choose carefully, think value.”

In Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays, Joel Waldfogel speculates that when a gift is given, the receiver puts a dollar value on the gift that may be much less than what the giver spent, and goes on to say that “holiday spending generates some $85 billion dollars of economic waste each winter.”
Instead, Mr. Waldfogel suggests that people purchase gift cards that make donations to charity (which you can do at Charity and Charity Gift and that the unused balance on retail gift cards be transferred to charities rather than going unredeemed.

Finally, Jodi Newbern lets us know that it’s okay to regift in Regifting Revival!: A Guide to Reusing Gifts Graciously. She reminds us that giving gifts to people that didn’t work for you is good for the environment and your finances. The trick, of course, is to regift properly, so it doesn’t look like you are passing on something you rejected.

In honor of these authors, consider refraining from giving gifts this year, or regift something that just didn’t work for you instead of giving something you can’t afford and that the recipient might not value.

These and lots more books are available at your public library; think about checking them out instead of buying them. Do you have a favorite book about shopping? Click on Post a Comment, below, and tell us.

Organized by Marcie: Getting you organized so you have time to do what you love to do!
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