You’re tired, you’re bored, you’ve had a few drinks.
You sit on the couch, put your feet up and relax. You turn on the television… to the TV shopping channel.
At first, it’s a bit silly, comical even, and you keep watching for the entertainment value of watching amateur actors squirm without a script. It all seems harmless enough but before you know it, you’re actually starting to like that $65 crystal Christmas tree decoration… You’re hooked!
I’m speaking from experience, I’m ashamed to say. Being a huge fan of the Bridget Jones’ Diary films and books, I found the notion of TV shopping amusing and reminiscing about Bridget’s dear old mum grinning awkwardly whilst modelling a gold-plated bracelet made me chuckle. Sadly in real life, the presenters were not as endearing as Mrs Jones but they were vaguely interesting so I kept the show on while I flipped through my magazine.
As the presenters’ voices echoes in and out of my awareness, I started picking up on words like “slimming” and “stylish”. By the time I heard “drop a dress size” and “bum lifting” they had my full attention. I turned the programme off but it was already too late; within the hour I was on the website, credit card in hand, ordering a pair of suck-you-in, half clothes/half control-wear elasticated jean-look trousers.
The thing is, when you watch TV shopping, you are practically inviting a sales person into your home to give you their sales pitch. Companies employ teams of marketing experts to perfect their spiel, making you want to buy their product at any cost. These sales strategies are designed specifically to manipulate human psychology, knowing the target market, highlighting their fears and concerns and then promising to alleviate them in the blink of an eye (I repeat: “bum lifting”). The hard part, any salesperson will tell you, is getting the customer to listen- most people just walk on by. If you had no money to spend, you wouldn’t walk in to a store and ask the staff to tell you why you should buy a Juice-Loosener 200, would you? So why do it at home? It’s like reading a restaurant menu when you’re on a fast!
Try as we might to resist, the human desire to acquire things is strong, particularly so in the female of the species. From an evolutionary perspective, shopping is a deeply programmed urge… the females who gathered the most fruits and firewood had the best chance of surviving the Winter. So there you are ladies, it’s not our fault we shop, blame it on our chromosomes! In the modern day of abundance and excess we no longer need to collect everything we see, but the drive is still there.
The best way to fight the need to spend, is to avoid temptation. The last thing you need is a spruiker in your living room so change the channel or heck, turn off the telly altogether. If you’re trying to save money, that TV shopping is a no-no!