There was a famous philosopher by the name Denis Diderot who lived in France. He was the co-founder and writer of encyclopédie, the most well-versed encyclopedias of his time. Although a well-known man, he lived most of his life in poverty.
In the year 1765, his daughter was about to get married. Being poor, Diderot could not afford the dowry for his daughter’s wedding. News spread far and wide. The Empress of Russia heard about Diderot’s troubles and offered to buy his entire library for a 1000 British pounds, approximately $ 50,000 US dollars at that time.
Diderot was overjoyed with his newfound fortune. He decided to gift himself an expensive scarlet robe. The robe was so beautiful that it made all the other stuff at his house look ugly and unsuitable. Diderot felt the urge to buy more things in order to match the beauty of the robe.
He bought a new carpet from Damascus and decorated his living room with sculptures. He replaced the kitchen table and the mirror on the mantle. His straw chair had been replaced with a supple leather chair with armrests.
There is an urge to buy more things when you are in possession of a new object. It causes a series of unwanted purchases. When we buy new clothes we often find ourselves buying accessories, shoes and bags that go with the outfit. In case of the purchase of a new mobile phone, we find ourselves buying tempered glass screens, back covers, earphones, headphones, SD cards and data transfer cables. The need to buy things that we would not have wanted earlier is called the Diderot effect. Many of us have fallen victims to this effect and is the cause of poor purchasing behaviour.
Of course, we can avoid this by shopping smart and shopping only for urgent needs. Often while visiting supermarkets, we find ourselves loading the cart with items that are on sale. What we need to know is that the marketers are exploiting this effect and using it to their advantage. The most we can do is to make a shopping list before leaving home and sticking to the list while in the supermarket. The next time you are buying anything, be a little more aware about what your needs are and what you desire.