Need or want?

We had a big lunch with an young entrepreneur last weekend. After an hour or so, he got up and declared he was going to get a snack. Apparently, he was hungry.

But he wasn’t actually hungry. He didn’t need more fuel to power him through an afternoon of sitting around. No, he was bored, it might be. Or looking for a feeling of fullness. Or the break in the routine that comes from eating it. I guess, he wanted the psychic satisfaction that he associates with eating well-marketed snacks.

For example, are you thirsty?  Well, drinking a Coke or Pepsi doesn’t satisfy thirst nearly as well as water does. What Coke or Pepsi does do is satisfy our need for connection or sugar or brand fun or consumption or remembering any of experiences with our friends etc.

One more example. Think you could live without the Rs. 1500 (oops! The symbol for Rupee changed. I need to wait for the devanagri symbol to appear on the computer keyboards. 🙂 ) a month you spend on a mobile phone service and Rs. 1200 a year you spend on cable TV (??  I don’t know the actual cost right now, because I made it disconnected one year ago due to my kid’s annoyance. 🙂 )?

Of course you can. You did it a 10 to 15 years ago. But now, that high-speed, always-on connection to the rest of the world is so associated with your basic need of connection that you can’t easily divorce the two.

What’s interesting to watch are the things that we can’t live without, the things we think we need, not want. Those things won’t get cut, yet most of them aren’t needs at all. That’s because the industries that market these items have done a brilliant job of persuading us that they are needs after all.

And is it true that- People don’t buy what they need but they buy what they want?


One thought on “Need or want?

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