The Reason We Buy Products We Don’t Need: The Diderot Effect

Gülderen Yaşar

Gülderen Yaşar

İTÜ İşletme Müh. | Editör @CEOtudent

In 1765, Russian Empress Catherine II hears that Dennis Diderot, a philosopher, needs money. The Empress buys Diderot’s entire library. He tells her to keep the books at home. He finds a librarian and pays his 25-year salary upfront.
Diderot decides to buy a red robe with the money given to him. The end of the rope starts to break here.
As he gets used to the splendor of the clothes, he thinks that the items in his house are not beautiful compared to his clothes and starts to change his belongings one by one. He eventually replaced all the furniture in the house. He has a lot of debts, but he still has not satiated his desire to buy.
After this event, he decides to write an article about his addiction to substance and defines this effect as the ‘Diderot Effect’.

» What is the Diderot Effect?

The Diderot effect is based on two hypotheses regarding shopping habits:
Items you purchase become part of your character and complement other purchases.
You have to create a new group for the product that you just bought and does not fit into the previous group, and you start to buy other products suitable for it.

» What Can This Effect Do to Me?

What can this effect, which has driven even a famous philosopher like Diderot to the brink of consumerism, to the brink of bankruptcy? Of course, this is an extreme example. In short, the “Diderot Effect” causes us to buy things we do not need in order to achieve a perfect harmony between our belongings.

» How Can We Resist?

There are 3 points you need to pay attention to to be a conscious consumer:

1) Change Your Mindset

It is very important to change your mindset while shopping. Instead of thinking that I will have a better one, I will buy a higher model, think that you will change something you already have. You will see how even this small change in your thinking affects your actions.

2) Be Aware of What You’re Paying For

Selling philosophy along with the product is nothing new. Most companies have been using this method for a long time. Companies advertise with the money you give them. Think of yourself as an investor and invest in companies that care about what you value in life. Which of the issues do you care about such as environmentally friendly, ergonomic product, minimal design? Find the answer and choose the companies you will shop with accordingly. The hard part is the ads. Don’t let them tempt you and be prepared to fight.

3) Remember the phrase “Consumption Doesn’t Bring Happiness”

The “Diderot Effect” also shows us that consuming more and owning more does not bring happiness because when we buy a product, we start to want to buy another product more. As a result, we find ourselves in an endless cycle.

4) The Fate of Brands Is in Your Hands

It is the consumers who make a brand a brand and give it an image. They determine the fate of brands. It all depends on whether you shop there or not. Of course, this decision will be made by the masses. In other words, you do not have to comply with the style the brand tells you, brands have to produce products according to your demand. You are the boss in the market.

You may also be interested in these contents:

This post is also available in: Türkçe

Kategoriler: Life

Yorumlar (0) Add Comment