You might be a deal hunter, but chances are, you still have a bias against cheap things, just like the rest of us do. We have a tendency to value items according to their price tag, even when the price tag isn’t related to value.
In a video breaking down why we hate cheap things, the School of Life uses the pineapple as an example. Hundreds of years ago, the pineapple was a crazy expensive fruit, reserved for royalty and the super rich. Over the years, it became easier transport and cultivate pineapple, thus driving down its price. In the video, they explain:
The pineapple itself hasn’t changed, only our attitude to it has…When we have to pay a lot for something nice, we appreciate it to the full…as its price in the market falls, passion has a habit of fading away.
Of course, supply and demand probably has more to do with it than price. Pineapples are everywhere now, so we take them for granted and don’t value them as much. But that’s kind of the idea: when an item is cheap, we assume demand is not high, so we don’t value it as much. They continue:
One is allowed to get very worked up over the eggs of the sturgeon. A hundred pounds for a small pot. But we have to be very circumscribed about one’s enthusiasm of the eggs of a chicken: twelve for two pounds. There is an intimidating hierarchy in the background… The price tells us, something very special is going on here. But it may be going on in the cheap thing, too.
Stores often use this bias against you by showing you the “original price” of an item. While out shopping once, I saw a purse that was on sale for $80, and the original price was several hundred dollars. I did not need a purse, and I had no interest in buying that one until I saw the original price, and then I thought, Wow, this must be a really nice purse. Maybe I should buy it! I thought “something very special” was going on, just because I saw that big price tag.
To combat this bias, don’t use price as a guide of an item’s worth. Assign your own value to something, then buy according to that value, not just the actual price of an item. You value a nice, well-made leather purse? Nothing wrong with that — but there’s not much sense in valuing a purse only because it carries a price tag of $300. Assigning your own value to your purchases makes you a little more aware of your spending. To understand this concept better, check out the full video.
Why We Hate Cheap Things [School of Life]