I was one of those crazy people who went to Walmart at 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving night. You know what’s even crazier, I wasn’t even going to buy anything. I went with two of my sisters-in-law just for the fun of it. I knew going into it that I wasn’t after anything. There wasn’t anything in the ad that is on any of our Christmas lists and I knew that we hadn’t budgeted for any extra purchases at the moment.
It was still hard not to buy anything. I am a sucker for a deal.
At one point I was waiting by a display of pogo sticks. I’ve never thought of getting my boys a pogo stick but when I was standing there seeing the $12 price tag, all of the sudden I started thinking of buying it. I imagine they’d like it for a day or two then figure out that it’s pretty hard to do and not be interested in practicing so it would just end up cluttering the garage. Luckily I realized that as I was still in the store and passed on it. Just because it’s a good price doesn’t mean I need it.
As I walked around the store that night I spent my time watching people and wondering how much of that stuff they would buy if there wasn’t someone else behind them who wanted it. Is their cart full of stuff just because they want to win, to be better than someone else?
Something similar happened to me the next day when my husband and I were in Ikea. I knew they had easels for kids on sale before we went there and had no desire to buy one. Then I starting seeing them in almost everyone’s cart and started thinking that we should get one. If everyone else is buying them then I must be missing out on something. Then I stopped myself. My kids wouldn’t be interested and I certainly don’t want another big item to clutter up the toyroom.
All of this makes me wonder what other kinds of things we do because others are doing it? What do we spend our time and effort on just so that we can be better than someone else? What do we buy just because we see that someone else has it?
How much better could our lives be if we focused on what we actually needed and wanted, on what would make us happy, instead of what we think will make us happy because of what we see in others? Just because half of the people in Ikea are buying an easel doesn’t mean that it’s going to enrich my life or that it won’t be a waste of money. I’m glad I realized that. Now I hope I can take that realization into other areas of my life and be better at doing what’s best for me and my family instead of worrying about what others are doing.