Why You Consume So Much – The Diderot Effect

Hello, friends. If you’re like me, and either do have or previously had an issue with compulsive, snowballing consumption, and wondered why you couldn’t seem to grasp the reason behind your own mad grabbing at the supermarket, this guy may have an answer for why you consume so much.

Part of the problem of wild consumerism could be explained by the Diderot Effect. I’ll leave it to Nerdwriter1 to explain most of the phenomenon, but essentially it’s the idea that the more we buy, the more we want to buy. This is due in part to the fact that new things usually make our old things seem ragged and undesirable.

Personally, I identified so heavily with Diderot’s bizarrely dramatic complaint about his robe – that he became a slave to it because it was new.  Often if I buy a new skirt or top, I experience this strange, emotional urgency of needing to rip everything else out of my closet and update the entire thing. Or, if I get a new set of placemats, the rest of my kitchen is suddenly no good and, since I am trying not to go on shopping sprees but  instead want to embrace a more minimalistic mindset, I will spend hours trying to rearrange things in various places in the rest of my kitchen or home in order to match the “new” and “superior” feeling I get from the new placemats.

Why is it that a square of fabric, a swipe of paint, a specific shade of teal can hurtle one into an identity-shaking buying rage? This is a question I always struggle to answer when I get into one of those moods. While I think the video does a great job of explaining the Diderot Effect, I still wonder how often this effect sneaks up on us without our knowing.

Women's Jumpsuits by People Tree

I’d love to know any insights or comments – leave them below! Or, if you have a great strategy for avoiding impulse buying, leave that below too!

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