We live in a world where every aspect of our existence is scrutinised, ranging from the clothes we wear to the food we eat, the cars we drive and the company we keep. It’s a sad truth but our lives are, knowingly or unknowingly, governed by how we like people to perceive us. Stemming from this need to be validated by strangers, one can’t be blamed for wanting to keep up with the times. Though more true for some than others, a major upside of having a job is so that you finally have some sort of spending power. Moving on from the days where our parents and their parents’ priorities were rooted in saving for the future, ours tend to be a little different. A sizable chunk of our earnings often end up being spent on stuff that makes us happy and whatever little is leftover goes into saving for that one rainy day.
Funnily enough, we often reward ourselves for saving money by buying more stuff we might not necessarily need. In this quest for seeking happiness in inanimate things, one would want to obtain the ultimate for oneself. Somewhere along the road, we seem to have replaced utility with validation. Nowadays, with the plethora of options available, one would only have eyes for the top of the pile.
This begs the question, what is the best of the best? How does one decide? Is it the value the user sees in it? Is that value derived from how other people around you view that product? Is it the insecurities that the purchase will help one compensate for?
I agree with what the figures from the HT-MaRS Youth Survey 2016 has thrown up: 66% of youngsters who responded to the survey said they sometimes pay more for a product just because it is branded.
As an avid football player, I find myself always looking for top of the line football shoes, probably with the misplaced hope that it would make me a less bad. The brand that I prefer using is prominent, foreign, expensive and not durable at all. I could get a relatively similar level of comfort and performance from a less costly, Indian brand but brand loyalty is a funny thing.
Turns out I, too, am a big fan of buying stuff that makes me happy which makes zero sense. I guess it takes one to know one.
Henry Joseph is a professional pianist. His hobbies include football, reading and gaming. He calls himself a history nut.
Read more stories from HT MaRS Youth Survey here.