by Brittany McSorley
It’s me again, with more wisdom about how best to sell things to me and my millennial peers. This time, I’m here to walk you through the standard routine I follow when making a purchasing decision—a process I infuse with a mixture of drama and creeping panic typically reserved for Gothic fiction. Is my violently insane first wife locked away on the third floor, or am I just trying to choose between sweaters on Amazon? There is literally no way to know.
Anyway, here’s how the magic happens:
- Transparent Marketing Tactics Best Me Once Again
I am confronted with marketing content, usually courtesy of my frenemy Facebook, who is fond of suggesting to me ways in which I might become my best self. Take a look at this thing, Facebook says. I bet you’d enjoy it. Also, you have Goldfish crumbs on your face.
If I ignore content like this, it’s either because I have no interest in the product or service (unlikely, because Facebook knows enough about me by now to produce a riveting biopic), or because the marketing seems tacky. I’m fussy like that. I want text to look sleek and cool. I want photos to be of a higher quality than I could ever take myself. I want the people in said photos to look like me if I’d slept more in college.
I also want the copy to be free of grammar and spelling mistakes. I want to see that you know what you’re talking about. It awakens in me an intense need to prove that I also know what I’m talking about, because I was raised in New England, where life is but a series of aggressive competitions. Come for the harsh accents, stay for the stony silences!
- Simple Price Consideration Escalates Into Existential Dread
After I’m finished harshly judging your marketing technique, I investigate your prices. It’s a necessary evil. Money doesn’t grow on trees, as my parents reminded me every four minutes until I moved out. The thing is, no matter the price, I will inevitably wonder whether this purchase is worthwhile until I spiral, eventually questioning the very nature of being alive. If this is how much a chair costs, then how much do I cost, you know? What’s the cost of like…all of this? And so on for roughly 45 minutes.
- I Stop Weeping and Get Down to Business
My panic about how little time we all have on Earth has convinced me that because nothing matters, attempting to save money is a fool’s errand. So I move on to considering the lifestyle impact of this decision. How much use will I get out of the item in question? Individual, finite products are far less likely to make it all the way to checkout, while services or items I can rely on long-term tend to survive. For example, I happily pay a monthly subscription fee for Stitch Fix, because it’s dynamic and useful for as long as I want it to be. It also saves me trips to actual clothing stores, where frequently other people’s children seem somehow mad at me? What fresh hell?
- The Purchase Itself
By now, I’m tired. As always, I’ve let this go on too long and am now doubting everything in my life but this transaction. I’m disgusted with consumerism. I’m questioning the merits of a capitalist society. I’m considering buying a tiny house, or possibly just absconding into the woods. But instead, I officially buy the thing and grab a hard-earned snack.
But the journey is not over once I click “Complete Order.” Oh, no. The most important part of the process begins here. I’ve not just secured a new pair of jeans or tub of fancy moisturizer; I’ve given myself the gift of anticipation. Now I can look forward to this delivery! For three to five business days, I enjoy the giddiness of a man I don’t know about to tell me how something simple works. Nothing can get me down.
“Those jeans are going to change everything,” I whisper to myself, startling strangers at the grocery store. I begin to explain that the moisturizer has collagen, and that I alone have had the wisdom to order it and get the better of Father Time, but they have already fled the cereal aisle with their children.