Vanity comes with a Price Print E-mail
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Written by By: Mirna Garcia   
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00

Are you lured by the atmosphere of brand – names, especially those sophisticated designer logos? If the answer is “yes” then you will more likely overspend if “you’re so vain”.  Vanity may be one of the main driving forces in consumers to spend more of their hard – earned money on high-end brand name products.  It is not only that they care about impressing others, but the more likely they will to overspend.  The more focused the individual is on his thoughts, feelings, and impressions that he makes of others; the more he will seek outwardly recognizable status symbols.  Vain people do not only care about looking good to others, but more importantly looking good to themselves.

Many of us evaluate ourselves in relation to other people.  In psychology, there are three types of social comparison, namely downward social comparison, converse process, and upward social comparison.  In the downward social comparison and converse process, the individual feels better because he views himself as more fortunate than others when he compares his situation with other people’s situation; thus, he will more likely accept his situation.  Furthermore, in the upward social comparison, the individual will feel worse if his peers are outdoing him; therefore, he will rebuke himself for letting someone else outdo  him. 

Moreover, the upward social comparison involves processes that lead us to empty our wallets on consumer goods that carry with them well-known, expensive labels.  From sunglasses to tennis shoes, the little symbols signify their price, and, for many of us, our value as human beings.  The clever shopper knows how to find these status symbols at cheaper prices.  Nevertheless, others will prefer to spend more so as to be the first person in their social circle to wear the latest models.  The desire to have recognizable brands means that brand-names are important to you when purchasing a product.

If you constantly seek expensive labels to prove your own worth and success, then your vanity takes the form of being preoccupied with achievement.  If you are focusing on your physical appearance, then you will be lured by fancy clothes since you think they will make you look better.  This is not only evident in our neighborhoods, but also in our school communities, social gatherings etc. For example, a teen would not want to pull out his iPhone 5s infront of his friends when the iPhone 6 has already come out.  The apps may be the same; maybe the shape of the phone and keypad are different, but it’s the brand-name and model series of that phone that matters most to that teen. 

In addition, most of the high – end goods that we wear cannot be seen by anyone else.  No one knows whether you are wearing Hanes or Victoria’s secret under those designer jeans. It probably does not matter to too many people, especially our loved ones.  Therefore, when we burn extra cash for what goes under our clothes, we are succumbing to the pull that vanity has over us.  People are constantly seeking ways to feel more important, attractive, and successful as a means to cloak their inner feelings of weakness or inferiority.  This behavior could create an egotistic vulnerability. 

Before you make your next purchase of a brand – name item, stop and think: Who are you trying to please? Do you feel that you need to look better than other people and that’s why you need that to prove your worth? By understanding your motivations, your budget and self-image can both benefit.