Friday, October 1, 2010

Buying New Shoes

About two weeks ago I was working out for my weight lifting class, and I realized that I was starting to get blisters on my feet. I realized that it might be a good time to get a new pair just for working out. I was searching online for some primary data. I always hate buying shoes because of the perceived risk. My feet are wide and just like to cause problems so I am always dealing with product risk. That’s why I was collecting data online. I went to site that explained different feet type. As far as being a pronation, underpronation, or overpronation. The site said that the best way to test this was to do a treadmill test and tape your feet. The site stated that there was a store in Indianapolis, The Running Company that performed this test, so I went there on a Thursday night and the person was very helpful. He explained that I was going to walk on a treadmill and they were going to tape my feet for about 20 seconds. As I was trying on the shoes, I was questioning if this was a good move or not. I was thinking of the financial risk because of not having that much money, but at the same time I was thinking that I functional needed these shoes to protect my feet during my workouts. So my functional needed won over my financial risk because I knew I needed a new pair, and that shoes are usually a good investment.

As i sit at Texas Roadhouse

As I sit at Texas Roadhouse looking around at all the signs and suggested menu and drink items it occurs tome that I am actively participating in consumer behavior skills everyday at work! Suggestive selling and trying to read the customer and persuade them to buy certain (usually more expensive) items is what I seem to understand as a very subtle consumer behavior process. How, you ask? By suggesting specific items such as an appitzer or a larger steak we are helping the customer fulfill a need or want. The customer knows the are hungry, but what and how much are they hungry for. They may need a steak or some chicken and I'm here to provide those very things! After awhile one can assess more accurately when to push harder to sell something and when to just let it go, because the customer really already knows what they need or want. I can now have a better attitude about going to work, because I truly am applying what I learn into my daily life!

A Vile of Energy to Go, Please

I have never really been a coffee drinker. Don’t ask me why. I think it would always upset my stomach or something. It’s always too hot and I always get a mild burn on my tongue afterwards. Now an iced coffee, give me a large, tall, (veinte or whatever it’s called) and a big straw, ahhh. Yeah but those are mostly ice anyways and don’t supply a lot of energy. Why do most people drink coffee? It gives them energy from caffeine. What about people who don’t want coffee or soda, but want a force of energy in there day? Here is a possible target market.

Hello, 5-hour Energy! A tiny bottle of energy that is quick and convenient. Duh! When I first saw them on the shelf by the cashier at a gas station, I thought, “This is ridiculous. Who would pay 3 dollars for this little bottle?” It’s not even a bottle, but more like a vile. Well, I eventually tried one and I must say I am hooked. I feel a little embarrassed even admitting that I drink them because they are expensive. Now I don’t have one every day. I mainly get one when I feel like I’m going to pass out in the middle of the day.

Last year one of my good friends saw that I had one in my jeep and asked if they really work. I told him to try half of it. When I saw him last week, he was telling me how much he loves 5hr. energy and that it helps him get through his workday. Just yesterday I was at a gas station standing in line at the cashier and I noticed the customer (a male, about my age) in front of me put his items on the counter then look and lean to his right to grab one of the tiny red bottles. Right then, I thought to myself, “Okay, I’m not alone”.

Finishline my Kryptonite

So a few weeks ago I had my 21st birthday, and since becoming a college student it seems the only thing I ever receive for my birthday is money. Now don't get me wrong, that is by no means a bad thing, but having the extra cash on hand does make things a bit complicated. Seeing as it had been a few months since my last shoe purchase I decided to make my way to the local Finishline, my favorite store, to see if they had any new product that I might like. Of course as soon as I walked into the store I spotted at least 5 pairs of shoes that I wanted, not good. I had to make a phone call, to the person who knows me the best, my Mom, she would know what to do right? After some consoling and encouragement I walked back into the Finishline to continue my search for the ONE pair of shoes I was going to get that day.

There always seems to be a complication, at least when I want to buy something that is new, I want to be the only one to have it and the first to have it. So in order to meet these goals shopping for myself normally takes longer, much longer, than it should; although I always seem to come away content with a smile on face. Deciding on a new pair of shoes that day was no different, I had originally placed a time table on how long I wanted to spend in the store, but that had long pasted and now I was starting to get down to my final few selections. I had a decision to make, a tough one at that, so just like in "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" I used a lifeline and phoned a friend. Derek has the same style as I do and I knew he would be able to help me narrow down my selection to the shoe that was right for me. He did just as I expected and reassured my choice, a pair of beautiful white Nike Air Max Commands.

The salesman didn't have much work to do, I already knew my size, he just needed to walk into the back and get my new shoes for me. I was happy, I got the shoes I wanted and I fulfilled my goals, and as I said before I walked out of there with a smile on my face and feeling very content with my purchase. I just hope I don't get the urge to go back there again anytime soon, because Finishline is truly my Kryptonite.

World Obsession

This past weekend I ventured back home to Columbus, Ohio for my sister's baby shower. I make it a priority every time I am home to stop by my favorite store of all time, World Market. Many people have never heard of this store, but I promise you girls, you will love it. They sell everything. Browsing the store you will find unique and inexpensive jewelry, artwork, furniture, cookware, clothing, bathroom accessories, and even food.

Originally I had entered the store with the intention of buying two, and only two, scarfs. However, after being there for more than 10 minutes, I quickly filled my basket with many other World Market goods.

Most of these goods ended up being food. Now, I have never purchased food from World Market before mainly because food there is rather expensive compared to Kroger or Meijer. However, after looking at the packaging I quickly decided to sacrifice a few extra dollars and make the purchase.

The three items I bought were a jar of Chocolate/Banana Spread from Holland, a box of Gorgonzola filled ravioli, and a jar of vodka pasta sauce both imported from Italy.

I honestly do not think that I would have ever spent such a large amount of money if I had been in any other store or market. You can call me a brand loyal customer when it comes to World Market.

I also made the inference that since all the items were imported from two different countries that they would be much better (higher quality) than most foods available at ordinary grocery stores. Which is a bit humorous considering this past week in class we discussed how we tend to stereotype foods based on country of origin.

I haven't tried the ravioli or pasta sauce yet, but I can definitely say the chocolate/banana spread is absolutely delicious. However, even though the food has been delicious, I doubt I will be buying food from World Market anytime soon. I don't think my bank account could handle it.

Self Help Books

When I think of my purchasing habits, I can name two things I tend to buy a lot of, DVDs and self help books. I have recently started a collection of DVDs and it is definitely tempting when I go to Walmart and pass through the $5 DVD section. Although the DVDs are a typical purchase for me, I would like to focus on another typical purchase that I make. Since I transferred here to AU last year, I have generated a liking for self help books. I am really attracted to these books because they provide a better sense of overall wellness for myself, not to mention to the knowledge I receive from all sorts of subjects. I can't help but pick out a new book when I go into a bookstore. For instance, the University bookstore here has a great selection, especially when it comes to self help in terms of spiritual aspects. So the first week of school the bookstore had a sale going, if you buy three books you get a sale priced book for free. The sale was appealing to me, I had a want to buy a book, so I took advantage of buying three books and getting one free. I would say I have bought about thirty books within the last year. I have read about ten of them so far, and have intentions to buy more. I don't know why I keep purchasing more to read when I still have books sitting on my shelf that I have not read yet. Overall when I look at this, I don't think I am influenced by a particular person, I feel that I am influenced by my "want" to have a broad range of knowledge on self help topics. I honestly feel that over the years I will develop a pretty extensive collection of books and I sure don't plan to stop purchasing them now. The book in the upper right hand corner is the book I am currently reading. It is called Walking with God by John Eldredge.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's like a game of Chess...

It was back in 2003 and I was in tenth grade at Kafue Boys Secondary School, located about an hour away from my home in Lusaka, Zambia. For the last few weeks, I had watched my peers play Chess and never really understood what the game was all about. On this one particular morning, I was sitting in class and we were informed that the teacher would not be in that morning. It just so happened that one of my friends had brought a Chess board with him to class and I asked him to teach me how to play the game. By my senior year of high school, I had developed such a tremendous interest in the game and improved so much that I was selected to be on the school team. One of the biggest lessons I took away from playing the game is that you have to be able to think two-three moves ahead of your opponent--you have to anticipate your opponent's every possible move and have a counter move in return.
Fast forward seven years later, I'm in a classroom and we are discussing various products and how marketers have developed personalities for a lot of products out on the market today. What does this have to do with the game of Chess, you may be wondering? One thing that stuck out to me as we looked at different products and the different personalities that have been developed, was how marketers seem to be a step ahead of not only their competitors, but consumers as well. Through on-going research, marketers are continuously focussing on anticipating consumers needs-which are changing over time- and coming up with ways in which to best serve the consumers.
This for me, feels a lot like the game I have grown to love, the game where you learn to not only anticipate, but counter your opponent's move. Marketers, I believe, are able to thrive by their continued research into consumers' needs and anticipating ways to meet those needs.

If it is not Lays then I don't want it.

It was my birthday and like most people you think that you would be getting everything you want (within a reasonable limit) on your own day. On my special day all I wanted was a small get together and enjoy the evening with my friends. Before my guest were to arrive my roommate and friend went out to by drinks and snacks and a movie to watch.
While they were out I played host greeting guest at my apartment and waiting on their return so we could start the movie. When my friends finally did arrive they had brought everything that we needed cake, drinks, cups ect; except... that they brought Diritos chips. I cant stand Diritos. So I simply told them that had got the wrong snack and I refused to eat them. Now any other day it would have been not much of an issue but because it was supposed to be my day my friends insisted that we go out to return the Diritos and buy Lays chips.
With a team of four including myself and the two who had bought the Diritos, we returned to the dollar store that they had bought the chips. what made the trip short was that the store they chose was less than 5 minutes away. we went inside and had no trouble returning the Diritos. Yet the problem was that when we searched for Lays chips was that the store only had the very small bags. So what do we do? We decide that will travel all the way down to Wal-Mart, the only place we know we are guaranteed to find the chips in the size bag we needed.
Long story short was that just for a snack we traveled a half hour away from home with guest waiting for us at home just so that I, the birthday boy could have his favorite snack.
Personally I will not buy any other brand of chips and even know that one brand makes me sick if I ever eat it. In all honestly I remember that my friends thought it was silly that I was so dead set on a brand of potato chip. Yet these were people who would buy only a certain drink or only want to eat at Wendy's fast food. It is funny that to other people our brand loyalty seems absurd to almost every one on the outside yet we ourselves not only think that what we are loyal to ourselves is the best product in existence but think that others are as well.

Will I Ever Say Enough is Enough?

This past weekend I found myself in the same predicament that I always get myself into whenever I go to any kind of mall or department store that sells shoes and that is I need another pair of shoes. Over the last 3-4 years of my life I have developed what one would say a addiction to buying all kinds of shoes, especially sneakers. It all started when a friend of mine worked at a shoe store over the summer and I would get like 60% off on shoes and so every time that I went to that store I always bought a pair of shoes, and sometimes 3 pairs at a time. That summer I bought at least 10 pairs of shoes thus beginning my addiction to buying shoes.

Back to this past weekend I was with a group of friends and we went to Carmel to eat at Bubs, which is a burger restaurant, it has the Big Ugly a 1.5 pound burger and if you eat it you will get your picture on the wall. Well we went and there was an hour and twenty minute wait so we walked to the skateboard shop Rise and that was a big mistake. I go there knowing that I cannot afford to buy any shoes but there prices are so cheap and their shoes are so cool. So right before we get there I say I do not need any shoes so I am not going to buy anything. We walk into Rise and all of a sudden I am just taken over by the smell of new shoes and the desire to buy shoes. I find a pair of shoes that I really like and they are relatively cheap like $45 so I justify that in my head and so I start asking a worker about the shoes and he informs me that next weekend is buy 2 pairs of shoes get 1 free. My heart about stopped when I heard that so I put the shoes down and walk out of the store happy that I did not buy any shoes but kind of sad knowing that I will be back there next weekend and probably will buy at least 2 pairs of shoes.

Tomorrow we are planning on going to the skate shop just to buy shoes and I know that I should not go because I can’t afford right now to buy shoes but I still want to go. So I am not planning on buying any sneakers tomorrow but when I get around shoes the need and desire to buy shoes takes over and I just cannot say no, but I am hoping that I can learn how to say no.

My Battle With Five Dollar Movies

My battle with Walmart’s five dollar movies started last summer. I had just graduated and bought most of the things I needed for college, so I had a little of my graduation money left over for whatever else. I went to several different places looking for random things that I wanted just for fun, and then I discovered the wonder that is the five dollar movie. There were so many to choose from, and I never realized that there could be so many cheap movies that I felt the need to have. Since then, my movie collection has grown dramatically.

I’m the kind of person who likes to have plenty of options. I always pick a movie depending on the mood I’m in, so I feel like I need to have a little bit of everything just in case. Also, I can never seem to buy just one movie at a time. I’m good at convincing myself that, since it’s only five dollars, I can buy a bunch of them at once. For example, I’ve already bought three in the last four or five days. I think that offering discounted movies is a really good marketing strategy. Since the movies are so cheap, people will be more apt to buy several at a time. Then, there will be people like me who keep coming back and buying more and, in the long run, will have bought more movies and maybe even spent more than they would have if they were all at regular price. Since the five dollar movies are obviously so much cheaper than regular priced ones, it seems like a better deal to buy four five dollar movies for twenty dollars, rather than just getting only one for the same price.

To be honest, I’m not always totally happy with the movies I choose to buy. There have been several occasions where I’ve regretted buying certain ones. I’m an impulsive buyer, so when I have the desire to buy something, I tend to not think of the consequences and I just go for it. I’ll think it’s a really good idea for the amount of time it takes to get through the checkout, and then by the time I get home or have watched the movie once, I come to find out that it wasn’t worth what I paid. I don’t consider buying a five dollar movie or two to involve much risk, so I’ll probably continue buying them as long as they’re available.

The Result of My Impatience

Over the summer, I went to some Journey’s shoe stores in malls close to where I live to find some new Vans. I already have one pair of Vans, so I already knew what size I needed, how comfortable they were and how well I liked the style I first purchased. Instead of the Vans with shoe laces, I wanted slip-on Vans. I can usually handle tying shoes, but I just wanted something different such as a good pair of slip-ons. I knew I wanted a solid color, but preferably not black. So, I began my search for some nice, brightly colored slip-on Vans.

The few Journey’s stores that I went to didn’t have too great of a selection when it came to their Vans slip-ons. I began scanning the racks of shoes which held the poor selection of slip-ons: checkered, white, black, and some that were brightly colored, with a design that was meant to look as though the shoe had shoe laces. I first went back and forth between whether or not I actually wanted to get the checkered shoes. While considering the checkered pair, I automatically associated them with the racing flags used in NASCAR. That thought alone led me to rule out the checkered slip-ons. Then, I had to decide on the white pair. Just like the checkered pair, I had my own thoughts on the white shoes as well. I knew that if I purchased the white pair they would most likely get dirty within no time. Therefore, I ruled out the white ones. I knew I definitely didn’t want the shoes with the fake shoe string design, so I didn’t think too much about purchasing those either. Finally, after looking at the black slip-ons over and over, I tried them on, and purchased them.

Although I didn’t end up finding any brightly colored slip-ons that suited me and purchased the solid black ones instead, I felt compelled to buy them knowing they weren’t exactly what I wanted. I felt I had waited long enough to get a nice pair of some lovely Vans slip-ons and that I couldn’t wait until after school started to get them. I wouldn’t say this purchase is something I regret, but it is something I sort of did on impulse. I could have probably ordered some brightly colored customized slip-ons online, but I wanted them immediately. Because of my decision, I am now in the process of getting used to my solid black Vans.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Unexpected yet Successful

Here it is, the fourth week of the semester. This is a time in the semester when exams begin to jump out of nowhere and papers are beginning to come due. It is a time when a college student's textbooks and computer become his or her best friends. I, like most other students, was planning on using this week to study, study, and study more for my upcoming exams and begin writing my first paper of the semester. All was going well until suddenly, my computer decided to no longer charge correctly. Even though my computer was plugged in to my charger, the power bar was not increasing. It was at this time when I recognized a serious problem. My notes and the beginning of my paper would soon no longer be accessible. I, needlessly to say, quickly printed all necessary papers and began the 5-step decision making process.

In an instant, my plans for the next few hours changed; I needed to start searching for this new purchase. Recognizing the need for a new computer charger I had to start searching for information. My evoked set reminded me that I could purchase a charger from Best Buy (where I purchased my laptop). I also researched some prices online of chargers. I found a few chargers on Evaluating my choices I realized I did not have the time to go to the nearest Best Buy, either in Noblesville or Muncie. I also found Best Buy's chargers to be overpriced in comparison to the prices on Amazon. I was, of course, relatively leery of purchasing a computer charger (did I mention I am not technologically savvy?) online without previous experience.

Throughout this entire process, I knew my time was limited with the approaching assignments. I had to decide quickly and shorten the information search and judgment processes. I decided to choose a dealer on Amazon who had a 30-day return policy and a four star rating with a much lower price than a charger at Best Buy. With my lack of experience purchasing online I was nervous to see the result of my choice. However, three days later my charger promptly arrived in the mail. The charger is currently performing to my expectations. Even though this post-decision evaluation could be long-term to see the life-span of this charger, currently I am satisfied with my decision. Saving $40 for a relatively similar product is always a success in my eyes, or at least for this discussion.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Search for Practical Shoes

Buying new shoes was on the top of my list this past summer while back-to-school shopping. When it comes to shoes, I am usually as simple as it gets. Give me the $2.50 flip flops from Old Navy in the basic colors, and I am set. This shopping trip, however, I was looking for real shoes. You know, the kind of shoes that actually provide support and protection for your feet. Surprisingly, I own very few of these kinds of shoes. One pair I admittedly have been wearing since high school because they go with basically every single outfit I own. I guess you could say that I am not the typical girl when it comes to shoes.

To my dismay, after looking through several stores in the search for practical shoes, I came out with nothing. I did, however, come across a pair of boots that I had seen last winter. They were brown, leather, high-heeled boots. The first time I had seen them, I chose not to buy them. My friends encouraged me to purchase them saying they looked good on me, but I decided I did not want to spend forty-five dollars on pair of unpractical boots. I admit that they were nice, but being the simple girl that I am, who has never even owned a pair of fashionable boots, decided they just were not what I was looking for. When I came across those same boots the second time, they were on sale for only twenty dollars. I tried them on again, loved them, and decided since they were on sale that maybe it would be okay to purchase them. I knew they were not exactly practical meaning they were high heels, but they were cute, my friends liked them, and I had never owned a pair of boots like that in my life. Feeling sorry for my lack of success, I decided to splurge and buy the boots.

What turned out to be a shopping trip looking for something that was a functional need—shoes—I came out with a pair of the most unpractical shoes ever. Though I have yet to wear those boots, I already regret buying them. I now realize that I bought those boots to fulfill a symbolic need not a functional need. I could prove to myself and others that I can wear cute boots just like every other girl. I even had my friend’s approval because I knew they thought the boots looked good on me as well. This does not change the fact that those boots are not practical for the snowy, Indiana weather, nor do I even own many outfits to wear those boots with. I’m still the simple girl that will wear flip flops till it snows. The boots may have been on sale, but I have yet to figure out what on earth I was thinking. Now that I realize this about myself, I hope to not make that mistake again.

Vacuum Built Like a Tank

This is the story about how I purchased a vacuum for my apartment, the steps I went through along the way as well as some insight into the consumptive behavior of a guy who may not think like the average consumer. After the first few weeks of classes, I began to realize as I was cleaning my apartment that my vacuum was not doing a very good job. Upon inspection, I realized that the brush roll no longer stayed completely in place, and that the cause for this was a worn out groove in the plastic base of the vacuum. My first instinct would have been to fix it but since the company who made the vacuum was out of business and parts were no longer available I decided it was time for a different vacuum. In addition, the vacuum was given to me by my grandma so I had nothing invested in it anyway. This stage would fall into the category of motivation. At realizing my current vacuum was not performing as it should, I entered into a state of arousal that created the energy to achieve the goal of obtaining a vacuum that would meet my performance criteria. I am the kind of person who likes things that work very well for a very long time, and when they do break, I want parts to be readily available so I can fix whatever is wrong. While I am willing to pay more for quality, I prefer to look for something used that will meet my criteria once I am done working on it. This lets me save money. This part of the process falls under the category of felt involvement. It is probably obvious that my felt involvement was relatively high. I then narrowed my search to three brands I would look for: Sanitaire, Royal (all metal) and Kirby. These were my objects of involvement. After searching eBay, I made a trip to Easy Pawn on SR32. There I found a battered Kirby G4 in need of some new parts and a good cleaning for $50. While most consumers would have quickly dismissed it due to a relatively high perceived risk, I bought it. I had very low perceived risk since I was confident I could fix it. I knew about how much it would cost me to fix it and also knew that if I was not happy with it after I had repaired it, I could sell it on eBay at a decent profit. I am very happy with my decision so far. This vacuum works better than any I have seen so far, I had fun working on it, it is built to last and parts are easy to find. I plan on using it until parts are no longer available, if that ever happens. Best of all, this vacuum that may be the last one I ever buy cost me just a little over $100 after repairs. As I said before, I’m not your typical consumer.

She's a fixer, but definitely a keeper

Ever since I got my car in '08 I have been working on her and trying to get her back to like new. She is a '88 BMW 325. I love her and yes she is a her. I have gone as far as to personify my car. Some may think that's weird, but whatever. I couldn't care less. I would never sell my car. I've done so much to fix her up so far, it would kill me to get rid of her.

I got her as a Christmas present at first and my parents had done some to start the process by fixing somethings like the seats and some technical things. But since then I've totaled her a few times in how much I've spent on repairs. Some of the things I've repaired myself or with my dad, but the more technical stuff I take to a guy named Reggie of Reggie's Motorworks. He knows his stuff and I've been very pleased with the work he's done; money well spent. He specialized in e30s, which is the generation of 3 series that I have.

My dad and I have replaced the back struts and strut mounts, head lights, the dash board, and many smaller things. Some of the major things we had Reggie do was brakes (rotors, pads, and all), wheel bearings, tie rods, the instrument cluster (which we worked a little on as well), and several smaller things as well.

This summer she broke down and I had her towed to Reggie to find out what went wrong and we originally thought it was the differential because it had some play in it and had been making some noise. But we found it was actually the transmission that had gone. So that left me with a couple options. A re-used auto transmission that may go out tomorrow or last a lifetime for about 600-800 or a manual transmission that would probably last the rest of the cars life for around 2500. This was a risky decision, but after a bit of deliberation and weighing the pros and cons of each I decided for the manual and had Reggie go to work. He also replaced the noisy 2.93 differential with a bigger 3.25, which made it a little more sporty. I was completely satisfied with that purchase. My car is so much more fun to drive now and I will be taking my car back to Reggie for many more projects. I've got several in mind I just need to money to do it.