Saturday, December 11, 2010

short term vs long term

I know I have talked about the Roadhouse before, but being an employee there for almost three years really gives you some perspective. I love the people there, but they lead very interesting lives and have perhaps some of the worst consumer patterns that I have come into contact with in my very short life thus far. I am good friends with many of the people there, in fact my coworkers are the main reason I continue to work there. However, let me explain what I mean by poor consumer patters. The first people that come to mind are *aly and *Lindsey (*names are protected), they live together and work at the roadhouse and for now that is all they do. They had another job as bartenders but that establishment closed down. Aly had aspirations of going to college and was enrolled at one time at Ivy tech, but didn’t have the focus or drive to stick with it initially, and Lindsey was a student at AU but had similar problems with lack of focus and some other more personal issues. I bring them up now, because Aly is continuously frustrated at her current status in life, she hates working at the Roadhouse (as do many) and wants to be able to have a real job. The problem lies in short term gratification. The Roadhouse life is simple, and can seem like you’re living the dream for a while. Work doesn’t start till 4 so you can sleep in all day and then you’re usually of work on the weekends by 11, and you deal all in cash as a server. This makes it very easy and very tempting to just go out and spend the cash you have after work and then sleep the hangover away all day before you go into work. The consumer behavior here is instant gratification. They recognize so quickly that they have an unfulfilled “need” and then seemingly skip all the rest of the logically stages before they arrive at a fixed solution. Being a server at Roadhouse is not a rolling in the money kind of job. It pays the bills and leaves room for fun, but only when budget properly. So when they go out every other night and spend up to $30 dollars at the bar or come into work the next day with matching rings from Zales, you wonder where their logic went. Aly wants to go back to school, but cant until she pays off what she owes from the time she went a couple years ago. Because she can’t do that instantaneously, she is continuously discouraged and cant think long term. So the idea continues to get pushed back semester by semester, I wish I could help them with more long term consumption patterns. For now though, all I can do is love and support both of them no matter what their choices are, because you cant change people.

I love my father but....

My computer was purchased in 2007 by my father and myself. I told him that I really only had two requirements, for it to be small and to have a lot of memory. I ended up with a 17inch lab top that is bigger than my upper-half. My dad is known in our family as the cheap one, the one who will get talked into buying something of much less quality multiple times because it is less expensive. It is frustrating at times, because our family ends up having to replace items that if we would have just bought something more expensive the first time we wouldn’t have had to replace it numerous times. So once we were in the computer store and they offered my father the largest screened computer there is, but added a printer and a router for free! He was sold and there was no turning back. My laptop has served me well for the most part. However it has served more as a desktop computer, it is too big to fit into any computer bags and is too heavy to carry anywhere. At the time wifi was just becoming a big deal and so my router served no purpose at home or once I got to AU, because they were still installing the wifi. My printer was nice at first at school, until it ran out of ink, and as a freshman with an on-campus job I didn’t have the money to buy the at that time expensive ink refills. I love my dad, but he is easily swayed by price. This same price issues applies for him on more high risk purchases as well. We have always bough used cars, which I have no problem with. My problem lies when he insists that the best deals are downtown Detroit and buys really cheap cars there. Than like what has happened most recently, the car breaks down a week after we get it home, and the “car dealer” doesn’t have to take responsibility for the whole ordeal and we end up driving 40 minutes to Detroit two times a week for a couple weeks and still end up with a broken car and spending a couple thousand dollars in repair. The point im trying to make here is that my father’s behavior has saved us a lot of money in many circumstances, but also caused a lot of drama and problems in other areas. I love my dad very much; it would be nice if price was not always his deciding factor though.

A Blue Emblem. Something More?


Man the colts last night win was much needed. I’m not a fair weather fan, but when your team gets in a bit of slump it becomes less fun and more painful. Last nights win showed strength through adversity, which might give them an advantage in the post-season. We’ll see. GO HORSE!


Now, I have only been to one Colts game at Lucas Oil. If you ever get the opportunity, go! It’s pretty amazing. When I went it just reminded me how emblematic the Colt NFL Jersey is. Everyone has one. By wearing our big blue and white, we are all seen as a member of the team. We want to be identified with the team. We want to make as much noise as we can, because deep down we believe we are helping as the 12th man on the field. The sense of connectedness surrounds the stadium, it surrounds Indy, and it surrounds the state.


Last nights, post game conference was funny when Peyton responded to Bob Kravitz question, “People always say, hang in there. I was never out there. I’ve always been in there. I’ll always be in there. Wherever there, I never have left. I’ve kept working” Priceless. But these people are just searching to help, with words of encouragement, even if they don’t really help. We don’t know what were doing. But the connectedness came back at us fans when he spoke that quote. I heard it in, “I’ll always be in there…I’ve never left” That just gives me more comfort and reason to cherish this wonderful Colts team and its Captain Peyton Manning. It won’t last forever. Which means its very precious for all of us fans and I can’t help but think that each and every one of us owns a blue a white jersey, because the value we see in it means something more than being emblematic. We value them as precious, just as we value the team. Who knows maybe we even value them as sacred.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ram

My parents' computer had tons of viruses on it. My dad finally gave up on finding fixes online since it was getting progressively worse. Fortunately my roomate Dave is pretty much a computer guru. I brought the computer back with me to AU for Dave to work on. It turned out that the partition for windows XP was corrupted so it needed to be completely wiped and the operating system reinstalled, but since XP is outdated and Dave could not get a copy easily, we decided (with my parents' permission) to upgrade the operating system to Windows 7. This required upgrading the Ram on the computer. While I am generally good at fixing lots of random things, (mostly mechanical) I'm not all that great with computers and technology related things. When Dave tells me how to do something, he usually has to come over and help me through the process because I usually can't find what I'm supposed to click on, or know what the message means that just popped up etc. So, since computers are not at all my area of expertise, I let my roomate make the decisions on how much, and what brand to get. We ended up getting a 2gig kit from Crucial. Dave showed me how to install it which was easy. The computer is now fixed and running like a new computer. I think my parents will be happy with it. Sometimes, when we need to make a purchase, the advice of an expert (in my case my awesome roomate) can prove extremely valuable.

Why did I buy that? Nevermind.


So I bought an Xbox two years ago only because Halo 3 came out. I was never a one-person campaign gamer. I take that back, when I was really young my grandparents had a Nintendo at their house. When I would visit, I would play Mario 3 for hours or a whole day straight. Anyways, with the games today, I’m more of a multiplayer guy. Basically, I love playing with some my good friends online. Many of them live far away; so playing multiplayer over Xbox live seemed like a fun way to keep in touch. Well when I bought the Xbox two years ago, I never got around to getting Xbox live. I never had the time to play the darn thing. The console has basically been a giant paperweight for almost two years. I almost was going to sell it on eBay, earlier this year.


Then a miracle happened! Halo Reach came out earlier this fall (haha). I had to get it. With it I purchased Xbox live and Modern Warfare 2. I was set. I don’t play it that often. But, when I do its extremely fun. I even have an indicator on my phone that tells me when my friends are on Xbox live. So, what is the moral of the story? I had post decision regret for almost 2 years. Now it’s gone. I am satisfied with my decision, which is cool considering it is a tech product. That’s why I love these game consoles. They’re not like phones or TV’s where a new model comes out every year. They have a decent life span for anybody to get their moneys worth, even if you don’t use it for 2 years.

All I want for Christmas


So I think that it's fairly obvious by now that I'm a bit obsessed with my car. I talk about it, work on it, and think about it a lot! So Christmas time is no different. I got my car for Christmas in the first place. But now I just want to work on fixing a few more things and make it better. Unfortunately the work I have in mind is a little out of my league and I'll be gone half of break on a Tri-S trip. So that's where Reggie, from Reggie's Motorworks in Westfield, comes in. He mostly works on e30s, which is the body style of BMW that I have, but he does work on other things as well. I have taken my car in to him several times for a bunch of different fixes from the glove box to the transmission. So I plan on taking my car to him again during break. That way, when I come back from Peru, it'll be all ready to go. Now I don't have the money to have him fix everything on my car, nor do I want him to. I enjoy working on it myself when I can, but it is always nice to know someone that you trust. I know he will do a good job and not rip me off. And that's why I keep going back.

Cardigans.

During our first week of class I shared that the thing I can never stop buying, or can't get enough of, is cardigans. So, since it is our last week of class I thought I would expand a little bit on why I answered the way I did.

It is true, I buy an obscene amount of cardigans. I love them. Not only do they keep you warm but they also go with almost anything you can think of. They also come in so many styles and colors that you will rarely have one that looks like the other. If you don't believe me, see my closet.

At the moment I have.....are you ready for it....29 cardigans. This is not a joke. Yes, I probably do need some psychological help, but I do not lie when I say that I own 29 cardigans. Have I worn all 29 cardigans in the past year? The answer....almost.

I have such a variety. I have one that is purple, a few grey, a few blue, two green ones, a tan one, a few brown, many red, a couple white, a lot of black, and many more colors. I have some that are short sleeve, some 3/4, and some long sleeve. I have ones that are cropped, ones that are average, and ones that are long in length. I have ones that button, ones that zip, and ones that tie. I even have ones that have ruffles. I think I may have more cardigans than I have shirts.

I don't know when my want for cardigan arouse. I think it may have been when I joined theater. I don't know why, but usually when you are associated with the theater or music scene you tend to wear cardigans. When I joined theater I saw this as a way to fit in, so I bought one. It's been a growing obsession ever since.

So all in all. Cardigans are the one thing I just can't stop buying. In fact I bought one this week. (A forest green one, in case you were wondering) I love them and I probably will always buy them.

Neti Pot

My freshman year at AU I remember seeing one of my friends on the floor filling a plastic thing that looked kind of like Aladdin's lamp with water, emptying some white powder in it, and stirring it with a spoon. He then proceeded to stick the spout part up one nostril, tilt his head to the side and I watched the water drain out the other side of his nose. I thought this was really weird and I asked him what it was. He told me it was a neti pot and what it was used for, which turns out it rinses mucus and all that stuff out of your nose and sinuses. At the time I thought it sounded like some kind of gimmicky product and dismissed it. Flash forward to my senior year of college. My nose is stopped up. I tried decongestants, and even breath-right strips at night but nothing seemed to get everything out. I was starting to get annoyed at this point but I had forgotten about the neti pot my friend had used. I was doing some grocery shopping when I happened to see one. All at once i remembered. I debated for a while as to whether or not I really wanted to try this since I still thought it was really weird. Finally out of desperation I decided to get one. After trying it, I must say it is a very unique experience and yes, it does feel weird but not like getting water up your nose while swimming. It's a kind of feeling you can only experience if you have used a neti pot. However, it worked. All the stuff that had been clogging my nose was gone. I couldn't remember being able to breath that well. Even though I never saw any advertisement for the neti pot done by a company who produced them, seeing one triggered my memory of seeing that friend use one three years before. I had a problem and I had tried several alternatives and despite my reservations I gave the neti pot a chance. I'm glad I don't have to use it very often but when I need it, I know it will work.

Black Friday! So much fun

I have probably been going shopping on black friday for at least five years now. I go with many family members. Its kinda a family tradition on both sides of the family. I go with my mom's side of the family. So after the big Thanksgiving dinner we will get the ads out and start looking to see where we need to shop and were we need to go first to get the big sale items. Each year it is usually my mom, aunt Linda, aunt Donna, cousin Hannah and Mollie, and my two sisters Jolinda and Judy, and myself. This year was a little different because my sister Jolinda wasn't able to go with us. She had one of her best friends since high school getting married. It was interesting because it was so quiet this year because of her not being there, and it seemed like we were as organized because of her not being there. So to make up for her not being there on black friday, my mom, sister Judy and her two boys, my sister Jolinda and her daughter, and myself went shopping on saturday.
The one bad thing about black friday this year was I forgot one of my credit cards that I was going to use. I was so mad at myself. I had left it in my pocket of my work pants and forgot to stick it back in my wallet, but that didn't stop me from shopping because I found another form of payment. I got all of my shopping done on black friday except for a couple people. I have a niece and nephew that have birthdays near the holidays so I go ahead and get their birthday gift then. At the end of the day, the shopping went well on both days. And I will be ready to go again next year.

The Wallet

Unfortunately, my roommate, Kim, got her wallet stolen recently. She was making a run to Payless (the grocery store not shoe store) and in the process of walking from the store to her car she dropped her wallet. Once she realized it was gone we went back and looked for it only to find her keys (that were previously attached to her wallet) lying in the middle of a parking space. So all in all, it created a problem. Not only did Kim no longer have her AU ID, her credit/debit cards, and her library card, but she also no longer owned a wallet.

So, the very next day Kim and I set out on a search for a brand new wallet. Where you ask? Target.

Not only is Target relatively cheap but they also have some of the cutest wallets you can find.

Now Kim is usually like me when it comes to shopping. We shop like a man. We usually know what we want and know where to find it. We hardly ever spend more than an hour in any store. However, this was a whole new experience.

Kim spent about 45 minutes trying to decide which wallet to choose. She wanted something not too small that could slip out of your pocket but she also didn't want something that was too big and would be a burden to carry. She also had to choose what color she wanted. Her last wallet was brown, so she wanted something a little bit more fun. So that narrowed it down to about 3/4ths of the items on the shelf. Then she had to decide what style. Did she want a wallet that zipped or a wallet that snapped? About 30 minutes later she finally narrowed it down to 3- a red one that zipped and snapped, a yellow one with a flower pattern that snapped, and a green one that snapped.

After asking for my opinion about 6 times and asking the opinion of a few friends from school we ran into. She finally decided that she liked the yellow one with the flowers the best. So she purchased it and we left.

Thankfully, she has been very satisfied with her purchase and feels as if she made the right choice. Many people have commented on her new wallet and it has definitely filled the hole that the other wallet left.

Picking The Right TV


So my brother just graduated from college last year and recently got his own place. He now has most of the essentials a bachelor would need, a microwave, kitchen utensils, living room suit, bedroom suit and etc. But there is one thing he felt he was missing, a nice flat screen TV! In wanting to buy a new TV my brother set out to do some research. It is amazing because I don't think I can ever remember him doing this much research on wanting to buy something. I personally have a 40" 1080P Samsung LCD myself and definitely meets my dorm room needs. The first thing my brother was thinking about was what size of TV he would need for his living room. He has a rather small living room so he was looking for something medium size somewhere around a 32" size would be suitable for him. He decided that 1080p was not all that important for him and that 720p would meet his needs. My brother told me he had around a $500 budget to work with and wanted to make sure he got the best for his money. I went with him to Best Buy back home in Michigan to take a look at different options they had available. He narrowed it down to two options. He was interested in the Samsung model#LN32C350D1D and an LG model#32LD400. Both TVs had a very good consumer reviews, but the LG stood out to him more because it was cheaper and was 1080P compared to the Samsung which was only 720P. In the end he left with the LG TV. I have followed up with him and he was very satisfied with his purchase. I just think it is amazing when we have the ability to purchase something expensive and complex like a TV, we make sure to put effort into getting the one that is right for us.

Guages!


At the beginning of the school year my roommate decided to pierce his ears. He was rather sceptical on whether he would like it or not. After having them pierced for about two months he started to get bored with his normal piercings so he decided to start gauging his ears. He started out at a ten gauge for his first set which he purchased at Hot Topic. He told me he was wanting to keep his ears at ten because they were still close enough to his original piercing. Little did I know, this was the start of my roommates obsession with buying ear gauges. Two weeks after he told me he was sticking with tens he bought a pair of eight gauges. Then almost three weeks later he moved on too six gauges with yet another pair he bought. Just recently this week he decided to buy a pair of four gauges. Although it was painful, he was still adamant on going up in a size. I couldn't believe how at the start of the semester he was going to stick with a size ten but has led all the way up to a four gauge today! I asked him what is his motivation behind doing this and his answer was "it's addicting". I know that gauges can get expensive so I asked my roommate how much he spends on average for a pair. He told me he can spend roughly fifteen to twenty dollars depending on where he gets them. I still think it is amazing how our consumptive patterns can change in an instant.

Harry Potter: My Current Obsession


I love Harry Potter just as much as any other person. Harry Potter is currently my favorite movie/book series. However, it wasn’t always that way. When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone first came out in theaters, my fifth grade teacher read the book to our class and then we went and saw the movie. For some reason I wasn’t that into it, and I didn’t actually jump onto the Harry Potter bandwagon until my freshman year of high school. Something just clicked in my head that didn’t back when the Harry Potter craze first started, and I became a huge fan really fast. So now, if asked, anyone that knows me would probably say that my love for Harry Potter is more of an obsession… and it’s a little bit true.

The Harry Potter movies were definitely great purchases for me. I literally watch them all the time, so I didn’t waste my money, and I just love them. I have a few movies that I regret buying, just because I never watch them and they’re just taking up space. But out of all of my movies, I watch the Harry Potter ones the most. You know how there are just some movies that never get old no matter how many times you watch them? Yeah, that’s how all of the Harry Potter movies are for me, especially the first one. My fascination with the first movie led me to go see all of the five other Harry Potters, buy them when they came out on DVD, and get a bunch of other Harry Potter merchandise. So, I would definitely say that out of most of the things I have purchased in my life, the Harry Potter movies have been the best purchase I’ve made.

Problem Recognition

My roommate and I have a problem. Our printer has been out of ink for a few weeks. By “our printer”, I really mean my printer. We share a printer and take turns buying ink when it runs out. Well, it just so happens that I haven’t printed anything out since the beginning of the semester, so she’s basically been using all the ink. Now, the ink is gone and she expects me to buy more ink. I don’t have money to buy ink, let alone ink that I won’t even be using. After unsuccessfully trying to convince me to buy some more, she finally gave in last week and decided to go ahead and buy more. Before we actually bought the ink, however, she wanted to get Starbucks. After spending over $8 on two coffees, and more money on random things at Walmart, we picked out the ink that we needed and went to the cashier. Lo and behold, she didn’t have enough for the ink.

Then, a few days later, we went to Walmart because she said she had some things she needed to buy. She spent $20 on a bunch of stuff that probably could have been saved for later. She now had the money to buy the ink, but bought something else that she probably didn’t even need instead. I would definitely consider my roommate to be an impulsive buyer. When she sees something she wants, she doesn’t hesitate to buy it, even though she knows there are more important things that she needs to buy. So now, this problem is going to continue until one of us finally decides to buy more ink.


Giving in to the Dark Side

Your mom is doing it. Your dad is doing it. Your friends are doing it. Your siblings do it. Your professors do it. They do it by themselves and sometimes in groups. It's safe to say...everybody's doing it. In some form or another, each of us as consumers are giving in to the dark side of consumer behavior, whether it be some form of compulsive buying or engaging in the black market to acquire certain products/ services.
As we discussed the topic "Dark Side of Consumer Behavior" and particularly the Black Market, it was interesting to note that the black market is not necessarily a physical location. My experience with black markets prior to this discussion has been with a physical location that we called "The Black Market."
Back when I was in high school in Zambia, it was an interesting dynamic in that we had one grocery store, owned by the school (a boarding school) that we were expected to purchase our products from. As you can imagine, this did not sit well with most people (as is often the case when people feel they are being coerced into doing something). People in the surrounding community realized this and created a separate channel where students could purchase their products. Of course, this did not sit well with the school administration, and the "market" was outlawed by the school. This did not deter the members of the community that started up this business venture, hence, earned the nickname "Blackie" coined after the black market that it was. There were no illegal items sold, but the fact that it was banned by the school administration highly motivated students to buy items from it rather than the school owned grocery store.
I am left to wonder if it is the same with today's non-physical black markets. Are they gaining popularity because consumers are acting to spite authorities? What is it about black markets that make them so appealing that we continued to participate in them despite knowing the potential negative effects they have? Are we as consumers purposely giving in to the dark side of consumer behavior?
I wonder...don't you?

Video Games

Growing up with video games seemed to be the norm for my age. My first console was a Super Nintendo with Mario Cart! ah what a great game! I see both the pro's and con's of video games looking back over the years. It gave my dad and I a connection and a sense of fun.. when I was winning the games! I am a very competitive gamer so when things wouldn't go quite the way I would like I would throw a fit. Video games can split family time and also increase it, like the Wii. Looking back I can see that I had a huge demand on the latest and greatest graphics and "cool" games. I believe that over the years the gaming industry has made me more materialistic. I am looking for the new hot game of the time. Right now this game would be Call of Duty Black Ops. This game came out in November and now has 360 million dollars of sales! There are thousands of guys and girls just like me looking for the next best thing. Gaming consoles have got the demand and are making great products for the consumer to buy. Xbox has done a great job at releasing new games at the right time with leading features. I do not think I will ever stop playing video games, Xbox has got me hooked! Good job Microsoft

CHRISTmas

Tis the season for chaos! The Christmas season seems to be getting earlier and earlier every year. I saw Christmas lights up right after Halloween! Is that crazy or what? I do have to say that I am in the Christmas spirit earlier than previous years, guess you could call me a late bloomer. I love the spirit that it brings and the hospitality that is shown, but why can't it always be like that? Why does it seem to only increase around Christmas time. I believe as Christians, we need to always be generous and hospitable. The other day I saw people fighting over a PlayStation 3. People are dumb!! The buying habits seem to just be getting worse. The amount of "stuff" is brainwashing the youth of America. It's all about who has the most things. It is almost like people need this "stuff to feel connected and accepted now. America is quickly becoming more materialistic as technology advances. This Christmas season, consumers want the latest and greatest thing for their loved ones. Consumers are desperate to get the perfect gift when we really need to remember what this season is all about. CHRIST'S BIRTH!

Tis the Season to be Stressful


I don't know if it is because I'm a procrastinator or if I don't like the crowds of people shopping, but I always seem to do my shopping last minute and online. This is the worst way to do it because of a number of reasons. First off, by the time Christmas rolls around, places are running out of stock, so you may not get exactly what you wanted to. Also you are going to pay more for whatever the gift is, with overnighting and shipping costs. Then there is the problem of making sure that nobody intercepts their own gift before I get do, which can be a task with a little brother around. And even if you do manage to receive all the packages without incident, then you have to get them to a safe location to wrap. And once you finally have that you can put it under the tree. I'm not really sure why I do this to myself every year but I do. I guess it's just my nature. But I wish I could break the habit. This season is far too stressful as it is without last minute gift shopping. Well there is always next year to start I guess. Maybe I'll make that my New Years resolution.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

All I Need For Christmas Is......



Well for most people it’s that time of the year when people spend their money on other people for gifts. As much as I want to spend money on other people for presents, I’m probably not going to spend that much this year. The only individuals who will be receiving gifts from me are my intermediate family. I have a whole shopping list of things I want for myself such as another pair of Jordans, and I don’t think that my parents or brothers will get them for me. With that said, the Retro 11 “Cool Greys” come out on December 23 and I will be the first one in line to purchase these. Not only will I purchase one pair but I will get a total of three pair if things work out on my side.  You’re probably wondering why I will purchase three pairs of shoes that cost $187.35 after tax, and the only two answers I have for you is that it is one of my favorite shoes of all time and because they are selling for $400 dollars on most websites. $400 is a lot of money, so my idea is to sell one of my pair and hope to get at least $400 for them. If that’s the case that means I will make my money back and still have two pairs to sit on.  Good decision/ bad decision? Either way my mind is about 90% set on purchasing all three pair.

Christmas


Christmas time is the time for joys, excitement, love, kindheartedness, and peace. But to me with Christmas coming to me brings a lot of headaches and pains. This is because for the most part I am a good gift giver but when it comes to my dad year after year it never fails I never know what to buy him. My dad is the kind of person who if he wants something he will most likely go out and buy it for himself. So when it comes to buying him Christmas gifts I never know what to get him because if he wants it he will buy it and if I get him a gift he does not want he will not hesitate to return it. So when I go into the stores looking for gifts for him I never know what to get him and then that just brings frustration because he is very difficult to shop for. The last 2 years I have though found out what gifts to buy him for Christmas and that would be Anderson Raven attire from our bookstore. Freshman and Sophomore year I have bought him a golf polo and a hat, and each year he has liked those. But now I am to the point where I kind of want to try and get him something else like not from the bookstore and see if he likes it. I have been doing my research and my dad is a big bike rider and he pretty much has it all except for a cordless air compressor to pump up his tires when it gets flat. He is always getting flat tires and is always having to use the foot pump to pump it up and that takes a lot of work sometimes, but with him having this it will eliminate all that effort that he has to put into it. This is the gift that I want to get him and there is no way that he can take it back because it is the perfect gift for him!

Social Influences



After our class lecture over Chapter 16, I realized my Christmas list says a lot about me. I looked over my list and realized that a few of my wish list items were based on social influences. I have magazine subscriptions (I know real exciting, right?) on my list that I really want. These subscriptions can be related to an aspirational reference group. The subscriptions are to magazines related to my future career – the person I aspire to be. I also asked for items that my peers have currently. I asked for a new hair straightener. One of my roommates expressed how much she likes her hair straightener, and for this reason, I asked for the same brand. My peers also influenced me with the books I asked for as well as the new boots I hope to receive. Even though I do not enjoy writing out a Christmas list for family members, I found this year’s list to be a useful tool. The list helped me realize that the items I consume are closely related to my social influences and reference groups.

(Picture courtesy of: Google Images)

Gift Giving

Christmas most definitely has to be my favorite holiday. I enjoy everything about Christmas. One thing I particularly enjoy is gift giving. This year I am ecstatic about one special gift my dad, brother, and I are giving my mom. We have known for quite a while that we wanted to give her a laptop for Christmas. Even though we knew this, we still had to go through the gestation stage of gift giving. We had to think of the emotions that surrounded the gift (our love and support), the nature of the gift (she has desperately needed a laptop for a period of time), the value of the gift (definitely beyond the monetary value), and the amount of time spent searching for the gift. We researched several computers trying to decide exactly which one would fit her purposes the best. We also researched prices (in store and online). We then decided to purchase the laptop from Best Buy online.

The laptop has just arrived so now it is time for the presentation. Even though we are not going to give her the gift quite yet we are going to wrap the gift and place it among the other gifts under the tree. To be completely honest the presentation of this gift is probably going to be one of the highlights of my Christmas knowing that we are making her job easier. Even though the reformation stage applies in many situations I do not think this will be the case in this situation. I do not believe my mom will reevaluate our relationship based solely on this gift or determine to reciprocate based on the gift. I am truly excited for Christmas morning to see her open her new laptop.

The Process of Buying Wedding Rings

There are very few material things that I actually believe to be very special. However, one of my belongings that I believe to be special is my engagement ring, because it was a gift to me from my fiancé and a huge memory laden object. More importantly, it is special because it is a sign of the love and commitment that we share.

Looking back on the process it took to purchase our rings, it was drastically different. This past summer, my fiancé, Austin, surprised me and took me ring shopping. The process was completely overwhelming, because I knew absolutely nothing about rings or the hundreds of styles and options you could choose from. There were many that I liked, and after much deliberation I was able to narrow down my options. We traveled to many different jewelers and spent a large amount of time searching.

This is the completely opposite of the ring shopping experience I had with Austin. I took him to Kay’s Jewelers a few weeks ago to take a look at rings. My intentions were purely to figure out what styles he liked and about how much it was going to cost me. Of course, the ring section for men is drastically, and I mean drastically, smaller then it is for women. We sat down and the lady that helped us pulled out rings for him to try on. He would put one on and immediately be able to say yes or no. After a short time, Austin had it narrowed down to one ring in the store and another ring we found in a magazine. I personally liked the ring in the store better which was more expensive then the ring that was in the magazine. We decided to order in the ring in the magazine and come back later to make our final decision. Last week, the ring came in, so we made another trip to take a look at it. He decided to go with the ring that we had ordered in that I did not like as much but was cheaper. I was in awe of how fast he made a decision. We went to the counter, swiped my card, and carried the ring out of the store. It was a piece of cake.

What I learned from this experience is that there is a huge difference between genders in looking into wedding rings. It’s amazing how there is such a difference between the amount of options and prices for women and men. Lastly, it also shows that when you are buying gifts for another person there is a bit of give and take. The ring he chose for himself would not have been my first choice; however, I purchased the ring he liked best which is what really matters. Plus, it didn’t hurt that it was cheaper for me, even though I was willing to pay more. All in all, I am happy that he is satisfied with his decision, and I am glad I didn’t have to go through what he did in order to purchase a ring.

Changes in the Music Industry

It is interesting how music itself changes over time, but in regards to this class I'm looking at how the music industry has changed. After the invention of Napster several years ago, the way most people look at and acquire music has changed drastically. The music has almost eliminated the musician, and it has turned into record sales. WAIT! Record sales??? That is what people said over a decade ago, but now artists have find ways to make money and be noticed. This is because of albums getting leaked to websites that allow users to download the music to their compute. It has changed the way I view music. I don't have to save up money to get a CD, I have to decide if I want to wait for the album to download to my computer.

So for smaller musicians I have noticed they have done different things to make money. Ticket and merchandise prices have gone up. I am worried that my generation, the generation of "I have to have what I want right now" will ruin how music is done. I hope that albums will still be bought and I hope that prices of concerts will not keep most people at home staring at their computer. There is a culture that comes along with concerts and live music. If people continue to stay at home and not support the artist that they are listening to, it could kill the way music is. It sucks because I find myself not actually supporting the artists that I love.