Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Inversely Proportional & Christmas

I just realized today that the effectiveness of advertising is inversely proportional to the amount spent on that ad.

Washington Post $85 - got me a few losers and no-shows $45 a few nibbles - haven't given it much of a chance yet $25 - had a good handful of people out to the house based on this
Craig's List $FREE - probably have had more calls from craigs list than anything else

Maybe if there were a service that was less than $FREE I would do even better.

So I was thinking about Christmas and wondering why it is we are encouraged to ask for gifts that we would not buy for ourselves. By definition haven't we determined that these items are not worth purchasing ourselves? Otherwise we would have already purchased them. We are increasing the market for shit we don't need. How much better off would we be if we all asked for the things we were going to buy anyway - toothpaste, sandpaper, and a set of 50-weight ball bearings?


  1. same with christmas and wedding registries, eh? i don't necessarily think it's true that stuff we haven't bought ourselves should be deemed not worth the purchase. i think a lot of the times it's just stuff that's too expensive or that may seem like it's not a necessity enough to buy ourselves (i.e., a hubcap) when there's more pressing expenses at hand. although there's also plenty of stuff that i could've bought myself but that i set aside so i could have a nice, long, color-coded christmas list of options for everyone. :)

  2. Gifts are fun when they are things you want, but you don't really need. Since eventually you'll buy the things you need for yourself, but the things you want you might just drool over. Good gifts are also things that you need but didn't know you needed until you have a crockpot or a george forman one really needs these things, but it's nice to have them just in case. Cause someday you just really might need to grill something the george forman way... I knew someone once that did all his cooking on a George Forman grill. He made pretty much every meal on that thing, sadly he wasn't really into cleaning his grill very much so it took quite a beating.

  3. I guess what I'm saying is that Christmas, birthdays, and Bar Mitzvah's tend to be comercially driven. Society has been molded by fancy marketing into the general belief that a good gift need be a "luxury". I don't mean a Lexus or a diamond-studded swimming pool - I mean luxury as in something above and beyond what you need or would have bought for yourself. It creates an overpurchasing phenomenon that is a drain on funds that could be used toward other efficient means. I think I understand what you guys are saying - but is that a view that has been molded by society and marketing? Does it jive with what gifts should be about? When I really look at what gifts should be, I think that a gift should show thought. Like Margaret said - something that you did not know you needed... but I'm not sure the George Foreman grill is the best example. Giving someone something thoughtful that could help their lives is a pretty good thing - but buying the latest electronics and fad toys of the day is often wasted.

    If we assume that gift giving amongst friends was a simple and monetarily even redistribution, doesn't it seem that we are not doing well to add value? We are giving things that probably would not have been purchased... or we are buying MORE than what the person needed (resulting in loss). Lets all do our part to actually think about what we buy, to reject gimmicks, to refrain from overbuying.