Friday, September 30, 2011

the daily challenge

One of the interesting mental challenges afforded to us by the daily deal sites (Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.) is to learn how to say no to things we genuinely don’t need. American consumerism is driven most by the concept of ‘a great deal’ – an unbelievable price for a good. What we so often forget is that in economic terms, any good is totally worthless if we have no need for it. Like I might be able to get a new snowblower for $20 but what the hell am I going to do with a snowblower?

Similarly, every day there’s a slew of new unbelievable deals, and I think it’s actually teaching people restraint. In the beginning everyone grabbed every deal they could, but now that we know that there will always be at least a few deals, we’re learning to say, ‘wow great deal. But would I have spent the money on it if it weren’t for sale?’ This is a powerful step towards letting go of some of our materialism and embracing minimalism. The same force that causes us to question if we need the daily deal will give us strength when we’re considering taking seconds at dinner, or when having another drink at the bar.