Untangling Emotions from Purchases

It’s almost impossible right now to avoid hearing about the issue of gun control. It’s all over the news. It seems to be the topic of discussion on every messageboard I read.

I don’t really have any stances worth sharing on the issue, and I have no interest in discussing the politics or personal rights of the controversy. I think, like most issues, it’s not as easy or as black-and-white as people on either extreme end of the issue want to make it out to be.

Ordinarily, this would be an issue I would not discuss in any way. This isn’t a political blog and I have zero interest in writing about political issues, except when they directly affect your pocketbook.

However, I did read this interesting article (and many others like it) about the enormous sales that are being made at gun shows and outdoorsman’s shops. Guns are being sold hand over fist right now, and when there are products being sold at a rapid rate, my first concern is about your pocketbook.

It’s easy to see why guns are selling like hotcakes right now. I completely understand the emotional response people are having to the issue and I also understand why outdoorsmen and hunters may be thinking that now is a good time to purchase an item they’ve been thinking about.

However, let’s back up a second and look at the broader issue here.

Whenever you have an emotional response to something and it’s causing you to consider a purchase, you should always be actively questioning that desire.

Why? Because marketing is usually at work.

Marketers want you to have an emotional response that causes you to buy their products.

Gun manufacturers and gun salesmen are no different in that regard from the person on television trying to sell you toothpaste. They have marketing departments, too, and other organizations that advocate on behalf of them. They’re not fools. They see a public affairs moment that they can use to their advantage. And they should be – it makes a ton of good business sense for them.

Regardless of whether there is any basis for it or not, right now is a great time for them to stoke fear and anger among hunters and gun enthusiasts. The stronger the emotional response that they can provoke, the more guns they’re going to sell. The more urgent they can make the crisis sound, the more they’re going to push people into opening their wallets right now.

Regardless of whether or not there’s a spark or a small flame of real concern, there are people that make money – a lot of money – from stoking it into a roaring emotional blaze.

And it’s working. Guns are selling like hotcakes at full market value and some hot models are selling at incredible premium prices.

When people are scared and worried and angry (or feeling other strong emotions), they open their wallets before their rational mind can take control. A significant part of the marketing industry is based on that fact. Billions of dollars worth of products sell every year based solely on that principle.

Regardless of how you feel about the gun control issue, right now is a time to step back and take a deep breath. Do some reading and gather some information from a variety of sources.

Don’t let a wave of panic cause you to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars into something you don’t need that you can’t really afford. Don’t sacrifice your financial future because political and marketing forces have stoked up fear or anger over the last week or two. Take some time, step back from the issue, do your own research from a variety of sources (and not just ones that match your political view or are marketing materials for large companies), and make a decision when you’re not flooded with anger or fear.

If you still decide after thirty days or so that buying a gun is the right decision for you and you’ve taken the time to find the right purchase for you at the right price, then you should do so.

However, it is always a mistake to buy an item when you’re feeling highly emotional about it. It clouds your otherwise clear judgment and causes you to overspend on items or buy items you wouldn’t ever buy.

This is true for every product out there. If you are riding a wave of emotion, whether it be anger or fear or merely jealousy or envy, don’t open your wallet for a product you don’t really need. Take a deep breath, wait a little while for that emotional wave to subside, and make a rational and conscious decision about your purchase.

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