Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

For so many aspects of our lives, we possess countless items “in case of” this and “in case of that” due to motivating factors identified ages ago in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you were to look closely, there are so many products that consumers purchase “just in case” that might never be used, yet we continue to buy. Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

In my car, I have emergency equipment – a spare tire, a jack, jumper cables, and I know how to use them. I’ve practiced. I’m not planning on having a flat tire, but if I do, I’m ready. These days, it’s actually faster and easier to have roadside assistance come and make the change.

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Always, I point back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs when examining purchasing motivation. We learned it in high school, and it’s knowledge that you will use your entire life.

The first need humans will fill is at the bottom; imagine unclothed people seeking a cave to shelter them, garments to keep them warm, and food for their bellies. Without these basic survival needs, humans would not be seeking praise from their boss – they are completely consumed with obtaining food and shelter.

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

I bought this book, ‘Defend Yourself,‘ in order to learn how to protect my home from intruders. It’s unlikely I’ll ever have to use what I learned, however, I’m more prepared for having read it. Also, it was very interesting and made me more aware of my surroundings. That can’t be bad.

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
This Dazer device repels dogs. I’m scared of dogs chasing me.

Next is safety, and this need is pretty “low” – meaning important – on the list. When people do not feel safe, they are unable to even think about getting recognition or status; they are running scared.

Once the bottom two needs are met, humans move on to seek the upper levels in that order. As a high school teacher, I see this hierarchy of needs in action fairly often. A student who was thrown out of their house the night before is not too worried about scoring an “A” on my test today – they’re trying to figure out where they will sleep tonight.

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Fear As a Motivator to Buying

Fear and the desire to be prepared is a powerful motivator for buying safety products. For years, I’ve been teaching my students the motivators for buying.

Examining Maslow’s Hierarchy, our purchasing drive results from everything from desiring status to simply getting a good deal. Even those come down to fear – fear of not enjoying that status, fear of missing out on a discounted price.

So many of our purchases are motivated by fear. We purchase fire extinguishers and insurance out of fear of catastrophe. While appearing rather paranoid, actually, we don’t wish a fire upon ourselves; it’s more of a fear of being unprepared.

We purchase cosmetics and clothing out of fear of being unattractive. We purchase locks and alarms out of fear of intrusion. And we buy medical supplies out of fear of bodily harm. We are not planning to have a fire or be burgled or hurt; but we prepare.

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Rational Fears

Some of our fears that inspire us to purchase items are more realistic than others. We know that the sun causes cancer, so we buy sunscreen.

I know that many sunscreens contain chemicals toxic to me and the ocean, so my rational fear is getting burnt and killing fish, so I purposely purchase reef-safe sunscreen. I’m scared of creating so much waste that I fill landfills, so I try to choose biodegradable packaging.

By the way – this is my favorite choice for sunscreen because I don’t have to fret over the disposal of the lotion OR the container! Fully recyclable, eco-friendly sugar cane resin tubes contain Stream2Sea’s reef-safe mineral sunscreen. By using this brand, I have addressed about five of my fears!

We have learned through our own experiences that there are things that actually do hurt us, so we prepare. We know poison ivy makes us crazy, so we buy pink lotion to treat the rash. Blisters hurt, so we stock up on plastic bandages. We buy a lot of stuff due to fear!

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Unpreparedness Fears

So, there it is. I’m scared of being ineffective, and I’m fearful of being unprepared, I’m nervous about not having enough supplies. Thus, I have several bleeding control kits and am continually seeking training. 

As a high school teacher, I’m scared that something will happen and I won’t be prepared with supplies or trained with skills – scared enough that I have sought both. Is that really scared, or just being prepared?

My article, Paranoia or Preparation // Learning Bleeding Control, was all about just this idea – are you paranoid if you stock emergency medical supplies, or are you just someone who is prepared; the person who always has a knife, flashlight, or corkscrew when needed?

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

What If… What If…

How much do I buy out of fear? Dessicant tabs for the GoPro in case of water intrusion or the lens fogging. Dazer dog repellant in case mad dogs rush at me. Just how much of what I consume is out of fear? Fear of wasting time, fear of getting hurt, fear of working too hard… It’s worth examining.

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Consumers Beware of Manipulation

While the title of this book is somewhat misleading, I would have named it, “Merchandising to the Masses” or “Marketing Techniques,” it is a great read.

This book, “Why We Buy,” deals with a fascinating thorough examination of actually how people buy – how they select items when shopping retail stores. While there are probably plenty of books about how to market, this is the result of years of study about how people buy – what they actually do when in a store.

There are so many fascinating vignettes presented. One is a study of foundation garments being stocked from smallest sizes at the top of a display to largest sizes on the bottom, where those shoppers are least likely to stoop and bend to grasp them.

Another comical observation deals with who actually buys dog treats – children who think everyone should have a treat, and the elderly, who like to spoil their pets. Stocking dog treats up high wasn’t working for a grocery chain, so adjustments were made based on shopper habits.

I could not put this book down, and will read it again. It deals with the actual science of shopping.

, Why We Buy // Motivation // Fear Mongering and Gear Mongering // Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The Last Four Minutes of Life

So, while highly unlikely, I have been preparing for the last four minutes of someone’s life. In fact, I am taking my responsibility as a human so seriously, that I have sought training and equipment toward that desire for preparation.

I encourage you to seek qualified training and quality supplies, and “give in” to the urge to make a few purchases that might save a life.

Taught by an Emergency Room Physician with decades of experience as a Special Forces Medic, the Crisis Medicine training is very graphic and very comprehensive, covering everything from tourniquets to ballistics to wound packing and bandaging. Use my code “DeepWH” for 20% off the first course.

Don’t buy counterfeit supplies. For something you plan to use the last four minutes of someone’s life; that is not the time, during that last-ditch effort, to rely on a dupe. Read this first: Counterfeit Tourniquet Dangers // Would You Trust Your Life to a Dupe? // Surprising Dangers of Fakes

What to Read and Watch Next:

What’s in the bleeding control kit I assembled for my classroom, and detailed reasons for each item’s choice: What’s In My Classroom Bleeding Control Kit

Or, Read This Next: Classroom Bleeding Control Kit // High School Teacher Packing in the Classroom

Something to Watch: I Was Given a Counterfeit Tourniquet For My Classroom During National Stop the Bleed Month

Using my links helps me continue to bring free content to you, and increase the number of supplies in my own CFAK. I usually add a few more items to my bag every couple paydays, so thank you in advance for your care for your own students and co-workers’ safety.

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