Psychology behind the regret
Buyer's remorse is a psychological state of 'cognitive dissonance' that accounts for mental inconsistency (dissonance) that a person suffers from after having to settle between two or more cognitions (choices).
Dissatisfaction is a human being's essential nature. Really, no winks there! We all have been through that one phase where we first wanted to have something badly for ourselves and ended up regretting our silly choices. What actually bothers us is the fear of not getting satisfied, and that is when we start having these second thoughts, trying to judge our own act, right or wrong. Although this pretty much applies to all our life decisions, our focus here is the psychological phenomenon called 'buyer's remorse'.
Buyer's remorse is the surge of regret that a shopper might undergo after having made a purchase due to doubts about the quality, quantity, price, or usage of the purchase. Right after having made the choice of a product or a service, the buyer might begin to wonder upon certain points that usually give them 'cold feet'.
The first question usually is, 'Was the purchase worth what I bought it for?' This question is followed by:
- What if the same facility was available for a lower price?
- Does the purchase suit my needs?
- Does the product match the expectations?
- What if the product develops some defects later, which cannot be fixed?
The time of onset of the remorse and its duration depends upon the type and size of purchase we have made. Big investments tend to take us some time to realize that a better deal could have been struck. Investments made in automobiles, real estate, and electronics are those in which a bad deal can be recognized in a short time. In case of investments such as booking vacations and signing contracts, it might take a little while before you actually understand the catch of the deal, and 'lady regret' strikes you. Articles of personal use such as clothes, bags, and shoes are those that generate regret when criticized by the others around us.
Reasons for Buyer's Remorse
Budget is the key to all the spending. The strong desire to own something might lure people into buying stuff that exceeds their budget. The silk scarf you bought out of that exquisite shop last weekend―you know you could not afford it, but only you know it was one of its kind.
The marketing techniques are after all made to convince the prospective buyers that the product or service being offered on the table is a necessity for them and are being offered at the best price. After getting thoroughly manipulated by the salesperson, it is later that the customer realizes that the bargain made was not what he had planned upon.
Advertisements, an integral part of marketing, can forge a falsifying image in your mind about the purchase, and leave the buyer in sheer disappointment when 'promises' are not fulfilled.
"It's just you"
Sometimes, it's just your mind playing games with you. Prior to landing upon the decision, you might have convinced yourself with all the information. But on second thoughts, you suddenly feel that the purchase you've made just does not suit your style.
Prevention is better than 'rue'
Refrain yourself from all the causes of buyer's remorse and ward off all the fear by sticking to some ground rules before you go out shopping.
Maintain your mental cool
Do not let any external pressure from any source, be it your friends or the salesman, influence what you buy. Instead of asking everyone, ask yourself. If at all you think that you are unable to set aside your emotions while the making the decision, get a second opinion from an expert you would trust.
Beware of the return policy
Consider buying from sources that offer its customers with a valid return policy. This will provide you with the benefit of getting a hands-on experience of your purchase, and then decide whether you want to stick to it.
Deal with it; don't dwell on it
The most important part after going for a pricey purchase is that you need to understand that what's done is done. It is commonplace to develop cold feet after you start getting second thoughts about your purchase.
Instead of getting paranoid, sit back and rethink the pros and cons that you had evaluated prior to the purchase. This will help you realize why you had opted for that purchase in the first place.
Avoid paradox of choice
Once you are done with a deal, don't venture elsewhere, comparing it with the other deals available. This was the exercise you were supposed to perform before cutting the deal. Finding better deals would make you feel worse.
Try to exchange or resell
Work your way around it
One can always work wonders with what is already at hand. Fixes such as upgrading to a newer technology, altering to suit one's requirement, accessorizing to improve the look, and putting together some additional elements for an enhanced experience are always applicable.
Accept and exploit
Always remember that some part of you had always been anticipating happiness from that decision. Realize that and accept what you are now in possession of. And since you already have it, you've simply got to enjoy it.
When in doubt or when you regret after spending, always take a philosophical approach to the situation. Take some quite time alone and convince yourself that it was not that bad a choice after all. Most importantly, there are people who are not blessed enough to have what you now have. Thank god for it, and get over the guilt.