Perceived Value, Gratification, and Emotions

I spend a lot of time figuring out how to sell things.  Like I’ve said before, going into business for yourself isn’t always easy and it takes a very diverse skill set to learn how to succeed doing your craft.  By default, I need to study the psychology of sales in one way or another.

Maybe it’s where I live, or the people I associate with, or any number of other factors, but it seems that there is frequently a great deal of confusion when it comes to realizing the value of things.  I see it in myself and in other people too.

An Example:

I’ll walk around the market on any given Saturday and look at all kind of goods, all of it handcrafted, and most of it of very good quality.  I see a mug that I absolutely love for $42.  I’ve bought her work before and every time I look at it in my home, I feel good.  But I can’t justify that purchase at the moment.  However, later that day I take my family out for one dinner and the bill is about $45.  It was a good meal, but the benefits of it only lasted a few hours.  The mug would have lasted as long as I had chosen to take care of it.

The same thing with tools.  That $125 bowl gouge that my son could pass on to his son after I have used it for the rest of my career seems much less expensive when I consider that $125 is only a few good meals.

So ,what is value? And, how can we help create a world where more people feel that there’s value in making purchases that support local infrastructure, artisans, and craftsmen?

I don’t know, but I do think that it has a lot to do with the human desire for instant gratification.  I would bet anything that if that $42 mug came filled with a “free” cup of coffee, that she’d sell a whole lot more of them.

Not to assume that this is how all people think or act.  On the contrary, I am well supported by people who feel that there’s value in something that was made by hand, using only traditional tools.  Kind of a, “I’m glad that someone is doing this still” mentality.  That is often how value is assigned to my work.

I think that it really comes down to emotions.  “How does this work make the person feel?”  The gratification of going for that very temporary meal somehow has managed to surpass the value of a lifetime of visual and functional enjoyment, why?

Because I love to feel taken care of.

I love when someone comes to me, takes my order and delivers.  It satisfies some need in me that I value more than lasting tangible objects, sometimes.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, its just food for thought.  I will continue to eat out, support the service industry in my town and love a good meal prepared by experts.

I just find it interesting that I value that experience so much differently than goods, especially when I spend my life producing fine craft goods.




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