It’s that time of year again when all of us college students leave our stress behind and head home for Thanksgiving break. It is one of those breaks we look forward to since the beginning of the semester, each for our own reasons. Many of us look forward to spending some quality time with our relatives while others look forward to finally enjoying a home-cooked meal. Simply being granted the opportunity to spend one’s time however we see fit is a gift in itself for some of us. Some students engage in specific activities during the break while others enjoy not having any plans whatsoever. Each student engages in their own holiday traditions with their loved ones. After interviewing a few students at the University of Texas at Austin, it is evident that every family has their differences and similarities in the way they celebrate during the holidays. The biggest difference between the individuals I interviewed centered around the basis of needs and wants when it came to buying habits during the Thanksgiving break. As we learned in Chapter 5, needs are “desires that arise when a consumer’s current state does not match the consumer’s preferred state” (p.103). For certain individuals, such as David and Israel, the excitement for Black Friday and Cyber Monday was not present. While both students were clearly aware of the ever popular shopping holidays, neither seemed to show any enthusiasm when the final question was asked regarding buying habits. In other words, both students lacked the driving force known as motivation to venture out into the busy, frenzied shopping malls and stores, no matter how great the potential savings could be (p.102). According to David specifically, “the frantic consumerism just isn’t my cup of tea. I just don’t feel the need to buy anything.” This behavior correlates with the process of motivation discussed in book stating how “needs are the root of the motivational process” (p.104). Instead, both individuals cared more about satisfying their need for sleep over any Black Friday deal advertised. An even closer association to the interviewees’ responses and the textbook could be tied to the definition of a need in Chapter 9. According to the text, a need is a “fundamental physical or psychological state of felt deprivation” (p.190). After reading over the previous questions asked during the interview, I could see that David and Israel both seemed most eager to catch up on the sleep they’ve fallen behind on while studying for school. It seems safe to say that both individuals would agree to feeling sleep deprived which would explain their reasoning for valuing sleep over shopping.
My other two interviewees, Lindsey and Lilly, did not seem to share the same thoughts and feelings as the guys. According to Chapter 5, feelings and emotions “focus attention and influence consumer behavior” (p.113). Both girls showed much enthusiasm during the interview whenever the topic of shopping arose. Lindsey expressed her excitement as she described her family’s Black Friday routine saying: “We all make sure we are rested and fully prepared with our shopping lists before we leave the house. All day long on Thanksgiving, our family talks about who’s getting what and where they saw the best deal at. The items on our lists have all more than likely been wanted for a long time so to be able to get them for a really good discounted price is something that is considered a must for us. It’s a long but exciting process that my family and I do every year!” This “exciting process” Lindsey describes is what the textbook refers to as a “ritual” in Chapter 12 (p.266). Her family’s symbolic actions that have been repeated over time have much to do with how she chooses to spend her time and money during the Thanksgiving break compared to that of David or Israel.
With my other female interviewee, Lilly, the excitement of...