Is buying "rational"?

My office is located near two gas stations.

Cumberland Farms is on the same side of the street as my office, and Sunoco is directly across the street. You can see one from the other.

The price at Cumberland Farms is almost always 4-6 cents less per gallon than the price at Sunoco.

If buying were a purely "rational" choice, then no one would ever buy gas at the Sunoco station, because it's more expensive.

Why, especially in a down economy, would people pay more money for a commodity?

Because buying is not always as rational as people believe.

You're probably thinking, "There must be SOME difference between the two."

No, there isn't.

Both stations have a convenience store inside. Both have friendly staffs. Both sell lottery tickets and prepared food.

There is -- essentially -- zero difference between the two stores. Except price.

So if buying was purely logical, Sunoco would be closed because they charge more.

But they aren't closed -- they are as busy as Cumberland Farms any day or time.

This is just one example of the fact that being the higher-priced vendor -- like in selling handcrafted jewelry -- is not a deterrent to buying.

Many people have a preference not based on rational decision making. It's an emotional or "gut" reaction they can't necessarily explain.

Maybe, for example, they are convinced that Sunoco gas is "better" than Cumberland Farms. Or they grew up going to Sunoco stations with mom or dad. Or they like the uniforms the Sunoco employees wear. Regardless of what that emotional reason is, it trumps the price factor.

It's true that there are people who buy only based on the cost of something, but those are typically not good customers for artisan jewelry makers like you.

The right customer for you is the person who pumps their gas at Sunoco even though there's a less expensive alternative 50 yards away.

It's the person who buys based on what they want, not what it costs.

Charge more. You deserve more. And when you find the correct buyers for your work, they'll gladly pay more.

Just like the folks across the street from my office ...

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