Battle of the Books: Scroogenomics vs. Shoptimism

The holiday shopping season is already upon us, and just in time for the rush are two books centered on consumerism. With our purse strings at stake, we pit the reads against each other.

Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays by Joel Waldfogel BOOK Shoptimism: Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What by Lee Eisenberg
Buying presents sucks (duh). But it's also economically inefficient: People part with $66 billion each year, but the value derived from those reindeer sweaters and crappy candles is a mere fraction of that. IN A NUTSHELL Aided in part by technology, the sell side is only getting more manipulative, from brain scans measuring brand preference to mining zip-code-based psychographic data.
Dollars spent on gifts you're given produce 18% less satisfaction per dollar than dollars you spend on yourself. STAGGERING STAT Seventy percent of the items shoppers purchase are things they had no intention of buying when they entered the store.
AND THE WINNER IS
Scroogenomics. Where Eisenberg's book is glib and meandering, Waldfogel's crackles with insight and intriguing stats. We're sold.

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3 Comments

  • Victoria Ronco

    Glad to see this book out there. While changing people’s behaviour around holiday spending is difficult, it’s a step in the right direction to see metric data backing up the cost of wasteful spending. Our company was created as an alternative to wasteful spending, and it’s great to see that this is now moving into the spotlight.

    As a solution to the problem of wasteful spending, DreamBank (www.dreambank.org) offers people the opportunity to post their “dream gift” (be it a special holiday, a piece of technology, etc.) on the website, allowing friends and family to contribute as much (or as little) as they can afford. This cuts down on wasteful spending as you only receive what you really want. As a bonus to the clear benefit of cutting down on wasteful consumer spending, DreamBank donates a portion of its revenue to charities, as voted by the dreamers.

    We’re very passionate about meaningful consumer spending and are thrilled that Scroogonomics has highlighted what we’ve already seen as a trend in wasteful expenditure. We hope more people will look for alternative ways of gift giving this year and spare us all the ugly sweaters.

  • Aly-Khan Satchu

    I was in North America over the Summer and the quality of Customer Service is a plain Joy to behold and experience and practically every Country I have visited could learn something. I shopped in the apple Shop in Chicago and they had an experential edge and Buzz. However, I also spent time and I noted so many things were Made in China and colour coded for the season. And I remembered President Bush saying that the Americans should go SHOP to show the Terrorists that they would not change their Way of Life. and i cannot help wondering if everyone has been brainwashed to buy complete Tat because we have been taught that we shop and only therefore We are.

    I have to believe that We should be cheering Scroogeconomics because it is exactly this Buying frenzy that got us here in the very first place.

    Aly-Khan Satchu
    www.rich.co.ke
    Twitter alykhansatchu

  • Shelton Mathew

    Most of the people can now understand the difference between Scroogenomics and Shoptimism.