The world we live in has a focus on getting everything we want as soon as we want it. With fast food, shopping online, pay day loans, self-service tills, drive thrus and even the odd robot to contend with who needs to cook, go to a shopping centre, wait for pay day or even wait in line at the supermarket (unless you’re waiting for it to arrive at your doorstep).
In college I studied Sociology and one aspect of this was about gratification, which is the theme of today’s blog. We talked about immediate and deferred gratification and I’m sad to say that since I studied Sociology the world seems to have become more obsessed with the immediate gratification I learnt about. Very few people seem to want to wait for anything, or so it would seem.
I always consider myself to be in the deferred gratification category because I can wait for things. But the more I think about it, the more I realise that I too am like many of the others out there who struggle to wait for anything. The only difference is, I’m not in the worst category of being unable to wait for everything.
I’m very good at putting things off; studying, working and writing. I spend my days procrastinating about the things I don’t really want to do. I may enjoy doing them, like writing and learning, but I’m also very happy to put them to one side.
I’m also very good at forcing myself to wait for little things; reading letters or emails after completing a task instead of when I receive them, waiting another hour for lunch or that chocolate biscuit.
Then there are the things I seem to have waited forever for; finding love, learning to drive, that Playmobil mansion I’ve wanted since I was five years old.
There are still some things that I cannot seem to wait for. Over the last couple of years I’ve made a number of spur of the moment purchases. The first was my iPod touch which I spent around an hour deliberating over in the shop, asking opinions on Twitter and generally trying to decide if I wanted to leave without one and come back another day. I decided not to wait. I did the same thing with a netbook, which I decided to purchase one Saturday morning because my sister was home collecting some of her things and due to the months previous I really didn’t want to be at home. So after some discussion on Twitter, I bought myself a netbook and set it up in a bar where I was to spend most of the day. Then I bought a DSLR camera. I’d semi-wanted one for some time, so in a sense I waited and I waited and I waited to finally decide to purchase one. Except that when it came down to it, I’d made the decision and bought it before I’d even left the town centre.
The same decision was made just the other week when I decided to buy a new mobile phone. I sat at the computer for a couple of nights trying to decide what phone I would get if I did, what my price range would be and whether I really needed one (the answer quite frankly is no, but it was a choice between new phone and diminished Twitter usage outside the house – again, I want to have constant access to Twitter, I can’t make myself wait for it) and then I went out and bought it. It took me such a short time to buy the phone that I got the same bus back to my house as I got into town.
I guess you could say I’m an impulse buyer; does that make me one of those people who have to have what they want now? In many ways I think yes, but at the same time, if I had to wait for it (for example, if I was to receive the phone, camera or netbook for my birthday or Christmas) then I think I could handle the delay.
I still want that Playmobil mansion though…