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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jake's Take: Jurassic Park - The Power of Purchasing Decisions

Deriving financial insights from today's blockbusters and yesteryear's classics.

Jake's Take: Jurassic Park
If you read my post yesterday about that classic children's book "The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies," then today's little side-trek down movie lane will make perfect sense.

When it comes to making purchases, especially ones we’re really excited about—e.g. a new car, that power tool we’ve always wanted, that new dress—we can get a little blinded by our “want.” When your brain is running strictly on “purchasing mode” it can be hard to be objective.

A great movie that illustrates this point is the epic dinosaur disaster film Jurassic Park. The movie poses a lot of interesting questions about ethical behavior, thought before action, careful consideration and consequences, but none are presented more potently than early on the film when it’s being explained how the dinosaurs were created.

First, the parks’ visitors are taken on a spectacular tour of the laboratories where they’re told just how the genetic material to produce cloned dinosaurs was found and harvested. After a lot of scientific mumbo-jumbo, one of the visitors, a mathematician named Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum, explains the faulty notions of the entire effort. He says the park’s scientists had become so preoccupied with whether or not they COULD create dinosaurs that they never once stopped to think if they SHOULD create dinosaurs. Malcolm ultimately predicts the destruction of everything they’ve created at the hands of their creations and, sure enough, the dinosaurs get lose and start eating people.

Think how differently your world would be if you spent half as much time thinking about whether or not you SHOULD do something, as opposed to just whether or not you CAN do something. Just because we CAN buy a brand new car, doesn’t mean it’s the best decision for us at the time. Just because we CAN buy that new dress doesn’t mean we can’t buy it cheaper elsewhere. Think of how different our world would look if we applied this thinking to every area of our lives—just because we CAN eat that whole package of cookie dough, doesn't mean we SHOULD; just because our president CAN legalize certain drugs, doesn't mean it's a good idea. Oh, the way things would change.

It pays to step back and think through our purchasing decisions. So the next time you feel that little swell of purchasing power rising within you, go home and sleep on it. Dream about dinosaurs eating people, and maybe you’ll reconsider.

Keep pinchin' :-)

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