Archived Story

Advertisements make me suffer wantitis

Published 10:37am Monday, January 21, 2013

Column: Something about Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

I have wantitis. Wantitis differs fron needitis. I blame my daily newspaper for me having wantitis. I fear wantistis is contagious because I know many people who also have wantiitis.

Julie Seedorf

My daily newspaper comes with brightly colored ads. Before I pick up my newspaper I am usually content with what I have. I can’t think of too much that I need and then … and then … and then … I pick up the first ad.

It might be the Shopko ad, or the Kohl’s ad or the Home Depot ad or the Target ad and the list of ads in my paper continues on.

I was perfectly content with my silver toaster, but have you seen all the pretty colors that toasters and blenders and mixers now display? Looking at the ads makes me think that it might be time to add a little color to my kitchen for the spring. I wasn’t wanting new kitchen appliances until I saw the colors, and then I was hooked. The bargain is so good.

How can I pass up the chance at getting all those appliances at 70 percent off? It always tells me at the end of my sales receipt when I buy something on sale how much I have saved. At times these sales receipts have told me I have saved hundreds of dollars and all I had to spend to save those hundreds of dollars was perhaps $200.

I want some clothes. Those sweaters in one of my ads are so cute. At 70 percent off I could stock up for next year. I could tuck them away in my closet and bring my new clothes out next winter. I know there must be room in one of my closets for some new clothes. If not, I could store the new clothes in the basement until one of my closets gets emptier. After all they were on sale. At one store all I had to do was spend $150 and I got a $50 coupon for another time.

I want all the new gadgets displayed in my ads. I have always wanted a smoothie maker. But then I really want a juicer, too, and they are both on sale. It is a new year and I love the cute new yoga mats. I want the cute pink one. It is half off. I should write that down so I don’t forget the store. I want a new treadmill, too. They are on sale, and the one looks cute and fun. I have never seen a pink treadmill before. I know that is probably why I got rid of my old one since it was such a boring color.

Yes, I have wantitis when I look at ads. Wantitis makes me want something that I don’t need. Do I confuse need with want? I do. I do that many times unless I take a step back and examine whether my purchase is an emotional one based on the excitement of the find of a good deal.

A good deal isn’t really a good deal unless it is something you actually need and had been planning to purchase. Ads speak to my emotions and convince me I need things that I don’t.

I love getting all those coupons in the mail for $10 off here and there in stores I frequent. These coupons state that the coupons can be used on an item for $10 or more. The problem is that most of us always find the more and the $10 gets spent on an item that is pricier.

That happens with grocery coupons, too. Those coupons talk me into trying new products that I normally wouldn’t buy. At that point I end up spending more on groceries than I normally would.

I have also heard that many department stores have scent machines, and depending on the scent it is leaking, it also gives us wantitis while we are in the store. Because of smell we buy more than we normally would.

Apparently casinos also use these machines so we gamble more. This is just what I have read here and there. I don’t know if it is true. If it is, then we should maybe go shopping when our noses are plugged from a cold. Perhaps if our noses were plugged, we would stick to our needs list instead of our wants list. If we don’t have a cold, maybe we should use clothespins on our nose when we visit a store to shop.

Are you afflicted? Do you have wantitis or needitis? If your daily newspaper is fueling your wantitis, perhaps you should have someone remove the ads from the paper before it reaches you. Make sure you put a warning on the paper first, before your ad remover person removes the ads. Warn them that your ads are infected with wantitis, and it is contagious. That way your conscience can be clear if your wantitis infects another person.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at