This weekend, I learned something about myself as a shopper. I’m quite dumb, it turns out.
It seems I am perfectly okay to pay for an overpriced lip balm when the manufacturers declare, in just one line, that they will contribute Rs.2 (a really nominal amount) to provide surgery for girls born with hare lip. No story, no details about what NGO they are tied up with, nothing. They could be making it up, who knows. It worked on me.
However, I’m not convinced when another snack manufacturer uses the whole back-of-pack to explain how their high-priced snack supports the livelihoods of farmers across the northeast of India. They really waxed eloquent about how the area is economically threatened and scores of farmers and their families are struggling. It was all faceless, though, without anything to make the picture specific and relatable. In the end, I didn’t buy the product, it felt too expensive, which is another way of saying I wasn’t convinced by their story.
What’s the difference? That concrete number, Rs.2. It’s such a tiny amount of money, it’s really hard to believe it will make much of an impact. But, it did give me a real and defined sense that something concrete was going to be done. I could also imagine how all the Rs. 2 contributions could add up to pay for a surgery. Vague claims, however significant, don’t cut ice because of their ambiguous nature. Wit the snack pack, I couldn’t really see how I fit into the picture, how my actions were going to make a difference.
So there you have it. I may have had the chance to have a bigger impact with the snack brand, but I felt more significant and empowered with the Rs.2 contribution. Only because it was specific and showed me a clear path of how much of my purchase money was going to be used for a cause.
Silly, but true.