Impulse buying and its justification


 Today I will go and pick up my new boat.This all started a few weeks ago during a gambling trip to the Margaritaville Casino. Right next-door to the casino is a Bass Pro shop. Inside the Bass Pro shop is a Tracker boat display. During one of the breaks of gambling my wife and I decided to go to a restaurant outside of the casino. This meant that we had to walk right by the Bass Pro shop. Well that is a hard thing for me to do, to walk by Bass Pro shop rather than through it. So while walking to the Bass Pro shop I noticed a Tracker boat display inside and outside the store. I asked my wife to walk over to look at the boats with me. As we looked at the boats and the prices for the boats we realized that if we wanted to finance a boat we could afford the payments of the purchase of a boat in our budget. Well that was the reasoning used while looking at the boats. On that day we just continued on and went to the restaurant with no further action at the boat shop.

After that visit I could not fight the impulse to buy a new Tracker boat. At first I looked at the cheapest boat and then quickly graduated up the scale to a more expensive boat. The thought of buying a new boat consumed my thoughts for the next week. I would go on the Tracker boat website and look at each of the boats they presented and the prices that went with them. On each occasion of looking at the boats I struggled with the thought of having to go into debt with the loan to buy a boat. I have in the past told people not to buy two things that are brand-new. The first was a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the second was a boat.

After moving out to East Texas I went onto the Internet in search of a used boat. I found one that was about 20 years old. When I looked at the boat, the previous owner started up the engine and told me that the boat was in great condition. It didn’t take long after I bought the boat that I noticed there was a leak in the bottom of the boat and that two of the four cylinders were not firing when I was trying to run the engine. I spent many hours working on the old boat and eventually got the engine to fire on all four cylinders. I could not relax enough with the boat to put it into the water because of my fear that the boat would break down. I’ve had a prior experience of a boat breaking down and my efforts to use a small wooden paddle to get me to shore. The more I worked on the old boat the more my concerns grew about ever using it. One thing was for sure my wife told me she would never get on a boat because she could not trust it.

I mention all the above because I use it as justification for the purchase of the new boat. I have lived on several large lakes and owned several boats in my life. It seemed like each time I bought a boat and it was a used boat , it always caused me concern when using it. It must’ve been 20 years ago when I was first introduced to Tracker boats. They are small aluminum boats that are sold in the form of a package deal that gives you a boat, a motor and trailer for one price. I also looked at some other Bass boats, like a Skeeter and a Ranger bass boat. 20 years ago I could buy one for about $17-$18,000. The boat came with a 115 to 150 hp engine and they were made of fiberglass. They look good and even sitting still they look like they were go fast. In today’s market a cheap fiberglass bass boat is over $20,000 and more like $40-$50,000 and up. Now that I am retired there is no possibility that I can afford to purchase a fiberglass bass boat for that kind of money. And so more justification, I could afford one of these Tracker Bass boats if I financed it for a long time. The interesting part about the purchase of a boat is in financing one. It can be financed up to 10 to 15 years. You cannot do that with a car or a truck.

Back to the impulse buy, now almost every day I’m on the Internet looking at the Tracker Bass boat website thinking how nice it would be to not worry about the condition of a boat and just go fishing. I also thought that my wife would go with me if it was a new boat and she did not have to worry about breaking down. I am fortunate to be supported by my wife. She recently said, “I don’t like it when you pout around the house”. So she was very supportive in the ideal of my buying a boat. She was also the realistic one that reminded me of how much we could spend on.

So my daydreaming on the website kicked into action and I decided to go to a local Tracker Bass boat shop. The day that I went to the shop was the Saturday of the Labor Day weekend. Even though the shop is usually open on Saturdays this is the one Saturday of the year that they were not open. So I felt a little stupid that I didn’t call before I left, it is about an hour’s drive to the shop. I just stood outside the fence of the boatyard looking to see if I could find a boat that I really liked. When I got back home and told my wife that the shop was closed I told her that maybe this is a sign that I should not buy the boat. That thought lasted about a day and then there I was again looking at the website and dreaming of the boat.

I called the Bass Pro shop next to the casino where I had seen the boats at and asked one of the salesmen which one of the boats were still on sale. The sale that I am talking about was on the 2014 models of some of the bass boats where they had reduced the price of the boat since the 2015 models are coming in. I checked to see what the difference was between the 2014 in 2015 models only to find that they were identical in all aspects but the price had gone up about $400. After talking to the salesmen he had recommended that I go online with the company who finances their boats and get approved for the purchase of one of the boats. I went online filled out the application and within minutes a person called me back and so we started the loan application. I had mentioned to the person on the phone that I probably would not buy the most expensive boat yet they suggested that I get the financial approval for them more expensive boat and then choose a less expensive one. It did not take long for me to be approved for the larger amount of a loan to buy the bigger boat. But I was still going to look at all the possibilities that would cost less money.

During the next few days I kept busy on my different projects including trying to get the old boat presentable for sale. It was during those days that I started feeling like a kid before Christmas. It seemed like all I could think about was that boat.

Back to the justification, I’m not getting any younger and I want to enjoy the remaining days of my life out and about. Even though I have enough money in my retirement fund to buy the boat out right I fear that I will need that money for unforeseen circumstances that will require cash. And so even though the interest rate is very high and if I go the entire length of the loan will probably pay double the cost of the boat, I’ve decided this is the way to go. I justified buying a new boat because the warranty covers it for three years and when purchasing extended warranty seven years. In my mind I would be more secure and safe in a new boat rather than taking my chances with the old boat. My past memories of the engine going out on the old boats that I was on and the wild adventures that took place worked nicely into the justification.

The impulse: I waited until the local Tracker boat shop was open and in the morning hours I drove to the shop to look at the boats. This time I was met by the general manager (and one of only two salesmen) who took me out to the boatyard and showed me all the different models and then gave me an “out the door” price list for four of them. His words to me as I was leaving his shop was, “let me know when you want to pull the trigger on one of these boats and I will get it done”. I thought about that statement and envision my pulling the trigger and shooting myself in my foot. I have never liked taking out a loan to buy anything. I also felt a little guilty that this purchase was more for me than my wife. But she reminded me that it was worth it if would make me happy.

I presented this story with the two sides of a purchase. First there is the impulse, an almost uncontrollable desire to have something and to have it now. Whether it is a boat, a motorcycle, a car or new house, I have always had to fight that impulse of wanting to buy something and wanting it now. As I’ve gotten older I have found better ways to justify the purchase to myself and my wife. I have used terms like: I am not getting any younger, it’ll make it safer, it is better to buy it now rather than wait for the price to go up and it will make me happy.

I have finished the loan application and the purchase is been approved. I imagine the next day or so I will go to the boat shop and pick up my new boat. I am sure that in a later blog I will let you know how I feel about the purchase. I will see if I really do feel happy or I end up in buyer’s remorse.


2 thoughts on “Impulse buying and its justification”

  1. Hi Pop:

    I hope that when you read this you will already have bought the boat. I think it would represent several good investments. First, unlike a trip or getting a consumable, it will have monetary value if you later choose to sell it. More importantly it will have the definite value of quality of life. Further, if you buy it now, it has immediate value in taking you to a favorite spot to fish, serve to make you happy, reduce your blood pressure, and take wife, friends or family for an adventure. Finally, neither of us is getting younger, and now is the time to do stuff that later may become difficult or impossible


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