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The Allure of Allure

Products call out to us. I’m talking about items that we absolutely love, but know that we don’t need. What’s your vice? We all have one. And sadly these things we could buy for a reasonable price, but we instead feel compelled to buy because of a brand name or something about it that draws us in.

Has anybody noticed lately that Coke product two liters are now curvy and contoured? They are a lot more interesting than regular two-liter bottles. The original contour glass bottle was created in 1916 to help Coke stand out from the pack, and in 2009, it is working yet again. The first time I saw the new bottle, I immediately wanted one in my refrigerator. Why, I really don’t know. Coke marketers know what the heck they’re doing.

Let’s talk about purses. Honestly, what is a purse intended to do? Carry items. Sure, many people want pretty and stylish purses because they are basically accessories with a higher calling then say, a satchel or a plastic bag, which have the same exact purpose. However, people spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on Coach, Louis Vuitton, Dooney and Burke and other high-end purses. Are they really any prettier and well-made than other purses? Do these purses have magical powers or special abilities that purses that cost around $20 don’t have? But there is a certain status that people feel when they’re carrying around a $500 piece of fabric. Funnily, these pieces of fabric could easily be ruined, stolen or out-bagged by a hotter, trendier, more expensive bag. Hmmm…

One of my shopping addictions is hand soap and fragrant Wallflowers plug-ins from Bath and Body Works. For some reason, I feel like my house is prettier and better smelling if everything comes from Bath and Body Works. However, unless on super sale, hand soap costs $5 and Wallflowers refills cost $12! Why isn’t other hand soap and home fragrance that costs a lot less just as good in my eyes? Because I am mesmerized by the allure of owning Bath and Body Works allure. I also like the cute bag these items come in and I like thinking, my house is awesome thanks to Bath and Body Works and my friends will think I’m cool. Oh, that makes me feel gross just saying that!

I recently splurged on a $25 Twilight movie themed umbrella. I guess while I was in Borders admiring and then purchasing this piece of junk, I forgot that umbrellas cost about $5 at most other stores. Oopsie. At that moment, I really wanted my head to be covered by a pretty vampire and his muse during rainstorms, and hoped people would think: “That’s a girl with a really clever Twilight umbrella – God bless her.” I now kind of wish I had that extra $20 in my bank account AND the $5 umbrella. When it’s raining, who on Earth cares what other umbrellas people are carrying?

The allure that pulls us in and makes us spend, spend, spend even goes as far as alcohol. Who wouldn’t want to drink Patron instead of generic tequila? That’s not sexy! We want to say, “I’m drinking super expensive Patron suckers!” How about just pouring some water in a shot glass and pretending to get really drunk? I don’t know, think about it. There would be a lot more money in your pocket in the morning and a lot less of a hangover headache.

Let’s face it, certain material objects make us feel really special. But to who? Ourselves? Aren’t we special enough just being us?

I remember when I was in middle school, I had to have a Swatch watch and Reebok sneakers and Guess jeans. I didn’t feel awesome or cool if I didn’t have these things. I was pretty sure people would like me better back then if I had expensive things. Guess what? They didn’t. I was kind of nerdy and people were mean to me no matter what I had and wore. I should’ve just saved my parents a whole lot of money and worn clothes from Wal-Mart. Back then though, I would not be caught dead in Wal-Mart in fear that somebody would see me.

Today, I think stores such as Wal-Mart and Target are possibly the coolest places ever. I welcome running into people – because it means we’re both smart and like to save money! I can find pretty much anything my heart desires – clothes, shoes, purses, hand soap, home fragrance and wow, even a watch that is a lot better quality than the $75 Swatch I used to sport.

I guess it just comes down to having enough confidence to realize that we are not what we own. I can certainly agree that you do get what you pay for and there are some items (such as electronics) that you shouldn’t skimp on. If you buy the cheapest TV, it will probably act like the cheapest TV and won’t last very long.

However, if you know what you’re doing, finding shortcuts and forgetting about brand names can take you on an exciting, money-saving journey. I get so many compliments about this amazing pair of sunglasses that I just got. Guess what, they were $5. I’ll probably break them in a few days because I have awful sunglasses karma. I’ll be a lot happier to be out $5, than say $50 or $150 for a piece of plastic that I am indefinitely going to sit on, step on, lose, drop, run over or burn up (don’t even ask me about the demise of those sunglasses).

In times like these, it is good to remember that we are a lot better than brand names. YOU are cool and awesome no matter where you buy your stuff and what silly name is stamped on it. Allure is just something that pulls us in, and we don’t know why, but for some reason, it makes us think we’re alluring too. I promise that there are many wonderful things about you that pull people in a lot more effectively than a $50 pair of sunglasses or a $500 bag.

><(("> Mandy Stark

Mandy is a ><(("> Friend of Catch Your Limit, a marketing firm with offices in Tallahassee, Florida and Richmond, Virginia. To contact Mandy email her at or to learn more about Catch Your Limit, visit

Posted in Miscellaneous.


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