There was a fair amount of creativity going on last night in our lounge – I like to think that it was because I turned the screens off early, but I can’t take all the credit. My daughter tried her hand at Lego, and the two boys built an entire skate park for their “tech decks” – tiny finger-sized skateboards.

Suddenly the boys were back on the tablet and urgently had to show me an auction for 25 fingerboards and a fancy case – closing soon and just $75!

And we had been doing so well.

What was particularly interesting was that on that sized screen, the toys were almost exactly life-size. It was as if those boys were already holding those tiny boards in their hands.

One study shows how when we shop on a touchscreen, we’re much more likely to feel like whatever we find already belongs to us – it’s much more tangible in our minds. This is called the “endowment” effect: we feel like it’s already ours. And we end up valuing a product way more than if we were viewing it on a desktop, for instance.

I must say, shopping on tablets and touchscreens is brilliant – convenient, easy, fun. But it’s good to know how your brain works so you can make sure you’re sticking to the goals you’ve set and not following someone else’s plans for your hard-earned cash.

I quickly reminded my two troublemakers of their goals to save for scooters and electric guitars. Stick to the plan, fellas!

Of course, touchscreens still come nowhere close to the bricks-and-mortar retail experience, which is totally immersive. When you try on that flattering dress or test drive that car, your brain easily lets you feel how good it would be if that were already yours.

Just Saturday we were in the best guitar room in the city, checking out dozens of cool, retro-styled electrics. My 9-year-old budding guitar hero can only just play Smoke on the water, but he already knew which six-string was his!


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