Ever bought an item of nice clothing or a fancy notebook and found it lying pristine and unused forever? The item has become (or always was) "special" and its specialness reinforces itself every time you look at it and don't wear/use/consume it. Jacqueline Rifkin:
Why do people fall into this mental trap? Prior research points to two main reasons.First, when options are presented one at a time, rather than all at once — much like the choice about whether to crack open a bottle of wine on this particular evening — it can be difficult to know when to make a decision. So people often end up "holding out" for an idealized future occasion. Second, regardless of the actual reasons behind their feelings and actions, people often come up with their own explanations after the fact. For example, maybe you felt nervous on a date because you were worried about something unrelated, like work. But you might later believe that your nervousness came from really liking your date — psychologists call this phenomenon "misattribution of arousal." Putting these together is a recipe for what we term "specialness spirals."
A paradoxical form of consumerism that discourages consumption. I feel like economists and cognitive psychologists must already have words for this and are surely raising their hands and jumping in their seats!
Pro tip: as soon as you buy something that has that special aura about it, sully it. Sign the first page of that moleskine journal. Tear the label from the shirt. Break the gourmet food/drink's seal. If you find yourself unable to do these things from the get-go, you didn't buy the item, you bought the aura.