The Four Things We All Do Standing in Line at Sephora

I’m new to makeup, well not really, but I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of “style newbie”. That’s one of the things I really want to fix this year, part of my resolutions. But I’m also training my brain to think like an economist, so here’s what I’m thinking when I wander around at Sephora and applying the first the first four principles of economic decision making.

You know when you’re standing in line at Sephora and they have all the product around you that looks like samples, but it’s still $20 per item? It gets me every time. I know that what I really want is just to grab one of everything. Then I think, “Well, I can switch out at least one of the items I got.” At the same time though, I find myself remembering my plan when I came into Sephora. You see, I’m still trying to figure out what products interact well with my face, so if I switched out even one of my items, it would be a greater loss to me than the gain from one of the oh so very tempting products that are calling out to me right before the register. I do usually “splurge” on a face mask (college student budget), because at $7, I can convince myself to stretch my budget a little bit. Also, I have a Sephora Beauty Insider rewards card so it provides a little bit of an incentive to spend a few extra dollars in order to get more points.

It may not seem like it, but in that scenario, you, me, and everyone else is applying very basic principles of economics. I was thinking about the trade off if I got a different product instead of what I came in for and that caused me to think about the opportunity cost that that would incur. But I’m a rational person and I think at the margin, so instead of entirely giving up or giving in, I made a decision at the margin and increased my total bill only incrementally. Finally, there was an incentive to make that marginal decision because if I spend more money then I get rewarded.

The point of this is that, even when doing something as simple as buying makeup everyone is applying basic economic principles. These principles will help us be better participants in our local, national, and global economy.

I will be trying very new things that surround style in the future (in the middle of one now) and applying it to economics, so I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope to see you again soon.

*This is not a sponsored post. I just like Sephora

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