When Being Wasteful is Better than Feeling Wasteful

Authors: 
Ro'i Zultan
Maya Bar-Hillel
Nitsan Guy
Abstract: 

"Waste not want not" expresses our culture's aversion to waste. "I could have gotten the same thing for less" is a sentiment that can diminish pleasure in a transaction. We study people's willingness to "pay" to avoid this spoiler. In one scenario, participants imagined they were looking for a rental apartment, and had bought a subscription to an apartment listing. If a cheaper subscription had been declined, respondents preferred not to discover post hoc that it would have sufficed. Specifically, they preferred ending their quest for the ideal apartment after seeing more, rather than fewer, apartments. Other scenarios produced similar results. We conclude that people may sometimes prefer to be wasteful in order to avoid feeling wasteful.

Date: 
May, 2010
Published in: 
Judgment and Decision Making, 5( 7), 489-496
Number: 
550