I love to study how people make decisions about the things they buy and sell. It’s always fascinated me. Sometimes I go shopping not to buy, but to learn. I like to observe how people make purchasing (and selling) decisions.

I guess that’s why my two favorite shows on TV are Pawn Stars and the ever entertaining Shark Tank. I’ve seen every episode of both and always look forward to the new ones.

One thing I find interesting about Pawn Stars is how people justify selling their goods for less than they originally expected.

After the pawn shop gives the seller their final buy offer, the seller – almost like clockwork – stares at something for a second, then comes up with a story like… “Well, my wife would kill me if I brought this home without selling it, so…” or “Well, I’m really running low on space in the garage, so…” or “Well, I’ve had this at the top of my closet for 20 years, so…”

The pawn shop makes an offer, but the seller is the one who talks themselves into taking a low number. They justify the low price with the personal consequences of a non-sale. I guess it’s not all that different from justifying a buy, but there’s something fascinating about how people often need to give themselves a comforting non-monetary reason to give up something for less than they think it’s worth. Sometimes it’s “I need the money,” but more often than not it’s about this condition they’ll find themselves in if they don’t sell it.

I don’t have much else to say about it other than I find it interesting that so many different people from so many different walks of life with so many different items for sale almost always fall into the same pattern of thinking. That itself is worth thinking about.