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The Price of Immediate Gratification

We live in a now world. We’re not taught to delay satisfaction of our wants and desires, but why is it so important to own something new at the first moment possible?


If you look at marketing, there are curves of acceptance. Early Adopters is the term for people who pick up something early on. They help to pave the way for the masses that will follow. When you combine that curve with the concept of economies of scale, you realize that as more people buy the product, the price invariably becomes cheaper. Prices will also drop once initial demand is supplied.

A great example of this is with DVDs. When a new DVD goes on sale, the cost is usually much higher than it will be a month later. Yet, people still go to buy DVDs when they are first released. Why?

Delaying gratification isn’t as hard of a concept as it seems. Yes, you deny yourself something you want for a time, but that’s getting easier as time goes on anyway. It used to be that you would need to stay up late to watch TV shows, or miss out on something else. Then VCRs came along. Now we have PVRs and DVD recorders which are even more efficient. Instead of losing sleep, these appliances help you take something you want and move it to a time where it benefits you more. When you look at the bigger picture, isn’t that similar to waiting a month to get half off the price of your DVD?

While being an early adopter can be fun, it’s an expensive place to be in. You will pay more for goods and services that generally aren’t as good, as the bugs get worked out by the first users.

Delayed gratification means you experience all of the same things, but by doing so later, you save yourself time. So, while immediate gratification can be a good feeling, is it worth the cost to you?