15th August 2010: But Will It Make You Happy?

For the past year I’ve worked with academics at Melbourne’s Victoria University (VU) who have consumer behaviour, leisure, marketing and positive psychology expertise. Their succinct message: anticipation, emotional affect, leisure experiences, mindfulness, strong social relationships and simple living can strengthen your psychological feelings of happiness.

New York Times journalist Stephanie Rosenbloom has an overview of current research and the proven strategies for stopping hoarding and getting off the hedonic treadmill of “keeping up with the Joneses.”

I’ve reflected on this during several visits to markets and stores in Melbourne, Australia. A week ago I saw counterfeit DVDs of Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Thailand films in Footscray retailers and a community market: glimpses of a cultural realist world that coexists with the neoclassical Western world around it. For a minute, I reflected on my first ‘encounters’ with Hong Kong and Chinese cinema and content imagery, over a decade earlier. A few days later, I noticed the Borders Australia store in Carlton had undergone a significant in-store redesign: the floor plan was now rearranged, new sections were added, and shop fittings were upgraded to give consumers an immersive experience. Have they addressed the in-store stock damage?

My VU colleagues may be onto something with this positive psychology stuff. Alternatively, consumer expert Paco Underhill may cite them in a new book and use their research to refine the service offerings of his consulting firm Envirosell.