Manipulation

This post originally appeared on the Field Notes on Allistics Tumblr.

Granted, nobody is completely immune to manipulation.  Gracie, our “normal” child, is your typical seven-year-old when it comes to clipping advertisements out of the newspaper and pasting them to my bedside lampshade – not because she likes the font or she’s collecting them, but because she actually wants me to read the long list of benefits of the product and thus buy her whatever is advertised.

But my concern for Al Jr and Alia is that they seem to be manipulated, not by cost-benefit analyses, but by tricks.  Every week they want me to buy a new kind of cereal for them, not because they think they’ll like it or have already discovered they do, but because they like the color of the box or the commercials have caught their attention.  Or their friends are eating it, which strikes me as the oddest manipulation of all: what on Earth makes them think they’ll want to eat something just because all their little friends like to eat it?

With this kind of susceptibility to basic advertising, combined with their inability to collect and sort information, my kids are going to be toast when it comes to making adult purchasing decisions.  Just imagine them trying to buy their first car!  They’ll probably buy whatever their friends are driving, instead of making a reasoned decision based on an exhaustive knowledge of vehicle specifications in their price range.  Yikes.

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