If you think you make rational decisions while shopping, think again. It’s an illusion that may can cost you a lot. Who believes commercials that say: “This washing powder is used by 90% of women in Poland” or, “Buy today, pay tomorrow”? However, survey results show that we are extremely susceptible to these kinds of adverts. During practically every visit to the shopping mall we lose control of our wallets for a few moments. Discovering the sophisticated methods of marketing will not make us entirely resistant but we will be able to understand some of the tricks that are used. It is also important to have a balanced view: not every salesclerk has their customer’s best interest at heart, just as not every salesperson is out to trick us. A visit to the funeral home is similar to going shopping and can lead to both shame and embarrassment, as noted by Slavic sociologist Renata Salecl in her book “The Tyranny of Choice”. In Poland the prices of coffins made of pine or alder begin at PLN 500. However, the advisor will suggest the most expensive one, made from oak, at a price of PLN 2,000. The catalogue also includes different flower arrangements, musicians to play at the ceremony, the size of the obituary in the newspaper, to name some of the choices. You can choose the cheapest option, but then you will see reproach in the clerk’s eyes: if you truly loved the deceased shouldn’t you organise a better funeral? The best defence is to use the same method your funeral adviser uses: be consistent,” advises assertiveness coach Bartłomiej Stolarczyk, “You can say something like this: the deceased valued simplicity and modesty, so they would not approve of splendour and extravagance. I must respect their sense of aesthetics and ideals because I loved them.”

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