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  1. #1
    mtgprox05's Avatar
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    Default Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I've been learning about certain historical theorists (economical, political, philosophical) in school recently, and the idea that the essential human plight is this struggle between pain and pleasure, got me thinking about blind buying on these boards. Please note, I am in no way trying to diagnose anything nor am I maliciously criticizing anyone's decisions regarding their money and happiness, I've made my position on blind-buying very clear on the boards, and it's just my opinion. But, when you think about it, on the most basic possible level, in this situation, presumably, the pain could be one of several things: getting something you don't care for, missing out on the opportunity to get something you already like, wasting money on something you either A) don't like and can't sell or B) can sell, but for a loss, etc. And the pleasure is: the thrill of the gamble, finding something that you unexpectadly liked, getting a bargain, etc.

    I'm not implying that this is a simple matter, in fact it's quite complex. Everyone who practices blind buying must make a decision weighing in on all of these factors previous to a purchase. However, I fail to believe that everyone on these boards can afford, to spend their money so frivolously. Many on BN have stated how poor of a sampling rate they have, point is you're just not going to like the majority of what you try. And even though many on BN excel in their ability to articulate what a fragrance smells like, it STILL proves to work the MINORITY of the time when sampling, I don't see how one can form the opinion that they would have any more success blind buying full bottles as opposed to little samples. I guess the way I see it, is that every time you blind buy, the potential for pain, far outweighs the potential for pleasure. Which going back to the original theory, to dismiss this basic idea, seems to defy logic.

    Again, I don't mean to belittle or harshly criticize anyone's personal decision on how to spend their own hard-earned income, but it's startling to see sales boards filled with lines such as "purchased a week ago for $150, 3 sprays, selling for $120". $30 for a sample!? I think not. Perhaps this is the talk of a financially-strapped college student, and most of you guys aren't in as relatively dire straits as I am, but I'd venture a guess that that's not entirely true.
    Last edited by mtgprox05; 7th February 2010 at 02:08 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    As far as I see it, a hobby can mask an obsession. Now, the definition of obsession is elusive: some patterns may apply to you but no too me based in personal criteria. In my opinion, there are some points that let you know if your are being obsessed: spending money that could be better spent on other stuff and comming to a situation you loose control over your collection. Yes, that is me... Hope this helps as a reference.
    Last edited by Pollux; 7th February 2010 at 02:34 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    No, it's not rational. Which is not to imply in any way that I haven't done it. I think it's just another form of seeking outside ourselve to change the way we feel - retail therapy, I think it's fondly called. I am also in school, soon to be done. I found that not having the means to pull the trigger on impulse buys has been pretty therapeutic, really. It always bothered me when I bought bottles unsniffed, but when I couldn't do it anymore I got down to the unpleasantness of really exploring how I am feeling when I do it. For me, it was bored and sometimes even lonely. While I hated looking at that, I then took steps to remedy it. Much better now and my credit card balances thank me

    I suppose it's not like this for everyone, but I tend to think that we humans are all sort of the same at the core. I've read people on another forum quite heatedly claim that there is nothing neurotic about collecting way more bottles than one could even manage to rotate and actually wear throughout the course of a year - certainly never finish - but I respectfully disagree. Bearing in mind that I like neurotic people. I find them interesting. I am one
    Last edited by sharilstuff; 7th February 2010 at 02:30 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    First order of business: define "blind." To me it means "you haven't actually sniffed it." Some responses I've seen in threads on this topic suggest that going into a purchase after having done some research -- checking out online reviews, for example -- isn't technically "blind."

    I prefer the first definition - haven't actually sniffed it before buying.

    Now, if that's the case, I suppose one of the reasons many buy blind is that they simply don't want to deal with the hassle of obtaining samples first, and/or maybe they don't live in an area where retailers carry a big selection.

    At least, that's my excuse.

    Fortunately, online information helps me make informed purchase decisions. I can't think of a single instance in which I received a fragrance without smelling it first that left me truly disappointed. I always have a good idea of what I'm getting into.

    Sampling: I'm always a little concerned that decants will be corrupted in the decant process. I can only imagine that many are, given the highly volatile nature of the substances we're dealing with here. So, I just spring for a bottle, hopefully a fairly inexpensive one. That way I think I'm giving the fragrance more of a fair test.

    Plus, it's an addition to the collection. I get to enjoy the bottle collecting aspect along with it.

    Yes, it helps if you have a reasonable budget for this hobby.
    Last edited by mrcologneguy; 7th February 2010 at 02:37 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    It's symptomatic of a larger issue. The vast majority of people either get by with one bottle, or none at all. While the hobby itself can become an obsession, the addictive part of blind-buying is really based on anticipation. There's also a sense of self-importance that comes from knowledge gained from receiving, and subsequently trying, something that you've heard others praise about. In that sense, it's a "bonding" experience, meaning one now has experienced something someone else has and can now discuss it. In that regard, it's no different than movies, music, books, etc., as it fills some need of social involvement/interaction with others who one now has a commonality with. For me personally, it's always been the anticipation because there's most definitely a certain amount of risk-taking involved - to the extent it's almost a form of gambling onto itself. If you've seen the movie "The Hurt Locker", you know what I'm talking about.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I guess it depends on the person and their own financial situation. If I was having to make a decision about paying a bill or buying a fragrance blind that would speak to a very different issue than if I were blind buying something for fun and pleasure and there was no consequence involved. The same would be true of any type of purchasing pattern. Some people can afford it and others can't. If you can't and do it anyway there is a bigger issue at stake. I guess my point is that it is a matter of consequence. For me, I do tend to blind buy. It's fun for me. Since my blind buys are usually on scents which I consider collectible, I rarely sell my blind purchases on if I decide I don't like them. However, I never purchase anything beyond my means. That, luckily, is not part of my personality.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    My blind buying was due to lack of personal discipline. After making several unfortunate blind buys I began sampling instead.

    I think if I was a rich man blind buying would not be a problem lol. Unless it becomes a compulsive thing, then it is a bigger issue.

  8. #8
    mtgprox05's Avatar
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    I guess it depends on the person and their own financial situation. If I was having to make a decision about paying a bill or buying a fragrance blind that would speak to a very different issue than if I were blind buying something for fun and pleasure and there was no consequence involved. The same would be true of any type of purchasing pattern. Some people can afford it and others can't. If you can't and do it anyway there is a bigger issue at stake. I guess my point is that it is a matter of consequence. For me, I do tend to blind buy. It's fun for me. Since my blind buys are usually on scents which I consider collectible, I rarely sell my blind purchases on if I decide I don't like them. However, I never purchase anything beyond my means. That, luckily, is not part of my personality.
    No I understand that. If you choose fragrance over bills in ANY form, then you have a problem. For me, I mean, if I have a budget for one fragrance and choose to spend it on something I've never tried before.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtgprox05 View Post
    No I understand that. If you choose fragrance over bills in ANY form, then you have a problem. For me, I mean, if I have a budget for one fragrance and choose to spend it on something I've never tried before.
    I guess it depends on the reason for buying. For me, I would do it as a collector to fill a desired hole in my collection, not necessarily because I might like the scent... Otherwise, I wouldn't buy blind; I would sample first.

    For instance, if I had never smelled Patou Pour Homme (which I have) and saw a bottle of it for sale, I wouldn't think twice about buying it blind because it is so collectable. I guess that's different than the issue you are discussing though...
    Last edited by mrclmind; 7th February 2010 at 03:22 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I must say I blind-buyed 10-15 fragrances and I always loved what I bought. Ofcourse, before buying I read all the comments and possible topics from BN.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Blind-buying doesn't bother or affect me in the least! As a fragrance collector, if there is a certain fragrance line I collect, I buy it
    period. Cost doesn't factor in it for me.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    we go to a new restaurant, we order food pretty much blind..however, we have a fair bit of idea as what to expect. also, we need not like that dish for the rest of our life.

    same with a music album...we never buy a CD listening to the entire album...just a get a hint for what it has to offer or the band..and pretty much go ahead with the purchase. i dont think we can sample and buy everything in life..even if you do sample and buy, there is no gaurantee that you would still like it long enough to finish a full bottle.

    just my two scents...
    Last edited by jenson; 7th February 2010 at 04:38 PM.

  13. #13
    mtgprox05's Avatar
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenson View Post
    we go to a new restaurant, we order food pretty much blind..however, we have a fair bit of idea as what to expect. also, we need not like that dish for the rest of our life.

    same with a music album...we never buy a CD listening to the entire album...just a get a hint for what it has to offer or the band..and pretty much go ahead with the purchase. i dont think we can sample and buy everything in life..even if you do sample and buy, there is no gaurantee that you would still like it long enough to finish a full bottle.

    just my two scents...
    But Jenson, there's a large difference between ordering food "blind" or even a cd "blind". For one, I think it's much easier to predict whether or not you're going to enjoy a certain food or a certain CD, assuming you're familiar with the type of food or ingredients and the type of music. Fragrance, as we all know is far more subjective. And second, spending $15 on a CD vs. $100 on a fragrance is certainly different. I blind buy samples, lots of them in fact, but when it comes down to using what little money I have, I can't afford to make a large mistake.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I generally only blind-buy if the bottle is reasonably priced and there's no way to sample it. A good example would be my recent blind-buy of Balmain's Ebene. I bought it for 58$, which is comparable to the price of a nice dinner for two at a local restaurant. Now, if I'd hated it, I could have sold it off after one spritz for maybe 42$ or so, which means a loss of 18$ for the opportunity of sampling it. But, if I didn't like the dinner, I would have totally been out the money, with no way to get it back.

    As a rule, I spend no more than 100$ a month on fragrance. I managed to stick to that all last year and I plan on doing the same this year.
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 7th February 2010 at 04:47 PM.

  15. #15

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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I guess it depends on what you mean by buying blind. We do it all the time in things beyond perfume.
    You choose what movie to go see "blind" you've never seen it before and you read reviews and you might like the director or the stars or even the book it was based on. all that being said until you spend two hours or so in the theatre with the movie in question you don't know whether you will like it.
    How about books? You read reviews, you might read the dust jacket, and it might be an author or genre you're familiar with but once again until you start reading you've bought "blind" again.
    When you go to a restaurant for the first time you buy almost everything "blind". The question again is how informed are you about what you are ordering? If you know what the ingredients are, know the chef, like that style of cuisine you are informed but you still might get something you're not crazy about.
    Lets go with wine you never know for sure vintage to vintage the quality of even the same wine you might really like. yet based on reviewers and your personal knowledge of the grapes used and your enjoyment of those you will buy a bottle of wine "blind".
    Now you wouldn't classify any body who goes to a movie every week, or buys books, or goes out to new restaurants regularly, or who collects wine as being somehow emotionally deficient and thrill seeking through blind buying.
    It comes off as more acceptable to level this accusation when it comes to perfume because it isn't as widely accepted a hobby as the examples I used above.
    I choose to "blind" buy from the same stance that I "blind" buy all of the previous examples. I do it from a position of knowledge and have as much certainty of my liking it as I do any other thing I buy "blind" in my life. There is no thrill seeking or gambling involved just the relative belief that I know what I like and based on all the available data that I will like it.
    Just as I do when I decide what wine I will have at the restaurant that I'm going to before the movie based on the new book by the author of the book the movie is based on.
    Last edited by Somerville Metro Man; 7th February 2010 at 04:53 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtgprox05 View Post
    spending $15 on a CD vs. $100 on a fragrance is certainly different. I blind buy samples, lots of them in fact, but when it comes down to using what little money I have, I can't afford to make a large mistake.
    That's not true for everyone... For some people that $100 purchase is not much of a bigger deal to them than the $15 is to you. It's all relative.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    That's not true for everyone... For some people that $100 purchase is not much of a bigger deal to them than the $15 is to you. It's all relative.
    This is very true. There was a poster here who recently decided to buy fifty (!) fragrances to get a start on his collection.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I actually enjoy "buying blind" the same way i order foods i have not eaten before or go to places i have not been to yet. However, personally, buying blind is not the same as buying ignorant. There is so much information available. I believe when one gets the hang of it, it is actually easy to de-code fragrance reviews and have a good idea what to expect.
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I almost only buy blind, I check out some reviews on the net and see if the descriptions match with what I could be expecting to like, and so far I haven't had any regrets.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I don't consider blind buying to be a character defect... it's just a personal style of fragrance shopping.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Its a means of satisfying ones lack of social and/or intimate fufillment that leads to buying blindly (or buying lots of things in general), I think.
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    mtgprox05's Avatar
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    That's not true for everyone... For some people that $100 purchase is not much of a bigger deal to them than the $15 is to you. It's all relative.
    Yes, this is all mandated by financial stability. I guess you guys do have a point regarding making "blind" purchases in other fields, and not getting criticized for them the same as with fragrances. However, from my standpoint, if I can only barely afford one bottle every month/45 days or so, it hits that much harder if it ends up being something I dislike. And it also hinges on your confidence in your ability to pick a fragrance based upon notes and reviews. I know that's how I pick what to sample, and I still don't have a high success rate.
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  23. #23
    vita odorifera
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by supracuhz View Post
    Its a means of satisfying ones lack of social and/or intimate fufillment that leads to buying blindly (or buying lots of things in general), I think.
    Not really. You will be surprised at how inaccurate this statement is when you get to know some of the people (like me) that like buying blind. Fragrance purchase methods are personal to individuals, who differ in lots of ways.

    Buying blind is rational, if the person concerned knows what he/she is doing.
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by perfaddict View Post
    Not really. You will be surprised at how inaccurate this statement is when you get to know some of the people (like me) that like buying blind. Fragrance purchase methods are personal to individuals, who differ in lots of ways.

    Buying blind is rational, if the person concerned knows what he/she is doing.
    agree 100%

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by supracuhz View Post
    Its a means of satisfying ones lack of social and/or intimate fufillment that leads to buying blindly (or buying lots of things in general), I think.
    Are you serious ?! That is quite a statement, man. I mean no disrespect, but I really would like to know how you came about that conclusion ?
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  26. #26

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I think supracuhz's observation is, while true, fairly obvious. I might extend it beyond simply social/intimate fulfillment, and group it in the broader 'personal fulfillment', but otherwise, how can you argue with it? If one were truly fulfilled why would you need to purchase and own so much?
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    I think. I'm no sociologist but thats just my view on things. No disrespect taken, either (:
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  28. #28

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    mtg, my freind...all i was implying is, calculated risk is fun..and its even more fun when you get it right. too much of sampling can be expensive too...and boy, did cds/vinyls get tht cheap or did my local tandoori grill corner
    Last edited by jenson; 7th February 2010 at 07:44 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by jenson View Post
    mtg, my freind...all i was implying is, calculated risk is fun..and its even more fun when you get it right. too much of sampling can be expensive too...and boy, did cds/vinyls get tht cheap or did my local tandoori grill corner
    True true, I'm not much of a risk taker in general, which obviously reflects in my attitude towards blind buys. And Jen, I can get cds for $10 nowadays.
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Propensity for Blind-Buying: Is it rational or a symptom of a larger issue?

    90% of my purchases are blind in the sense that I haven't smelt them myself. Partly it's because I enjoy the mystery and surprise of that first whiff, which I guess covers the "pain and pleasure" theory, but the main reason I buy so much blind is MUCH more logical and reasonable - it's because where I live in the UK, way outside London, samples just aren't really affordable, obtainable or viable and I can only really properly test designer frags and stuff from the old English companies like Pen's, Floris, Trumper etc. Anything else (niche, independents, mid to high end non designer etc) I can only buy blind. I do my research on BN, so it's not like I'm going in completely ignorant, and I've had a very high hit rate, with only 1 or 2 in the last 10 years that I have had to get rid of (most recently Molinard Ambre). I also consider myself as being VERY careful with my money - I won't, for example, spend more than £30-40 on a single frag unless BN reviews are numerous and unanimous from both sexes and the price it's going for seems like a good deal.

    So I think my blind buying is reasonable and acceptable.

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