Say you're in a restaurant and are glancing over the wine list. You're with a date and he suggests you get a $100 bottle.
You politely refuse, saying that's way too much and you'll just get a nice $7 glass of Pinot, but he insists. Before you know it the bottle is being opened by a waiter talking about the subtle oak flavors and chocolate undertones you should be tasting.
You sip slowly, savoring, swirling it in your glass, breathing in the flavor of this very fine wine. You and your date discuss how great it is. Later that night you call your best friend and tell her you had a nice time, not forgetting to mention the $100 bottle of wine that your date treated you too. You feel like a queen for the rest of the night.
The next day you go grocery shopping and happen to notice the wine you had last night is there, on sale, for $10. I'm sure you'd be shocked, but what else? Dissapointed? Would your feelings about the wine change?
It's the same wine, it tastes the same no matter what it costs, but suddenly your experience last night doesn't seem all that special.
Or maybe your friend is cleaning out her closet, and gives you a dress. It's hideous, gaudy and loud and not at all your style. You glance at the tag and it says "CHOU" - a brand you've never heard of. You take it politely and as soon as you get home, stuff it in the back of your closet. A few months later you're looking through Vogue and notice the same brand on a lot of the models. Apparently CHOU dresses cost thousands of dollars. After doing some research you find out that the dress you were given cost $3500 and is owned by many beautiful celebrities.
You go to the closet and dig it out. Maybe it's not so bad after all! Actually, it's kind of fabulous and to think YOU own a CHOU dress!
What changed? Why do you like the exact same dress that you used to think was terrible - just because you know how much it cost?
Why do we care so much about the perceived worth, rather than just taking things for what they are?
It would seem that a person should either like something or not like something independent of what it costs, but I've noticed that isn't always the case.
If Hondas cost hundreds of thousands and Mercedes were affordable, but nothing else changed, would we see the rich and famous driving Honda civics around? I'm not sure. Do you judge things based on what they cost? If you were in one of the situations above do you think you would have responded differently?