Overview of the Assignment
In class we have discussed the consumer decision-making process and the various internal
and external factors that affect our consumer behaviour. Observing your own consumption
behaviour is an excellent way to grasp the significance of the various theoretical concepts.
For this assignment, you are required to choose a single purchase or consumption activity
and write a rich, descriptive narrative about that experience using consumer behaviour theory.
Due Date and Submission Instructions
Your assignment is due on Thursday 4th of May at 3pm. Your assignment must be submitted
electronically via the Safe Assignment function on Blackboard. Safe Assignment is a webbased
tool which provides an online plagiarism prevention service. The plagiarism detection
software will compare your assignment with your classmates assignments, previous years
assignments and search the internet and electronic journal databases for instances of
plagiarism. Late submissions will be penalised at rate of 10% per day or part thereof. The
word limit for this assignment is 1000 words (excluding the reference list).
You are required to write a rich, descriptive narrative of a single purchase or consumption
experience. This narrative should be focused around a single unifying theme. The theme in
the example below is gift-giving. Some examples of other interesting themes are group
influence, sports consumption, ritual consumption, situational influences, brand communities,
or complaint behaviour. However, you can choose any theme you want, we have discussed
many in class so be creative!
I have given this assignment many times before and the most common theme discussed is
the consumer decision making process as it can be easily applied to any purchase
experience. However, please note that this is a very broad topic and in order to demonstrate a
deep understanding of the related theoretical concepts within 1000 words you may need to
narrow your theme down to a certain aspect of the consumer decision making process (i.e.
information search or evaluation and selection).
Another recommendation that I would like to make is to suggest you choose to discuss either
a relatively high involvement purchase, a symbolic purchase, or a consumption activity (i.e.
going out with friends). This will allow you to provide more in-depth insights into your cognitive
thought processes as well as make assumptions about the role of the internal and external
influences on your consumption experience.
Even though you are required to write a narrative about a personal consumption experience,
this is very much a research assignment. I expect that all students will use the textbook to
research the unifying theme of the narrative. However, in order to do well you are required
to go beyond the textbook and research the unifying theme using academic journal
As you will more than likely be concentrating on just one or two areas of consumer behaviour,
it would make sense to read and reference some of the seminal journal articles on this topic.
Whenever the textbook discusses a theory, it includes a footnote that relates to a list of
references at the end of the book. These references are generally from academic journals
that investigate the related topic, and would be a good place to start your research. If you
wish to look further, try searching for the theory/topic in the Journal of Consumer Research
which is available via the library website in the electronic databases Business Source
Consumer Behavior Consumption Narrative
Complete and JSTOR. Other appropriate journals that can be found in the library electronic
journal database include, but are not limited to:
– Advances in Consumer Research – Psychology and Marketing
– Journal of Consumer Behaviour – Consumption Markets and Culture
– Journal of Marketing – Young Consumers
– Journal of Islamic Marketing – Journal of Consumer Psychology
– Journal of Consumer Marketing – Journal of Consumer Research
Purchasing My Best Friend a Wedding Gift
My best friend Mariam is getting married on the 20th of January. As such I needed to
purchase her a wedding gift. I began my search a month prior to the big day as I
wanted to make sure that I had enough time to complete a thorough information
search, and hence find the perfect present. The perfect present would be something
that she could keep forever and that would remind her of me and our close
relationship. Belk (1979) stated that \”the exchange of gifts … aid(s) in establishing,
defining and maintaining interpersonal relationships (p. 100). Its not that I think that
our relationship needs maintaining, but as Mariam enters this new part of her life, I
think it would be nice for her to receive something special from me which reminds her
of me and that I will always be there for her.
I started my search Galeries Lafayette as Mariam had created a gift registry. As I
looked at the list of possible alternatives I quickly changed my mind. How could my
gift be meaningful to Mariam if I just chose it off a list of possible alternatives that she
created? It couldnt be. Hence, I was going to have to find something that was perfect
for her, that she had not thought of yet. Although this initial set back was going to cost
me a lot of time searching and evaluating, I did not become frustrated. As suggested
by Sherry (1983) the act of gift giving can be quite pleasurable especially if the giver
is familiar enough with the receiver to know what gifts would please him or her. That
is, pleasing the gift receiver also pleases the gift giver, and as I thought of how
Mariam would react on her wedding day as I gave her the perfect gift, I knew I too
would be pleased.
Belk, Russell W (1979), \”Gift Giving Behavior, \” Research in Marketing, Vol 2, J.N.
Sheth, ed.,Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, Inc., 95-126.
Sherry, John F., Jr. (1983), \”Gift Giving in Anthropological Perspective,\” Journal of
Consumer Research, Vol 10 (September), 157-168.
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