Distinguishing between Wants and Needs in Everyday Situations

Let’s examine a practical example most of us have some experience with. Say you have been driving your old car for a number of years. It’s costing you money in repairs, and it’s just not fun to drive anymore. You are bombarded with new car advertisements on television and start wanting a new car. After focusing on several brands and models, your want becomes even clearer, and you start to visit showrooms and explore the Internet. At this point, it dawns on you that you haven’t kept up with new car prices and you experience sticker shock. If you really want the new car, you can probably find a way to finance it. If, however, you dig deeper to explore the real need, you may discover some interesting options that were previously unconsidered (see Table 2.6).

Table 2.6. Discovering Options
New carDependable transportationLate model used car

Fix up old car

Car pool

Ride bicycle

If we assume the underlying need is “dependable transportation,” there are more options available to meet the need than the stated want of buying a new car. However, if the need was status, the options might be more limited and a new car might be the most viable option to meet this need. Let’s look at a more extended example of an internal negotiation.

Case:Loan Processing Crisis
Company:Buckingham Bank
Parties:Director of Information Technology Services Director of Loan Processing

General Background

Business has been reasonably good ...

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