Failing Consumption


TU Dortmund University, Germany

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs261

Failing consumption sums up the manifold problems that consumers encounter in the process of everyday consumption and the ways they resolve them. Purchasing and using a good, the social actor (qualified for being a consumer) projects and executes an action for satisfying a need or want. Consumption implies two modern myths of success: first, the good can be used in the projected manner, and second, the purchased good answers the consumer's need. As modern life is characterized as one of extensive consumption, people's capacity to act successfully depends strongly on the typified expectation of successful consumption.

However, the course of everyday consumption masks its risk of failing, which is inherent to every action due to the general uncertainty under which social actors act (see Bagozzi and Warshaw 1990). The risk which is masked by routine (via the typified expectation that typified problems of consumption are solved by corresponding typified actions) can become a problem. If the problem cannot be resolved, consumption fails. In consequence of a relevant but unresolved problem, this can lead on to a cross-situational crisis as failed solutions point to dysfunctional routines (including those of problem solving).

Failing consumption can arise in the stages of consumer decision making (see Blackwell, Miniard, and Engel 2006), each of which produces specific risks to successful ...

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