When Toddler wants something, he wants it NOW! No waiting, and if so, it’s likely to result in him throwing himself to the floor and sobbing inconsolably for several minutes. Once we reach adulthood, most of us don’t resort to throwing ourselves on the floor thankfully, however companies seem to be tapping into our desire for immediate gratification – the success of companies such as Netflix or LoveFilm Instant can testify to this. It seems to me that we have become a nation of impatient souls who don’t want to wait and expect things the second we want them.
Other examples I can think of include the statistic that people won’t wait more than 5-seconds or so for a webpage to load before becoming annoyed and moving on to another site, or the latest trolley-rage incidents (a woman recently knocked an elderly man over her supermarket trolley as he was ‘being too slow’. The man broke his hip and later sadly died in hospital possibly from complications).
It’s not just about doing things quickly; it’s the expectation that we are owed material things instantly too. This morning I was perusing books on Amazon and found a couple I liked. Only I can’t really afford them just now. But wait, I have a credit card! I worked out that I could pay it off next month. Though in reality next month will arrive and there will be something else I want and the cycle will continue for the following month. Of course I’ll make up some sort of reasoning to justify my purchase – I need the books for research purposes, I never treat myself and deserve something nice.
I had the same problem recently when I received an invite from a local photographer to have three photo sessions and three pictures free with Tiddler, with the option to purchase additional pictures at the end of each session. Tempted by the offer I duly went along, promising Mr N that I would only do it for the free photos as I didn’t have the money to buy any extra ones. You know how this story ends though. On seeing the amazing pictures I just had to buy some and he was able to accept payment via credit card (he really is an astute businessman!). I justified it by thinking that we really do need professional pictures of Tiddler as he’s only a baby for such a short time and our own camera really doesn’t do him justice; or something along those lines.
We teach our toddlers that throwing a tantrum to get something is no good, that we must wait and do something first to receive our ‘prize’ – ‘tidy up your lego and you can have a biscuit’ for example. Yet we don’t expect to have to do anything or to wait in order to get what we want as adults. From instant films, to instant credit, to instant shopping online (what did we do before the Internet??!) our inner-toddler is loving it!
P.S. Yes, I did order those books, but I’ve sworn that I will most definitely NOT be buying any extra pictures at Tiddler’s next photo session….