I am so annoyed – my favourite lipstick has been discontinued! I was so put out that the young shop assistant received the full force of my frustration – I may even have stamped my foot! Later on I was feeling a little ashamed; afterall it wasn’t the assistant’s fault. Then I heard about ‘Consumption Bereavement’, a condition where consumers react emotionally and behaviourally to the withdrawal of a favourite brand. According to University of Auckland research losing your favourite brand can be perceived as a loss and therefore trigger emotions associated with grief and mourning. Here was an explanation for what I had felt. Rather than badly behaved I was grief stricken! Looking back I could see that I had been a text book example for Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s stages of grief. First there was denial (“You can’t be serious – there must be some mistake”), then anger (“I want to see the manager immediately!”), then bargaining (“If you were to ring the supplier I would buy a whole box to make it worth your while”), and then depression (“but I can’t possibly wear any of those – my life is ruined!). It would be fair to say that at this point acceptance is still some way off.
Researchers fear that the consumption bereavement may become more common as businesses reduce their range of products in these tough economic times. I’m quite worried about what might be next. I’m not emotionally ready for any more deaths amongst my immediate domestic items. The loss of Pear’s soap, Elle Macpherson intimates or Frank Cooper’s marmalade might seriously tip me over the edge. Some might say that life would go on without these, but it wouldn’t be life as I know it. Consequently I’ve started hoarding my little ‘must-haves’. I’ve calculated that if I live to be over 80, and don’t become a coal miner or take up mud-wrestling, then 480 cakes of Pear’s soap should be enough. However predicting what shape and consequently what lingerie I’ll need between now and then is not proving so easy. Perhaps I should prepare for some emotional turmoil in the years ahead. I must get a box of tissues at the ready. There are those peachy ones with Aloe vera that I like. Oh no – they might be next! I’d better get a couple of pallets!