The Purchases We Make; A Story About Coffee

In fall semester 2013 I took a Principles of Advertising class here at K-State. It was tough, partly because the professor was only beginning his post at the university with that specific class. It was his first, and it was my first semester back after taking three and a half years off to fulfill other interests.

In his class we took Vals surveys. These surveys, he explained, would give us some insight into how we individually tended to make purchasing decisions. In a sense, it’s a sort of financial personality profile. It groups each test taker in two of eight categories, a primary and a secondary “Vals Type,” and provides the participant with a description of what it says about how they tend to choose what to buy. This can give companies valuable insight into how to target them as advertisers. If you’re curious about yours, click the word link.

I printed mine, and have kept it every since. I refer to it often, both because I love such things and because it has proven accurate time and time again. Here’s an example.

The Conundrum Of The Coffee Order

This morning, my favorite coffee shop on the planet, Mozart’s Coffee Roasters in Austin, Texas, posted a fascinating photo of a bunch of boxes on their Facebook page. The caption talked about how you could email one of their people who would help you order coffee and have it delivered to you wherever you were. According to their post, you could subscribe to get coffee weekly, biweekly, monthly, or “as often as you need!”

This immediately tempted me. It’s my favorite coffee shop in the world, something I feel like I can actually say because I’ve consumed coffee in shops in at least one state besides that of my birth and in one other country. That’s another discussion all together though.

Still, I have great coffee! I love the Sumatra roast sold by both Starbucks and Caribou coffee shops here in town, and Manhattan, KS actually has some great local coffee too, such as Radina’s and the recently opened Arrow Coffee. As much as I love Mozart’s down in Austin, it was hard to say definitively that the extra cost and hassle of waiting on coffee would be worth it just to have coffee from there. So why was I tempted?

That’s when I remembered my Vals profile, and the answer became clear.

My primary type labeled me as an “Innovator.” The description is long, but here’s one excerpt:

“Image is important to Innovators, not as evidence of status or power but as an expression of their taste, independence, and personality…Their possessions and recreation reflect a cultivated taste for the finer things in life.”

So I understand why I’m tempted to deal with all the extra hassle and cost, even if the benefits aren’t particularly noticeable in the actual product itself. I consciously realize that maybe I just like the idea of being able to sit on my couch one day soon and think “yeah, I have my coffee custom shipped, from my favorite coffee shop in the world.” Quite selfishly perhaps, I immediately realize I think such a daydream would be amazing if it were made true. Not because it will be expensive, though potentially it might be, but because when I brew that stuff at home for guests, it’ll be an accurate representation of who I am. Not cooler or less cool than anyone who does it differently, but rather just different; more unique, and off the beaten bath. That’s pretty much how I like to think of my life.

Apparently I’m easier to understand than I realize.

Vals wins again.

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