Image by Willi Heidelbach from Pixabay

This is part of my series: American Zombie: How To Stop Being A Mindless Consumer.

This will sound stupid to many readers, but I crave completeness. If I own the first item in a series, I’ll want to buy the rest of them. As a result, I buy stuff I don’t need. Or even want.

For example, I own the first three books in The Stormlight Archive and want to grab the fourth (in hardcover, obviously!). This seems silly since I haven’t read the first three. But that doesn’t matter—I want a complete set. The author has 10 books planned, and my little brain will want books 5 - 10 as soon as they’re published. (This is really dumb, I know.)

A friend of mine has the same problem with board games. Whenever a sequel game comes out or an expansion pack is released, he feels compelled to buy them. He knows this about himself, but that does little to stop the compulsion.

When I first learned that I crave completeness, I fought against it. I told myself, “You’re being ridiculous. You didn’t love the first book, so don’t buy the next 5!” But it didn’t work. I kept buying.

These days, I use a strategy that works: I don’t buy the first item unless I’m prepared to buy all of them. For example, I want the illustrated edition of the first Harry Potter. But if I get it, I’ll pick up books 2, 3, and 4. And I’ll grab 5, 6, and 7 as soon as they’re published. I’m not ready to fork over the cash for seven illustrated editions, so I’m holding off on the first one. I’m saving my money instead of frittering it away on books I don’t need.

At least for now.