It was the second time I’d heard the term in as many days. FOMO.
Fear of Missing Out.
This time it came from my physical therapist as we swapped stories. I was on my side, and she was pressing hard on a few exceedingly painful trigger points.
My guess is that most folks would gladly miss out on this part of recovering from rotator cuff surgery.
The first thing that came to mind about FOMO, which I have always framed as “scarcity thinking,” was how retailers use it to get us to impulse buy.
Only one left!!!!!!
Buy now!!! Going fast!!!!!
Or on Booking.com, ONLY TWO MORE ROOMS LEFT AT THIS PRICE!!!!
I can come back in a week and there are still two more rooms left at this price.
This tactic gets old after a while.
However it really, really works. That’s why most of us who are selling something use this tactic. Whole websites are devoted to teaching you and me how to buy useless crap we don’t need (GET YOUR HANDY DANDY PENIS SHAPED CUP HOLDER TODAY https://blazepress.com/2017/02/20-ridiculous-products-that-should-never-have-been-made/) because there are only TWO LEFT IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. BUY NOW!!!!!!
I’ve let FOMO convince me to buy untold thousands of dollars’ worth of stupid shit over the years.
Lest you question the veracity of this, please see: https://optinmonster.com/fomo-marketing-examples-to-boost-sales/
But this is a limited time offer. You better click RIGHT NOW or you might miss out.
Years ago my father, who was born in the 1920s and came of age during the first Great Depression, heard a story on the radio that toilet paper was going to be in short supply.
Mind you, my folks were living in a 500-square foot retirement cottage at the time.
I drove over to see them one evening and the entire place was lined with Charmin. Every nook and cranny was crammed with it, several rolls deep. You could barely move from one end of the place to the other without sending a six-pack flying.
My father was not going to be relegated to using pine cones or corn cobs, by god. I had to choke back my laughter, to which Dad wouldn’t have taken kindly. Of course, there was no TP shortage, and it took a long time for my folks to use up the warehouse of toilet paper Dad had hoarded.
Such is our fear of scarcity.
A very long time ago, the American Indian community in the Southwest figured out how to fool tourists into paying top dollar for their jewelry. They doubled the price and offered their goods at 50% off.
Worked like a charm. Now everyone does it.
FOMO has an unfortunate tendency to get folks (my hand is up here) to do really stupid things. Buy stuff they don’t need or want. Take chances that might threaten their lives. Follow (and equally stupid) leader on a journey that ends in disaster.
But you might miss out. Tipping cows is just such fun.
Not when there’s a two-ton bull in the pasture.
FOMO is just as compelling when it comes to potential partners. Ever choose someone, or choose to stay with someone, because you were convinced this was the only one for you (even if said partner heartily disagreed)? Ever have an abusive partner do their best to convince you that there’s no way anyone else will ever love you but that person?
That’s FOMO, taken to extremes.
FOMO drives our terror of aging. Each decade drives a serious review of what I’ve done in my life by now. Followed inevitably by, HOLY SHIT I’D BETTER HURRY UP AND (fill in the blank) OR I NEVER WILL !!!!!
The problem I have with FOMO is that it’s a complete illusion. Fakery. There’s nothing there. At least, for the most part.
FOMO drives folks to do some magnificently moronic things for which they are hugely unprepared and untrained.
Like, having kids. With the wrong person. Because, after all, my biological clock is ticking.
Like, taking extreme risks in the great outdoors. Because, after all, other folks (vastly better prepared and trained than I ) are out there having epic fun.
You get my drift.
Now, are there legitimate situations where FOMO is real? Yes. For example, I might suggest investing to go see polar bears NOW. Because the generation that exists right now- was with elephants and rhinos- might well be the last of their kind. That’s real.
I might hit a beach soon. Because we are indeed running out of sand (thanks to the Mafia and many others) https://www.theguardian.com/global/2018/jul/01/riddle-of-the-sands-the-truth-behind-stolen-beaches-and-dredged-islands.
If you’re genuinely afraid of missing out on something, like clean air or water, which is very real, you might vote today.
If you’re genuinely afraid of missing out on seeing any of this country’s national parks before they are drilled, exploited and ruined, their wolves deccimated by Billy Bobs, you might vote today.
If you’re genuinely afraid that your pricey beachside condo is going to become a backyard pool, I’d vote today. BTW, I wouldn’t swim in it. It will be full of plastic trash, dead fish and hospital toxins.
But that’s just me.
Or you can order a case of Diet Water and glug it down. After all, the world is running out of clean water, and water in general. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jun/18/are-we-running-out-of-water.
Nestle Corporation is buying up all that’s left that the states and countries’ politicians are willing to sell off, and then we’ll have to pay for anything worth drinking. Capitalism at its very, very best. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-09-21/nestl-makes-billions-bottling-water-it-pays-nearly-nothing-for
But hey, that’s just me. What’s left is turned into Coke, our favorite toxic poison. Available everywhere water costs more than polluted sodas that taste oh, so good.
Or, you could vote.
Yesterday as I headed out to get some chores done, I heard a piece on my local NPR station about folks who don’t vote.
Some lugnut claimed that he didn’t drive a broken car, so why vote in a broken system?
You broke it buddy. By not voting. By being so distracted by your cell phones and Netflicks and Game of Thrones reruns and your muffin tops that the world has been ripped off right under your nose. We have legitimately, clear and present concerns about missing out.
Or, you could go vote.