7 Industries That Prey on Our Delusions

You're delusional.

No, it's OK, we all are.

Think about your gym, which you visit so infrequently you’re practically making a charity donation to Bally Total Fitness. Or the diet cleanse you spent $100 on ... when you could have paid $30 in healthy groceries that would have also done the trick.

Don’t kick yourself—you’re not alone in falling prey to these marketing ploys. There’s a reason that, for instance, the burgeoning “enhanced waters” beverage category (think Vitamin Water) has become a $1.5 billion industry.

By playing on our delusions and our fears, companies tempt us to shell out for needless items, and that can wreak havoc on our finances, if we let it!

Watch out for these seven industries that profit from our insecurities—and find out how to resist their ploys.

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  • This is so true!  I used to pay for a gym membership, but I definitely wasn’t getting my money’s worth.  I wanted to work out, but it was hard to get myself there.  I started to attend yoga and spinning classes at local studios in the area instead of going to a gym.  Even though the classes were very expensive, I found that I would attend those classes regularly because I loved going!  It didn’t seem like a chore to work out.  

    To cut costs, I now volunteer as the front door check-in person at both the yoga and spinning studio, and I get free classes as payment!  It’s a great way to get yourself there and defray the costs of working out. 

  • Dmsd1967

    It’s interesting that the ad you ran next to this article was for Sensa, a supposed weight loss miracle product – just sprinkle some on your cheeseburger and watch the pounds melt away!!  Perhaps you need to add a seventh industry that preys on your delusions – weight loss “miracle” products and programs – and maybe be a little more prudent about ad placement.

    • AldenWicker

      Hi Dmsd1967, 

      It’s interesting that you saw that ad too, but that’s actually just a coincidence. While we do choose some ads that our from partners, ads like the one you saw are served up from an ad network–meaning we don’t have any control over what you see. And what every user sees is different. For example, right now I’m seeing an ad for The New York Times on the same page. But it sounds like you’re savvy enough to avoid clicking on an ad that you don’t believe in anyway!


  • pamorama

    I honestly don’t understand the point of this article. Many statements are broad generalizations. Yes, people with pets buy items for their pets. The pets enjoy toys and healthier, higher quality food and supplements improve their health allowing us to have them around longer–how is this being “duped?” There are proven benefits from joy and companionship.

    As for the “health food and diet” industries, you’ve lumped them into one big category. It’s like lumping “food” into one category. The premise from there is flawed. If the health food and organic industries did not improve health, they’d be broke. “Studies” are often paid for and underwritten by interests that are biased toward inconclusive results. Many unpublished or unpublicized studies indicate positive results. What studies are you indicating and for which products? Testing often DOES indicate improvements and benefits, as it is quite difficult for any one person to eat enough good quality, fresh and unprocessed food to glean enough proper nutrients in any given day. 

    I found this article assumed people are not intelligent or analytical enough to determine their own values from their chosen investments.

  • p_rizzo

    I was suprised skincare/cosmetics were not on the list. Every other tv commercial or magazine ad I see is for another product to make you look younger.