The Wall Street Journal has an article about an interesting phenomena that I’ve experienced – putting a movie on your Netflix queue and then keeping it for months because you never get around to watching it: For Some Netflix Users, Red Envelopes Gather Dust. While it didn’t really explain why people do that, it did report what type of movies they do it with:
The researchers found that when people chose movies to watch the same day, they often picked comedies or action films. But when they were asked to pick movies to watch at a later date, they were more likely to make "high-brow" selections.
For example, the subjects were much more likely to select Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust survival drama "Schindler’s List" to watch in the future, rather than on the same night. "It’s a movie that’s really miserable to watch but you feel like you should watch it," said George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, one of the study’s authors.
Interestingly enough, Frank doesn’t have this problem. He watches all our Netflix movies immediately. I give him a hard time because watching the movies becomes almost like a "todo list action item" or a chore – one he never procrastinates on. But we never have movies sitting around for months. (He used to wait for me to watch them too but he’s given up on that and if I don’t watch it with him, he just returns it. Which works for me!)
I also do the same thing with books as I did with Netflix – I have several shelves of books that I think are worth reading but they aren’t easy reads and I never seem to get around to actually reading them.
I wonder why we do keep them? Or why we buy/order them in the first place?