Prosperity Outlook (Low)
Though generally a grateful person, Tanika does feel somewhat deprived of abundance in life: “Sometimes you can’t, people’s gonna, sometimes people can disappoint you. And that’s the thing you have to realize, people do disappoint you, so you can’t always leave the responsibility on another person.” However, she goes on to say she has “always had a place, always had a roof over my head, always had food.” And she thinks things could have been worse: “It wasn’t like, we never lived in no extra, extra bad neighborhoods. There was times when we had, you know, circumstances, but mostly we was good for the most part.” Yet overall she still ranks low on having a Prosperity Outlook, which is understandable, given her restricted resources and the stress of trying to make ends meet for three children on a modest disability check.
Acquisition Seeking (Low)
When we asked Tanika about her overall approach to shopping and buying things, she showed that the impulsive tendencies evident in her giving also affect her spending habits. She describes the factors going into her decisions when making a purchase: “I will say a good price, definitely a good price. But at the same token, how I’m getting treated as a good person, whatever I’m purchasing, cause it’s in that, type of that relationship with [a] client, you know?” It seems that sometimes she gets swept up by a good interpersonal exchange, coupled with a sale, and feels compelled to purchase something that she otherwise did not need. She continued:
I love shopping, don’t get me wrong—that is the thing, but I learned you can’t just keep shopping, shopping, shopping. It is, you know, comes to a time, where it be like, okay, I learned, so I’m moderate now to where I do go shopping. I’m not gonna go and buy no $400 purse, nothing like that, no. [I’ll buy one] for $25. That’s me [laughs]. She may have the one expensive, but I’m gonna be less.
With shopping she has learned she needs to try to restrain her impulsive urges. And she is not nearly as focused on acquisition as some of our other interviewees, describing the “good life” as “Just bein’ happy. When you can say that you’re happy. For whatever it is that you may have, don’t have, when you can feel content and just say that I’m just truly happy, whatever you may have, you know.”
Together these personal and social orientations, especially the lack of a clear Life Purpose, correlate with trends that predict Tanika will be a fairly low monetary giver but a moderately high time giver. True to her Impulsive giver approach, her volunteering appears to be entirely the result of having been asked by someone to get involved rather than the result of a decision considered and planned in advance. It is likely that she responded positively to the request to volunteer due in part to her orientations of high Social Solidarity, Social Trust in her immediate community and lack of trust in her children’s education, and a sufficient Prosperity Outlook. As our models would predict, this combination of factors can turn someone into a Selective giver.