“Don’t tell me what I can’t have” (unraveling a paradox)

In the USA, it's quite alright for media to talk endlessly about all the things the typical person can't possibly afford. Cribs, jets, jewels, dinners with Jennifer Aniston.

At the same time, you're guaranteed to get negative feedback when you talk about things people have chosen not to have. If you tout a great product that only works on a Mac or a Kindle or on Android or in Norway, all the people who have chosen to use a different piece of tech or live in a different country get angry, that special kind of angry that belongs to the pampered. It's not that they don't want to buy it, it's that they don't even want to know that it's for sale.

The reason, I think, is that you're reminding people of a decision they made, a decision that might have felt right at the time, but when they made it, they didn't know about what you've got on offer. They actively decided to take themselves out of the running for this magic event, this extraordinary product, and marketing it to them belittles their choice.

The market tells us that there's a big difference between "don't tell me what I can't have," and "don't tell me what I've chosen not to be able to have."

Dreaming of winning the lottery is fine, apparently, while experiencing pangs of regret over a decision is not.