The "oh no, it's new" effect

Have you ever noticed how irrationally overprotective we are over new possessions when we get them? It doesn't even seem to matter how expensive or how fragile the object is. For some reason during the first few days or weeks, we act as if that new toy or gadget, is made of glass. The strangest part about this condition, which I am dubbing "The 'Oh no, it's new' Effect", is that after a short time the protective nature is replaced by an almost negligent behavior towards the possession. Take for instance, my new MacBook Pro. As of right now, I'm nurturing my little baby: setting it down on desks carefully, making sure to not jam cables into the ports, closing the lid gently, and just generally trying to take care of it. The thing is, in a few weeks I'm not even going to think twice about plopping it down on my desk, throwing across the room onto my bed, or sliding it across a table to better position it. None of that will matter. Which begs the question, why does it even matter now.

The same thing happened with my iPhone. For the first two weeks I had it in a case and was afraid of it getting scratched. Now I never use a case, I'll set it on any surface around me, I throw it around when I'm bored, and I drop it all the time with no worries (at least not when it's on a carpeted floor).

Why do I even bother being so protective now if I'm going to care less later on. I mean, if I will be completely comfortable throwing something around and getting it all scratched up later on down the road, then what's the real harm in putting a few scratches in it right away. It's not like it loses function with every scratch.

It's a question that I've been pondering over since earlier this evening when I took a sharp turn in my car and, almost in a panic, flung my hand out to stabilize the MacBook Pro sitting in the passenger seat. Do we act this way simply because we like to keep new things new? Do we do it because we just haven't yet tested the durability of our new possession? Or is it just some weird behavior that we all share?

posted by Christopher Schnese