What makes us happier: the things we do, or the things we own? The answer is a little more complicated than you might think, according to the Journal of Consumer Research. When we’re satisfied, we tend to be happier with experiences like a vacation than with goods like a plasma TV. But when something goes wrong—the airline loses our luggage (experience), or the TV breaks (product)—our negative reaction to the experience tends to be stronger than the negative response to the product. One conclusion: Consumers should be very careful when choosing experience-based goods to buy (like vacations or concerts), as the impact of a bad experience will lead to greater unhappiness.