Among the super rich it’s no longer enough to give a loved one a new Maserati GranTourismo (MSRP $110,000). Now, the proper gift is a private concert by the Rolling Stones (MSRP $4,000,000).
Or so I’m told.
Even those of us who are not so rich seem to be more often choosing day spas or trips to Italy over the more traditional leisure activities. (When was the last time you went bowling?)
Sociologist Melanie Howard suggests that, as people have more expendable income and more options, we are, as a society, hauling ourselves up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs toward the apex of self-actualization.
She says, “There’s this emerging idea of ourselves as projects — we are no longer labelled by our education or gender, or born into a social situation that we then play out for the rest of our lives. We can do new things, pick up new skills, learn a new language. Because we’re living longer, we have more time to think about who we really want to be. We are all asking ourselves, ‘How can I get more out of my life?’”
What do we want to be?
A couple of days ago I received this e-mail from Bill Drew, Jr, of New View Options blog:
Just saw a news report that you were on. Cool! Here is the link: www.News3Online.com
My first thought was that this was a co-incidence, one of several other Chuck McKays which includes a high school English teacher, a medical doctor, and the disc jockey from CKLW.
Then the disclaimer popped up to explain the hoax, and offered to help me perpetuate it on my friends.
But my second thought was, “Wow. They customized this experience for me eight times in slightly less than two minutes.”
It’s the Personal Experience Factor.
It was through Mike that I first learned of the 1999 book, The Experience Economy, by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore. He drew my attention to Pine’s and Gilmore’s observation that the price of coffee depends largely upon the way it’s delivered to the consumer.
“Consider, however, a true commodity: the coffee bean. Companies that harvest coffee or trade it on the futures market receive — at the time of this writing — a little more than $1 a pound, which translates into one or two cents a cup. When a manufacturer grinds, packages, and sells those same beans in a grocery store, turning them into a good, the price to a consumer jumps to between 5 and 25 cents a cup (depending on brand and package size). Brew the ground beans in a run-of-the-mill diner, corner coffee shop, or bodega, and that service now sells for 50 cents to a dollar a cup.