By Adam Zens
It dawned on me recently that I’ve made quite a few rather impulsive purchases over the years which turned out to be not so useful in hindsight. A great example was that all-electric scooter which I thought that I would use on a short commute to work and back. It would replace the expense of maintaining and insuring an automobile and would be perfect for that distance. What I hadn’t thought of is where I would park the scooter at work, let alone how I would recharge it so that it would carry me back home at the end of the day. Another problem that I should have anticipated is that the scooter, on a single electric charge, would barely cover the distance. I remember on a few occasions having to walk the last mile or two of the commute which wasn’t bad except for time constraints.
But I had been forewarned by my brother-in-law that a better option would be a hybrid scooter which runs on gas and electric. These scooters go much faster than pure electric ones and don’t need to be recharged nearly so often. This would have been a bigger investment, but would have cut the commute time in half (or less) and wouldn’t have left me stranded before I reached my destination. I told myself that this was too much money; an all-electric scooter was cheaper and didn’t use fossil fuels. In short, it was perfect. The main problem was that, as expected, I never really used it as a serious commuting vehicle. It was more of a plaything than anything else. My brother-in-law was right.
What is so attractive about purchases like this, around the time that we make them, is the “idea” of a product or service. The mere idea of having something useful is enough justification for purchasing it. Who cares if we ever use it? In fact, the “idea” of what we could do with the product is so inspiring that it will motivate us to make the tool useful despite how impractical it may really be.
In the bigger picture, I now see that marketers are not only selling products; they are selling ideas that certain products might become useful someday.
The electric scooter is not the only item in this category. Many people, in my opinion, have been a bit too quick to jump on the Keurig coffee bandwagon. Have you noticed how expensive the coffee cups are for this contraption? You can probably buy two or three times the amount of ground coffee for the same price as Keurig “cupped” coffee. It does not really make sense from a pragmatic, economic standpoint, but it is a new gizmo. A selling point might be that it makes single cups of coffee really quickly. We like the “idea” of a tailor-made cup of coffee rather than a pot of coffee of the same blend. But I know someone who bought a Keurig coffee machine on a whim and who uses it much less frequently than the family’s general coffee maker.
Whether it’s the notion of commuting with a scooter or having the convenience of a tailored cup of java, we sometimes want a useful idea more than we want a useful item.
Civil unrest seems to be the order of the day. Community relations between citizens and law enforcement seems strained, particularly in those areas where people of color have been prejudicially affected. Rather than call for more “law and order” as a solution to this deteriorating relationship, author Paul Bern tackles the problem from a different angle in his book,Occupying America. There, he points out that modern flare-ups between law enforcement and other civil servants and the citizens of these United States has more to do with how the upper economic echelon (the “1%” controlling a majority of wealth) has militarized law enforcement and caused them to play the role of “wealth protectors” for the ultra-wealthy. This is no where more palpably visible than in the recent observation by author and presidential candidate, Jill Stein, who pointed recently that, not only has policing of minorities been disproportionate, but the greatest criminals on Wall Street were given a free pass when law enforcement was laid off before the economic collapse caused by Wall Street speculation.
Abraham had something “reckoned” to his spiritual account and it wasn’t his own good works or excellent lineage. In בַּיהוָה וְהֶאְֶמִן “And he [Abraham] believed in Yahweh” the distinctive of the Christian doctrine of not working for righteousness in order to receive it from Yahweh is worked out in light of some Qur’anic suras which reflect Christian doctrine, such as the prophecy of Isa (Jesus) and the virgin birth of Mary.
If you are new to computer hacking or maybe just want to learn a few introductory concepts, the recently released audiobook, Hacking may be for you. While it is impossible to guarantee your privacy online, you can do a great deal to provide greater anonymity and privacy to your browsing experience.