Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dwelling vs. Surging

From Grant McCracken via Dynamist.
Roughly speaking, consumers have two modalities: surging and dwelling.

In the surging modality, consumers have momentum. We have a vivid sense of forward motion. Life is getting better. Each purchase is an improvement onthe [sic] last one.
In the dwelling modality, the consumer is not forward looking, but concentrated on the here and now. Now most of life's pleasure comes from counting one's blessings. This is a dwelling modality, because the individual is no longer in transit, racing towards a better tomorrow. Now the consumer is focused on what is good about what one has. The consumer stops anticipating and starts savoring.
When consumers slow down and begin to concentrate on the here and now, the what and the where of their activity is often the home. Dwelling is what consumers do instead of buying.

And in a sense this reverses the Scitovsky effect. You will remember Scitovsky's book The Joyless Economy and his argument that the trouble with a consumer society is that the pleasure of ownership soon degrades into mere comfort. It's not long before we take our new possessions for granted.

What the consumer does in a down economy is roll back the Scitovsky effect. We begin to treasure things. We re-engineer the comfort to get back to pleasure. We begin to savor things again.

Read more at What Consumers Do in a Downturn and Finding Joy in a Joyless Economy. Gee, I must live in a perpetual recession. ;-) Seriously, we should take a breather to enjoy the things that we do have every day, not just when we run out of money or credit.

This morning, we enjoyed home-made apple-persimmon cake, and lattes for breakfast. Then I made chicken broth with last weekend's roast chicken carcass, some veggies from the farmers' market and the grocery store 300 feet away, and a bouquet garni from the backyard. (The fence is rotting and weeds need pulling, but it is still a pleasant and productive yard.) I used knives and pots we received as a wedding present 18 years ago. The scratched bundt pan is even older. My mom gave it to me when I moved out, but I have been baking cakes in it for 30+ years.

Afterwards, I attended Bernina Sewing Club at AAA Sewing and Vacuum. This month's topic: refashioning clothes. Sounds like Bernina is capturing the zeitgeist to sell more presser feet. It worked. I bought another presser foot for my growing collection.

I also bought Volumes 2 and 3 of the Bernina Feetures books, the instruction manuals that should have come with my machine. It irks me to no end that they charge $50 per volume ($150 total) for manuals that show you how to install and use the feet ($$-$$$) and machine ($$$$) that they sold you. At least I used a coupon (see asides below).

I do not find the Bernina "live" webcasts useful at all. Why bother doing it live if the instructor just plows through the material, won't take questions, and hangs up immediately after doing her demo? I pay for the class mainly to learn from the live instructor, Suzy Poor. She demonstrates the techniques again, and more slowly. She also shows alternate techniques for similar results.

If you live in the area, consider signing up for AAA Sewing and Vacuum's email list. Aman and Amina won't spam you; they send a monthly digest and the occasional coupon. Yesterday, they sent out a coupon for 25% off everything in stock at the store.

Bernina debuted their new website. Where did they put the instructional information? Good question. I couldn't find it either. I emailed them and, a day or so later, they directed users to click on See It!/Share It! on the left hand menu. Then select Presser Feet Videos from the submenu that appears. Of course, there are no webpages that show the uses for each feet along with the possible range of settings and a few illustrative pictures. Instead, you need to have broadband to watch a very short video that has a very low information to bandwidth ratio.

I wonder who designed their webpage? My 7 year old can do better. Actually, remember the unnamed electronics company that tested their new products/user interfaces on kindergartners, including Iris? (If you don't remember, read Child Labor II. Bernina could learn from them.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like an ideal day. I enjoy saving up bags of things and making stock; all those little domestic things are where happiness really lies.

    I need to get the other Bernina Volumes but it irks me as well. I have learned a lot using the first volume and the feet though, with occasional runs to my local shop for lessons.


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