The Experience Economy – Importing Experience

When customers purchase upgrades, they purchase a substitute for experience. It is time that gives experience, not upgrades. But the upgrades give a feeling of experience to the viewer. They are impressive. An example of an experience style is the stonewashed acid-worn ripped jean. It is the golddigger jean because it gives the impression of years of experience panning for gold. In fact, to afford the jeans, a person could spend the same amount of time in the murk of the gold-digging experience. Instead, the experience is outsourced and brought to the consumer.

The authentic manifests in vintage replicas too. The experience of having a relative hand down clothing to the teenager (consumer) can be purchased. The heirloom experience. The historical experience. These are experiences that actually exist in many upper middle class families. The vintage Chanel and grandmother’s necklaces and earrings are passed down and worn. Now, these histories can be bought and sold to substitute for that traditional material relation. The difference is that the history is invented and decentered from the individual, so that the clothing only has trend symbolism and is abstracted from history.

Today many consumers receive more encouragement from a website’s text (be creative! contribute to the community!) than they do from those in everyday life (if they are decentered and isolated, which is becoming more and more common). Thus, to make up for that old social relation, they are beginning to provide material for the most encouraging ‘parents’, or ‘peers’…as they could be considered. For free. (Or as in istockphoto.com, a royalty).

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