I was talking to Erik Ford last week and my head exploded. Americans have accepted convenience as a commodity. And, well, that's great!
For nearly a century, commercial real estate has been predicated on convenience and route of travel. Planners look for ways to minimize friction of automobile and foot traffic. Customers are shepherd through parking lots and checkout lines quickly.
And Americans love that efficiency. So much that they began to hate it.
Any hiccup in the process created an irritant. Self checkout delays are considered a disaster. Parking lot congestion results in Millennials Instagramming "I just can't adult today."
Thus… the on-demand culture was born. And, for a few quick hours in the tech anthologies, on-demand services were God-sent. Then... as quickly as we loved them... we took them for granted.
Again. I love that.
We raised the bar. We expected to have goods delivered to us immediately and services to be conducted with the tap of a finger. We expect that our on-demand demands will be personalized and curated to our exact needs (and desires).
The “Greatest Generation” hates us for that. But, being a super-optimist, I believe we’re doing this so we can shore up time for more valuable experiences.
I hate going to the grocery store. Every can I pick up, I study the sodium percentages, the price per unit, and the comparisons to neighboring cans. It drives my wife crazy. Mostly, because I have no freaking clue what I’m looking for. My time is valuable, right? So why am I trying to economize buying two cans of corn?
What I should be doing is asking someone much more skilled than me - to shop for me. But, there inlays the root of the problem. I can’t ask someone to shop for a list of groceries unless I provide them a list. And I can't build a list because I don’t know how to. I don't know how to because I know very little about healthy food.
So while it would be far more convenient for me to have someone shop for me, first, I need someone to plan for me.
And, this is why I love commoditized convenience.
The highways has been paved. Now, it’s time to drive. really. freaking. fast.
Let’s get in front of the logistics. In front of the on-demand shoppers. In front of the one-hour-delivery services. Lets get to the core of it. Let’s offload decision making.
I don’t need to plan dinner. I’m not good at it. I can cook up a storm - and I love cooking! But, it’s not always healthy. So… how about I offload my weekly meal plan to Erin Oprea, Shawn Booth, or Ainsley Rodriguez. Those people can eat really (really) healthy.
For me, I’ll let Instacart get the groceries that Shawn helped me plan. I’ll pour a glass of wine, play with my toddler, pick on the guitar, philosophize with Erik, kiss my wife, and enjoy not having to spend wasted hours pining over food shopping and strategizing dinners.
And I definitely won’t be scrutinizing cans of corn.