My experience with this concept while living in Japan is quite different. There,
a lot of people still fill these jobs. For example, there is a full time guy
watching the bikes at the train station. Another guides you around an entrance
to a construction site. That's his job all day. A few filling stations
still have a number of people who clean your windows inside and out and empty
your ashtray and stop traffic so you can get out when done. You can't buy
something at a shop that might be a gift that won't be wrapped perfectly;
they hire people to do that. But, and this is a big one, you pay for it dearly.
And, I couldn't help but feel these people were underemployed. Could you
make a living wage there wrapping gifts? I don't know. One thing, though,
is that you often have to cook your own ingredients at your table when at a
restaurant. It's part of the social experience of getting together, and
it's a wonderful idea.
I have always been aware of "prosumption". It is very interesting how
it is creeping into society. I do have one beef though about
"prosumption". I can bag my own items at Home Depot or even Ikea, but I
just hate to bag my own items at the grocery store.
I like the trend, but I may draw the line at prosumptive open-heart surgery.
I like the trend in that it keeps costs down I hate that it is causing the death
of customer service. While the article suggests that prosumtion doesn't
really save you money that is incorrect for a couple reasons. (1) The things
prosumption costs us we tend to have in abundance or have the ability to get
more readily than the extra money it would cost to have the retailers do it for
us. In this sense it saves us money. (2) We have to remember that stores charge
mark ups on everything they do. So prosumption theoretically offers us
wholesale prices on the extra services that have traditionally been associated
with retail goods. The restaurant thing I don't understand.
Prosumtion works well when you are young and in good health. However, older
and/or disabled individuals learn to appreciate a certain level of customer
service. For them, do-it-yourself can be quite painful.
My guess is that, as in virtually every other question of supply and demand,
there will come a point where the real and perceived value of
"prosumption" will decline to the point where what we some of still
consider to be valuable (paying for a product/service provided by someone else
that one is not interested in providing for oneself) will return and, in time,
prevail.The bottom line to all sorts of "trends" like these
is that common sense always, ultimately, prevails.
When I went to Oregon, I had to let someone fill my car. No consumer was
allowed to pump their own gas. I hated it. I actually tried to get out of the
state before filling up that last time because of how inconvenient it was. They
did not clean your windshield or check your oil or any of those things we once
did at Service Stations. I know there are a few stations around that will
service those who need it, and that's good, but I wouldn't go
there.This whole article sounds like a reporter got together with a
Union agent.A few good facts, a lot of really twisted facts and then
mixed with pure baloney.
So what is a "conducer?"I wanna' be one of those!
Guess the prosperity we enjoy from capitalism and free enterprise is bad.
Wow can you say making mountains out of molehills. So Facebook should hire a
team of writers to write all of our posts!?! Or we shouldn't be allowed to
shop for the perfect orange, we should let someone else pick it for us. What a
bunch of rubbish.
When I was at the airport in Denver I actually would have liked a self-serve
restaurant when I could pick the ingredients and make something myself. I could
not find one place that served at least something that was healthy aside from
overpriced fruit.We as customers obviously do not mind the
self-serve. If we did, we would go somewhere else, and the laws of supply and
demand would create enough of those places.Another point - do you
realize what kind of mess it creates when you have to depend on a clerk to serve
you items at a grocery store? When I lived in the Soviet Union you could wait in
line for three hours to buy a pound of cheese. Not because there was not enough
of it but because there were too many people for just one slow clerk.
When this started it was a good way to save a little money. As I recall I could
pay $0.72/gal and pump my own or pay $0.75/gal for full service. Eventually, the
full service went away and once again we paid a single price/gal. with no
indication that we were actually saving or that the owner was making more. When
you look at big retail WalMart promoted the idea of self-checkouts so you
wouldn't have to wait in line. You not only check and bag your purchase,
you also pay for it. Target on the other hand still uses only cashiers for this
service and the prices on many items are nearly identical. In the end we
are being asked to help them eliminate a few employees so the owner can increase
his/her profits while we do the work.
There used to be a time, when doing it yourself would save you some money, but
not anymore, I pump my own gas, I bag my own groceries , I make my own
salad's , get all my own food at a buffet restaurant . Wow, we really
are an independent Nation!!
This is back in the day when we called them "Service Stations". There
used to be profit from providing such services. Now the the Government has
gotten involved, nationalized, taxed and regulated it. Now there is little
profit in just offering gas. Service stations have turned into gas stations
where we can purchase soda, snacks and other items. Thanks Big Brother.
Very interesting article. I wanted to point out to your editors, however, that
it is inappropriate to capitalize danah boyd's name. She has requested that
media outlets refer to her without capitalization for a variety of reasons. It
is even made very clear on her website, which you link to as well.
I think the author completely misses the mark in several areas. First off, the
term "prosumer" is not new and has been around quite a while - but not
as he puts it. It's the combination of professional and consumer, and it
describes the consumers having the ability - through software, ability, etc. -
to do professional level work. For example, a home musician today can have very
cheaply equipment that rivals the finest studios just a few years ago and are
producing work with the quality we would normally attribute to professional
studios. Secondly, it's not at all about working for free. The
restaurant in question - you don't go there to buy a meal. You go there for
a specific experience - usually a social experience. If you're looking at
the cost of the components and labor alone, very few restaurants could be
justified. Additionally, the situation will often provide people with a setting,
equipment and ingredients they might not readily have at home and allow them to
do participate in something they might not otherwise be able to do.
The author also seems to have a pretty odd take on the workforce and value. The
best analogy off the top of my head is that we are depriving butlers of jobs
because we don't all hire them. Self checkouts are temporary, because soon
the products will have an RFID or similar label and will scan when you leave the
store. Do I want somebody to manhandle all of the stuff I'm buying just
because we didn't previously have the ability? No way. Not only do I not
want to pay for unnecessary salaries, but waiting for someone else to do it
costs their time and mine while I sit there waiting for them to do it. It's
got nothing to do with me working for the store. Before Ikea and
it's ilk, we didn't build furniture because it required specialized
skills and knowledge. Now the specialized skills are put in up front to where
anyone can do it.