How Our Lives Became Driven by Price
It is very interesting to me how we have seen a shift in culture over the past decades. Not all of this shift is bad though. It drives innovation, entrepreneurship, freedom in the market and helps to prevent monopolies. However, this shift has some consequences as well. It forces certain suppliers to cut on quality, it makes consumers less concerned with the investigation, and it devalues service. The shift I am referring to is moving from quality and value to price. This shift not only affects our decision on who we want to insure our most important assets but also the technology we use, the cars we drive, and even the people we spend time with. Granted, price has always and will always play a role in our decision. But it wasn’t until recently when price became the main deciding factor for the majority of people. So, how did this shift take place?
I think we have to start our look back to 1998. This is the year Google launched. With Google came a burning desire to have everything faster. We could now literally search for something unknown and find the answer within minutes or even seconds, instead of hours or days. With this new technology came and expectation that everything should be quick and provide instant gratification. Not only did it create an expectation of rapidness, but it also started to provide a way to remove the human element from things. People could now envision being able to find out what was causing their illness without seeing a doctor, or find a spouse without ever leaving the comfort of the home. These changes seemed to rewire us to remove the human touch from services and experiences. We then started to look only for convenience and price instead of value and service. However, this rewiring is not all bad, but it does have it’s dangers, just as this shift does. The danger now exists that I could diagnose myself as having indigestion from the food I ate last night when it really could be something far worse just because I wanted the speed, inexpensiveness, and convenience of searching online. However, I can now also order a pizza without having to pick up the phone. This rewiring because of the inexhaustible amount of information at our fingertips has now placed much of our value on finding the best deal and has lessened the importance of quality and service.
Because of this, I think a change in our mindset is required. In today’s world, our culture has started to believe that you can’t have both quality and low price. However, I think if we bring human interaction back into the equation, begin to do more investigation, and don’t rely just on the information we find through technology, we can begin to work our way out of a price only consumer mindset.