The other day my wife texted me asking what I thought we should have for dinner, and my initial response was “Pizza!” She agreed that it sounded good, and when she arrived home she was toting a piping hot large pizza from Franco’s, our favorite pizza place. The pizza cost $13.99, or roughly the same amount of money as three packets of dough, three jars of pizza sauce, and a large brick of mozzarella cheese. Besides, my wife is a wonderful maker of homemade pizza, so why did she stop at Franco’s instead of the grocery store?
Convenience. And sometimes it’s totally worth it.
I watch Shark Tank, you know, the show where entrepreneurs come on and try to get investments from some of the best businesspeople in the country. The vast majority of the people who present to the panel are there because they’ve discovered something that makes things more convenient. There are inventions like Rapid Ramen Cooker, and the Twin Z Pillow, and the Floating Mug Company, and Foot Fairy. They’re all aimed at saving you, the consumer, time and energy. Some of these products aren’t the cheapest, and yet people will shell out money because apparently money is easier to deal with the loss of than time or energy.
It makes sense to me too, what with the rise of fast food, drive-thrus (you know they have drive-thru dentists now?), the smart phone, and Netflix. We live in a society that values having things at our fingertips, even if all we did to make them come about was press a button. Whereas before it was all about the hard working folk out in the fields taking care of business, the paradigm has shifted to us idolizing technology savvy moguls like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, and people who have done absolutely nothing except allow us to obsess over them like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. Because it’s easy.
Why do you think there are so many “reality” shows on television these days? That’s because they’re easy to produce, and even easier to attract watchers. We think these people are just like us so we watch, and the producers don’t have to pay exorbitant prices for actors and storylines that will attract us. They’re already built in with reality programming. How convenient. Then we sit on our couches simultaneously looking at our phones and our TVs while eating our KFC, clicking the channels between House Hunters, Single and 16, and Real Housewives of Wherever, getting fat and yelling at the idiots on the screen. Because it’s convenient.
I’ll be the first to admit that I do many things during the course of my day for convenience’s sake. A shower instead of a bath. Driving a car instead of walking. Using Netflix to watch How I Met Your Mother instead of getting out the DVDs because I don’t feel like getting up. Nuking the mozzarella sticks in the microwave instead of using the oven like the instructions say. But even though I rely on convenient alternatives to get through a lot of my days there are some things that might not be convenient but are still important to do, like flossing my teeth and shoveling the driveway so my wife can pull into the garage. I think the less we rely on things that are convenient the more we use our brains and discover our talents.
But man, it’s hard to get up when everything is at our fingertips, isn’t it?