12.14.2007

The new commodity is us

Like many of us, I travel for business. I sit in a tiny airplane chair, my knees snug to the kidneys of the person in front of me, my hair comfortably resting in the saliva-covered hands of the toddler behind me. And I relax.

Sometimes, others around me are not so comfortable. So they assert their First Amendment rights by complaining as loudly as they can, apparently hoping to rouse a Sky Marshall or Idaho Senator from the bathroom for assistance. This behavior is odd to me, because I naturally assume that, like me, my fellow passengers spent the least amount of money possible on their airfare.

But I understand.

The sales meeting euphemism for it is “downward price pressure.” Say it out loud, and it sounds like the air coming out of a tire. In reality, it’s not much different, because at this point if you’re not already at the bottom of your pricing comfort level, you’re probably close enough to see it.

Flying the not-so-friendly-anymore skies, we all get a chance to feel what it’s like to be a commodity, an item valued for price alone, and we’ve started to realize how much it sucks. Consumer respect for the products put in front them can’t sink much lower.

Unless, of course, things change.

1 comment:

  1. It's not just the reduced personal space in the cabin that disturbs me -- its the total reduction in service. I can live with 3 or 4 hours of holding my knees under my chin, but all too often, at the end of those 3 hours, when I disembark somewhere in Colorado, I find out my skis are in San Diego or Chicago! Nothing like standing in line to rent skis when you should be breaking in those new fatties. I keep hoping I can add the mileages of my checked bags to my frequent flyer miles...

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