If practicality, efficiency, utilitarian functionality, and austerity put a bustle in our hedgerow, then Starbucks would look and feel like a cold-war clinic.
All cars would look like a Dodge Aries K with roll-down windows and get 40 MPG.
No fancy bourbons, wines, beers, or gins either; just Everclear, which is very efficient, by the way, but I don’t recommend it.
And we’d all be walking around with bowl cuts, wearing wool clothing in a choice of blue, black, or gray.
But … we’re human and we don’t respond well to function in its most practical and efficient sense. We engage with romance; how it makes us feel. The style and the art of it all. It’s why there’s an entire aisle of toilets at Home Depot. Hmm, I’m torn between the low-boy and the dual-flush push-button. In the meantime, where’s that Porta-potty?
Would you want an efficient yoga session? Fifteen minutes of high-efficiency asana-pranayama-meditation and done. Out of there. Namaste! No mat, no music. Be on your way. And for 15 minutes, why even turn the AC on? It would be monetarily efficient not to. Or … would it?
An 800sf studio costs about 75 cents/per hour to cool with a central AC system. And that’s on the high end. So, even with one student, it’s just 75 cents. With five, it’s 15 cents and so on. So, to save 15 cents, we’d risk the user experience, which could cost exponentially more.
Yes, trim the fat. But, when too much is trimmed and in the wrong places, the steak becomes tough and tasteless. Same amount of protein per ounce, but that’s not really the point, is it?
The user experience is everything. It will be felt, shared, and remembered (even by those who weren’t even there), thanks to social media: “The instructor was great, but I didn’t realize I signed up for hottish, dank yoga.”
No one ever got rich by saving money. It just doesn’t add up.
The overall feel of an experience moves us. It has that Jen Ne Sais Quoi. “What did you like about it?” “What do you see in her?” “Why that toilet?” “Why did I just pay $5 for a coffee?”
I don’t know; it’s just …
And there it is. Or isn’t. It’s something that communicates secretly with our limbic system, which has no interest in trying to explain anything to our neo cortex. This isn’t about logic! It’s not about measurable math or what “makes sense”.
It’s about soul, emotion, connection, and engagement. This is where life is lived. Yeah; I like it here.
We’re human and when culture, taste, joy, comfort, love, attraction, and warmth are absent or neglected, we grimly acquiesce.
We settle. For now. Ugh.
Photo by Julien Delaunay on Unsplash