Saturday, 31 December 2011

A Flexible Friend

31.12.11 553583061 I am often asked (especially by media types) the following question: “Don’t you ever miss not owning a car? Don’t you miss the spontaneity, the flexibility of just being able to jump in a car and drive off?” To which my (truthful) answer is, “hardly ever.” Behavioural economics says that human beings tend to value a loss at twice as much as a gain – so ‘losing’ something (a car) needs to be offset by double the benefits. We find that the loss – an occasional bit of flexibility and spontaneity – is more than offset by the gains – being thinner, fitter, having more money etc. But yesterday was one of those occasional days when we needed some flexibility: we were going to visit a friend in a distant part of the city, it was rather cold, and very wet. Getting on and off the bus with our loaded bags didn’t appeal. If there had been a car parked outside, we would have used it. But hold on. Around the corner there is a car. It’s a carclub car (a Zipcar, formerly Streetcar). So we got on the web at 2pm, booked the car for 3.00-6.30pm, and used it for our visit. Pretty spontaneous. Our flexible friend, a Zipcar VW Golf, cost us £17.50 (including petrol). Way cheaper than a taxi. Particularly when you use it to do some shopping on the way back. And the best bit of all? When we’d finished with our Zipcar, we put it back where we’d started, and walked away. Freedom without responsibility. (picture from Zipcar)

1 comment:

  1. plasterer croydon
    Please continue to write more because it’s unusual that someone has something interesting to say about this. Will be waiting for more!