Being and Having

Some people keep saying on the radio that the French of the future have distanced themselves from consumerism. They say they have become more responsible and aware of various human and ecological issues, and that they are also more sensitive than ever to the commitments of companies. Why not? However, last weekend, which was particularly rainy and windy (a weather that should not put a consumer outside), had barely started (understand: from Friday afternoon) that we were surprised to see in Paris two lines full of umbrellas.

The first one, rue de Richelieu, the second one, rue Saint-Merri. What was going on there? Rue de Richelieu, the opening of a shocking pink store entirely made of automatic dispensers 24/24 (during the weekend) exclusively dedicated to the sale of the new bag “Bambino long” by Jacquemus, also shocking pink. Funny and disruptive. 715 euros nonetheless.

Rue Saint-Merri, the opening of the Monoprix pop-up store dedicated to the sale and re-edition of some of its old design projects from the ’70s and ’80s. And, in passing, other more recent and even unpublished collections, commissioned from designers with whom the brand collaborated fifty years earlier. Between mise en abîme and self-celebration ceremony at prices ranging from 25 to 250 euros.

Those of us who are annoyed will not fail to point out the Parisian and “elitist” nature of the situation. But isn’t elitism in consumption what economists call “spending arbitrage”? Others can only observe that the appetite for consumption has not completely disappeared. Provided that certain forms and conditions are respected, which have become at least as decisive as the object of desire itself. Here, the two pieces of flint that need to be rubbed together to see the flame of the feeling of living a unique experience are called “being where not everyone can be” and “having access to something that not everyone can have”. 

The ephemeral and the rare as expressions of being and having in the age of networks.

So What ?

The act of buying is quicker and quicker on the net and on social networks, but also increasingly stimulated by scarcity in the real world: collaborations, pop-up stores, limited series, drops… Little by little, time is changing into a flash.

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