I am not a particularly material person, but there are a few items in my life that bring me great joy. This occurred to me yesterday while using #1 below.
It made me wonder where my consumer surplus is greatest; where (other than books) I’d be willing to pay a much higher price that the market demands.
1. My folding bike. I have a Dahon Speed, which I can carry into my office (no bikes otherwise) and fits nicely into the overhead compartment on Amtrak.
2. My stovetop Moka pot. Home espresso makers are a waste of time and money.
3. Sleeping mask. I sleep five times better.
4. My PicnicMaster 4000. That’s not actually the name. It’s a small carry case my mom gave me that has little plates, cups, utensils, blanket, cooler, cutting board, etc. Jeannie and I use it at least once a week in New York summers.
5. My Kindle, though I say this only because I travel and now save a suitcase full of books. Otherwise real books would win. Also, I could always read e-books on my beloved…
6. iPhone. I know this item is clichÃ©, but it’s true. It helps that I jailbroke mine, and can use it on travels. (Q. How do you know if someone has an iPhone? A: They show you.)
7. My Garmin Forerunner. It’s too soon to say if this is infatuation or a true love affair; I’ve only had it two weeks. It’s a watch and timer with GPS, altimeter and heart monitor, for runners and cyclists. Mainly you can geek out about your exercise, which for some of us is an important determinant of perseverance. (Speaking of geeking out, Owen Barder deserves all credit for this purchase. He recommended the 305, because it is half the price but basically the same as the new model, and I agree. He also recommends the SportTracks software. I endorse the velcro wristband that is also a bike mount.) Review here.
My laptop is not on this list because, while indispensable, and while less troublesome than any previous computer, laptops bring grief and struggle as much as joy. Plus it calls out to me: “Chris,” it says, “don’t go outside and interact with real people, come read 43 mildly uninteresting news articles on the interwebs, then blog something inane.”
What’s in your consumer surplus?