The Illusion of Luxury

Companies and marketers have often used tricks to make us think that something is more valuable or scarce (and thus more valuable) than it actually is. Psychologists have been studying the marketing phenomenon since Don Draper and his band of Mad Merry Men invented marketing in 1960.

Whether it’s adding useless parts into a product to make it feel heavier and thus more valuable or paying for private clubs or ‘exclusive’ ‘credit cards’ we are drawn to things or experiences that make us feel as if we have something no one else does. As if this moment, right here was made just for us.

Yesterday I got a replacement credit card. Marriott rebranded their rewards program, and thus their co-branded credit cards. Previously the “Marriott Premier Plus” card had been made of metal. It was a normal thickness, had a slight weight to it, and allowed me to use it in exchange for goods and services. This new “Marriott Bonvoy Boundless” is just a flimsy piece of plastic and also has a stupid name.

Until yesterday I did not know that I cared about that.

I’m still not 100% convinced I actually do, but clearly enough of me does to write the previous paragraph.

Tales from the Inside: Week 7

In the fifth week of basic there was something called BEAST week. It was the Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training course. I did not go. At the time the doctors though I had stress fractures in my tibias. An MRI showed that I did not. I simply had the worst inflammation/shin splints that the doc had ever seen. I gently reminded him that my feet were flatter than a level surface. Unfortunately I did not get these results until the middle of BEAST (I didn’t go and was staying with a sixth week flight at the time). Fortunately all I really missed was an excessive amount of time in the sweltering heat in MOPP 4.

Thankfully this time I was able to participate in the field training. Double thankfully no MOPP gear was involved.

Continue reading “Tales from the Inside: Week 7”

Tales from the Inside: Week 6

Sometimes a week will come to an end and I’ll try to remember what I did that week and I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast 15 minutes earlier. And that’s just in average every day life. In a training environment like this that effect is amplified. This was definitely one of those weeks.

Continue reading “Tales from the Inside: Week 6”

Tales from the Inside: Week 5

Week five started off with another long weekend. That’s probably been the most disconcerting part of training here: we get weekends and holidays ‘off’. We’re still here, we’re not allowed to really go anywhere, but no one is making us do anything. So Monday was a day off. Can’t say I did much, which was nice.

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Tales from the Inside: Week 4

My mother will always remember our family trip to Arizona in ’96 for, among various other reasons, my reaction when we first walked out of the airport and I saw for the first time in my life a saguaro cactus.

“They are real…” my 13 year old mind exclaimed.

Of course I had seen them in cartoons, TV shows, pictures in books, but that was the first time I had ever seen one. That was only minutes into our trip, yet to this day she has said that single remark made the entire trip worth it. Continue reading “Tales from the Inside: Week 4”