A new rule

Another long weekend this week – in the UK, through April and May, the public holidays just seem to keep coming.

This time of year is great, the days are warming up, evenings are getting longer and a few days off is always welcome.

The only challenge seems to be that delivery dates don’t, unfortunately, stretch or take holidays too…despite having extra days off, the work still needs to get done.

So we all seem to be forced into trying to cram a 5 day week into 4, leading to some mad busy weeks, late nights, and a bit more stress to get things over the line.

Productive and effective I am not so sure, but it is nice to have a bit more flexibility and a three-day weekend for a few more activities, social of course.

Welcome to the 21st century

This week, in catching up with podcasts, I also came across an interesting idea that the start of the 20th century did not actually take place in 1901, as calendars would say. It really transitioned, culturally speaking at least, in the 1920s.

The change, triggered after the end of the first world war, was a period of dramatic social and technological change after which things were never quite the same again. The modern 20th century was born.

The parallels with the 2020’s are interesting. The pandemic and with plenty of technological changes under our belt, are we seeing similar triggers that are now embedding permanent changes to our culture… is the 21st century culture starting now?

It sometimes feels this way and certainly gave me pause for thought. It will be interesting to consider and whilst there is a need to watch for knock-on impacts change does bring new opportunities too.

Sensitivity training

The final observation this week was around price sensitivity.

I needed to buy a replacement 15cm ruler, the small ones we used at school and felt sure I could pick one up at a major retailer. It was afterall a simple, low-cost item.

Yet in-store, none were available. What was available, was a ‘high tech’ foldable 30cm ruler… certainly likely to break in my bag and 10% more expensive, than the non-folder alternative (and 50% more expensive than the 15cm version!)

In the end I had to find what I needed online, but it set me thinking about two things.

  • Firstly, how we are sometimes presented with unnecessary technological developments, trying to meet a need I am not sure I really had
  • Secondly, at low price points, my sensitivity to pricing is really quite low

This second point is of course evident whenever you buy ice cream at the seaside or lunch in a cafe.

One ice cream, or coffee and cake is no problem. I normally splash out, not concerned with spending the money, but buying for a whole family or group of friends and it seems quickly adds up… I don’t resent spending the money, but it does lead to a bit more of an ouch effect on the wallet.

To put this another way – increasing prices by 10% on £2 is only 20p, but 10% more on £200 is £20 and it hurts much more.

It is all about relative vs absolute price increases I suppose… and at some point for most of us the absolute price increase that actually matters even if the percentage increase is low. It also all adds up over multiple purchases too, something we don’t notice on each transaction.

Something to be conscious of when we see inflation figures and the impact on cost of living going forward I think.

Have a good week everyone.

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