Among the investment bankers of the eighties, in times of big money and understandable investments, the expression "British queen" was common. In addition to the most crowned, this epithet designated extremely wealthy bank customers who rarely had to deal with real banknotes.
Only thirty years have passed, and each of us has become such a "British queen", because the prevailing number of our spending occurs online - from buying tickets to replenishing our wardrobe. At the same time, the theory of consumption itself is paid more and more - if not attention, then work. One of the recently published books on the nuances of modern spending habits proclaimed the value of modesty - and was described in a modest thousand pages.
It is clear that the moment of parting with money has long gone beyond the simple exchange of labor hours for goods. But it is just as important to understand how our habits of spending, planning and allocating available resources are beginning to change with the advancement of modern technology.
If we take a very brief look at the history of money, then even their very image, symbolizing time and effort, was built around the metaphor of "labor" and "inaccessibility." Shells, gold or intricately printed bills - they could not be easily obtained and had to have a very specific value (and pleasant weight) in themselves. This only seems artificial to us today, however, if we recall the process of paying with a credit card even at least ten years ago - removing a slip manually, calling a bank for confirmation - quite recently, taking possession of cash, however honestly earned, seemed like a flour imitating a quite tangible the process of "mining" money. Even going to the ATM at certain opening hours with a variety of security protocols was all a safari hunt for your own money. And this gave us, albeit ephemeral, but the feeling of weight in our pocket, which is difficult to part with. And which clearly showed us its own budget: here is the amount that you can dispose of, but how much its size will decrease if you still decide to purchase this or that thing.
The day is not far off when the practice of daily shopping will become more and more like a child's game
And now that feeling has disappeared. The salary comes to the card in the form of a certain number, which is immediately distributed to mandatory spending. The technology of subscribing to monthly payments can also be insidious: on the one hand, with its help you can regularly help charitable foundations, on the other hand, you suddenly find that you have been losing hundreds of rubles for a year on unnecessary subscriptions, for example, on streaming services that you have not used for a long time.
Cash is no longer a guarantee of survival in a difficult situation: even if you left the house, leaving the keys in the apartment, you probably have a phone - and in it Apple Pay and a couple of bank clients to boot. In the little-known film "The Forecaster" there was a wonderful monologue by Michael Caine, who explained to his loser son, who did not find a couple of dollars for coffee, that "an adult cannot leave the house without cash!" Because - you never know what? Fortunately for us, ordinary people without the superpowers of the "ideal gentleman" Kane, the world has changed for the sake of forgetful and prone to spontaneous actions.
Adherents of healthy lifestyles and all kinds of walks along the picturesque embankments are already getting used to limiting themselves to silicone bracelets on their wrist - they contain step counters and a bank microchip, which can be applied to go down in the subway and buy water on the way. For example, such as was issued six months ago by Alfa-Bank. Although, if you have an iPhone or Apple watch, there is no need to multiply entities: PayPass technology is becoming more ubiquitous, and cashiers are less and less surprised when you show your phone at the checkout.
Domestic giants of retail, in addition to the know-how of "Milanese prices", are ready to offer their customers more technological solutions. For several months now, TSUM has been testing a new method of paying for products you like “without approaching the checkout”: in some corners, consultants are armed with an iPod Touch with a POS terminal and are ready to check you out on the spot. So impulsive shopping is now becoming alarmingly rapid - but the queues will soon remain only a memory, immortalized only in the memory of the Soviet and the novel of Vladimir Sorokin. By the way, this very mobile terminal, which turns any smartphone or tablet into a portable cash register, makes it possible to exclude the use of cash even in micro-trading.
However, it is possible that soon these technologies will also become cute retroconditions: on December 5, last year, Amazon opened its first AmazonGo store in test mode next to the company's office in Seattle. sensors and the required amount is debited from the account as soon as you leave the store. So far, the store is open only to retailer employees, but judging by the fact that the company has already patented the technology in the UK, the day is not far off when the practice of daily shopping will become more and more like a child's game.
True, this is for those who still need to act out the ritual of “going to the store”, while it is Amazon that has been developing the practice of instant shopping from the couch in every possible way for the second decade. Recently, they also presented a new technology, as if descended from the pages of a good dystopia - Dash Buttons, which allow you to order various regularly required goods, such as toilet paper or washing powder, with one click. From now on, finding that the tube of toothpaste is treacherously empty, you simply press a button (you can stick it anywhere). And, yes, "you get the result": in a day, Amazon will deliver what you need to your doorstep.
You need to understand that the responsibility to cultivate the habit of cost control is entirely on us, since large companies do not face such a task
Against the background of the absolute virtualization of our spending, the really high-profile crimes were no longer the seizure of cash collection machines, but the hacking of personal accounts and accounts - and this is generally normal. This reminds us, who sacralized a banknote, a coin and its denomination, about its convention. Even contemporary artists, who are increasingly cynically using bank notes as materials for their own artwork, are telling us quite bluntly about the depreciation of cash. Remember at least the volumetric sculptures of Steve Campbell from dollar packs or the portrait of Obama, completely made of coins by the artist Ted Stanke. It turns out to be sobering to guess that a hundred lira, rubles, dollars and euros is just a figure of speech, a metaphor. This metaphor was, for example, bitcoin - the first cryptocurrency in the world, which quite successfully withstood more than one legal attack and is increasingly recognized as legal.
And yet, no matter how virtual, intangible our spending becomes, no matter how the feeling of money is lost, its absence is still quite realistically felt. Getting used to saving time and using more and more convenient technologies, you need to understand that the responsibility to cultivate the habit of controlling costs is entirely on us, since large companies, as you might guess, are not faced with such a task.
Here again, an infinite number of services and applications come to our aid. While some help us spend, others organize these spending, can help analyze and optimize them - in general, they will easily become your home accountant. And we also wrote about them more than once. Therefore, it is not worth dramatizing: yes, the further, the more confident retail will resemble Skinner's box online, but even this rough comparison tells us that in addition to the ubiquitous pleasure buttons, there are also mechanisms of self-restraint. After all, you can always send a Nickelback push notification to your eighth clothing purchase in a month - it might work.
photos: Apple BestStock - stock.adobe.com