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October 29, 2008

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» Renting is the new buying from Putting people first
Ulla-Maaria Engeström (Mutanen) of Social Objects, maker of entertaining educating services such as Thinglink, a free product code for creative work, argues that renting is a much more sustainable concept for luxury than owning: The ... [Read More]

Comments

Jyri

So far the Internet has been successful at bringing together geographically dispersed people who share a common interest. But services that have attempted to connect local neighbors haven't done that well. It strikes me with location-enabled phones like the iPhone and Android it could become much easier to find out if somebody nearby is willing to rent or borrow what you need.

Kontra

Ulla-Maaria, luxury *is* associated with purchase not only because luxury buyers prefer to own, but also because luxury sellers would not want to dilute the aura of "exclusive ownership" wrapped up around the merchandise. For many buyers and sellers luxury is antithetical to renting/sharing, quality being somewhat orthogonal.

Laura Bucci

Interesting idea of renting as ecological consumerism. A website like Craigslist could be the leader in renting all sorts of things in your area.

Ulla-Maaria

@Kontra: To me the idea of luxury has started to live more around the concept of 'experience' than 'ownership'. People describing luxury in our interviews associated it often with a lovely moment (e.g. wear gorgeous dress, have a lovely bath, experience nature) or a desirable state of mind.

I think there might also be an interesting long-term transition going on here. Traditionally, the idea of luxury roots to the exclusive living conditions of the wealthiest people, which, of course, the less wealthy people have always followed and wanted to copy. The history of the large-scale fashion and interiors business is based on this rationale: offering (more or less authentic) luxury experiences to less-wealthy people - through consuming/owning. Now, is this rationale changing? In the over-saturated markets of endless choice, consumers are more luxury/quality conscious than ever. At the same time many of us would like to consume less. That's why questions like "Why own a summer house when I can rent one?" or "Why buy a Prada dress if I can borrow one for less?" have become more common.

Helena

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Mika Sihvonen

Hmm. Renting everything instead of buying things is an interesting issue. Almost all the comments are sharing the idea that people would like to rent only luxury items. Why? Are we about to lose ourselves for the devil of envy and greed?

Ulla´s comment about the luxury as an experience - a lovely moments of doing something you have always dreamed about and keeping the memories of these moments as the greatest treasures of all time is sure worth of investing then.

Why not renting something less luxury then?

Renting the car is familiar to all of us. Renting the summer cottage is familiar to most of us who do not own one. Renting a movie from a local video shop is a normal weekend routine for some people who do not want to collect a huge amount of movies that they do not never ever watch again...

This is everyday life for most of us then. But what if you could rent anything you could imagine. What would it be? Are we so keen to own things that we can not even think about the other ways to live then?

I could rent a house with a nice interior and only a required amount of space. I could rent all the furnitures and change them if I dont like them. I could rent a car. Not too big or fast - only a simple family hybrid. I could rent a summer cottage when I need a possibility to leave the office and forget everything regarding the work.

Too usual? I could rent all my clothing. I like clothes. I like fashion clothes. But I do not want to buy them. So I could rent them. Well...my underwears may not be re-rentable after my use then... :D I could rent a watch and jewellery. I like watches. A lot. I own too many of them.

Still too usual? I could rent a dog. If I rent a house it needs a dog. Right? But I do not want to own one. What if I could rent one but I do not need to feed it or take care of teaching it to be clean in the house then? Someone else could take care of that. I just pay the rent and enjoy the man´s best friend when I want it.

Too awkward? Yep. Renting THINGS is acceptable but renting the living organisms is not?

How about a rented wife who will never nag about anything? Sounds a bit too much of prostitution to me then. How about renting the whole family? You could have it all... An intellectual wife and two very well educated kid. You could have a nice evening with out in a chic restaurant, have a nice chat with your rented family and when you´re done you can kiss a good night and go to your rented house with your rented car and take a beer and watch one of the rented movies then...

Complicated? Maybe or maybe not. It can be super simple or the most difficult thing you´ve ever made then... Only thing that matters is how you see yourself against the surrounding society then. The need of owning things is in your mind. Renting almost enything is possible already. But are we ready to give it a go then?

Let´s rent a life then.

Erin

I like the idea of renting, though even more so the idea of freecycling. I joined the Yahoo group Freecycle for my area and it's been great for finding bits of free furniture. I'm young and I don't know where I'll be in a couple years, so free furniture is fine by me at this point. Also free "lodging" when travelling... I don't know how big the ecological footprint of a hotel is, but CouchSurfing is definitely the way to go! www.couchsurfing.com.

I do like the idea of renting high-fashion clothes & accessories. If I'm ever invited to the Oscars, I'll keep that in mind!

thierry

The idea of renting is a viable idea but it can only work for certain things and

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