The Sharing Economy

“The Sharing Economy” is one of those phrases that kicks around at the moment, along with the Gig Economy, the Social Economy and The Beard-Oil-Led Recovery, which basically all imply that hipsters know what is good for you.

A better term is “Collaborative Consumption”, merely because of the possibilities of working it into a hip sentence. Compare the following sentences with essentially the same message:

“I’m off to use a short term car rental, provided by someone who has no use for their car at this time, to attend an appointment at the barbers”

with

“I’m off to collaboratively consume a bio-dynamic corn fed ethanol powered electric hybrid vehicle on my way to my weekly argan oil beard rub and bespoke hairscaping”.

And I’m all for collaborative consumption.

For what is a shared pot of team, if not both collaborative and consumption?┬áIt’s even renewable; just add more water.

Of course, the difference is that no-one is using an app to make a few bucks.

But wait, why not?

We know that people consume tea in groups, and love it. It’s the best way. But sometimes,. one is alone and in need of a cuppa.

It’s time for “the Uber of tea”. Or “the AirBnB of tea”. Or something.

So, for example, someone could make tea in large qualities and then allow people to buy a portion. Oh wait, they do that now. For example, Turkish street vendors. RTD makers such as Arizona. Hip places with nitro tea.

OK, so what if people had a teapot, invited people to come to their premises and have tea? Oh wait, that’s been happening in the West since the 1500s and earlier in Asia.

Tea is best when shared, but can it ever be part of the sharing economy?

Probably not, because it’s the making a buck bit that doesn’t really work. It’s hard to rent 40% of my teapot capacity out if I only need 60% for the pot of Jim’s Caravan I am brewing. I mean, even if someone wants a quantity of Genmaicha equal to 40% of my teapot at the same time and in the same location, it’s not going to work. Consider the following issues:

  1. The tea will mix and 60% wonderful tea and 40% basically animal feed will become 100% disgusting.
  2. I will roundly abuse them for their poor tea choices and chase them from the premises, flinging their money after them and warning them never to return.

But, I hear you say*, “What if you both want the same tea, in the same location, at the same time, brewed the same way?”

Well of course, I would give them a cup of tea.

If you’ve made the decision to be a tea vendor, you’ve already made a bad economic decision** and you’re probably the sort of person who just likes to share tea. In the month of August 2017, our biggest customer was – us. We visited lots of friends and yes, gave them tea.

So, how can tea be part of the sharing economy?

Having stayed at a few AirBnB’s, we’ve seen some efforts with providing a variety of teab*gs, but really, that’s just pathetic. Many AirBnB’s have a teapot, a small selection of tea canisters is not too much to ask. It’s not like I’m asking for 40 varieties and a selection of pastries***

And why can’t Uber drivers offer a cuppa to their guests?

But in reality, it’s probably best to admit that we tea people do sharing really well, and leave the economy bit to others.

Earnest, well meaning others, that we can make fun of, over tea.

 


*I’m sure I heard someone say something. It may have been the cat.

** Unless of course, you are selling organic detox slimming skin clearing anti-cancer crystal tuning gluten-free tea, in which case you’ll do well.

***I’m asking for 40 varieties and a selection of pastries

Robert Godden

Certified Tea Nutter. Blender. Author of "The Infusiast" and Tea "Stories"

Latest posts by Robert Godden (see all)

One thought on “The Sharing Economy

Comments are closed.